and now i stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. and for this hope i am accused by jews, o king! why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? [acts 26:6-8]


resurrection hope


paul speaks of something glorious here, he speaks of of what was promised to his fathers and what they were looking for a coming messiah, to reconcile them to God, and a resurrection from the dead that would culminate in them being with God in eternity.  


the pharisees would have known the scriptures well: God certainly used the prophets to bring people back from the dead, but in the final day, it would be different:


your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.

    you who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!

for your dew is a dew of light,

    and the earth will give birth to the dead. [isaiah 26:19]


so i prophesied as i was commanded. and as i prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. and i looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. but there was no breath in them. then he said to me, “prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, thus says the Lord God: come from the four winds, o breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” so i prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. [ezekiel 37:7-10]


and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. [daniel 12:2-3]


“come, let us return to the Lord;

    for he has torn us, that he may heal us;

    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.

after two days he will revive us;

    on the third day he will raise us up,

    that we may live before him. [hosea 6:1-2]


paul has a deep abiding belief in the death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and a hope in the resurrection from the dead and eternal life that was also coming for him–his belief is so deep that he stops mid thought to exclaim “o king! why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” it isn’t incredible at all–if Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, it is only a logical conclusion is that we would also be with him beyond our own earthly deaths:


beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. [1 john 3:2]


it is why paul believed and proclaimed:


for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. [phil. 1:21]


paul did receive that gain–it is church tradition that he was beheaded in rome around the year 64. the fathers died, hoping in the anointed one, the Messiah’s coming. perhaps you have family and friends who have died hoping in the Lord as well. one day, it is likely that you will die too. what is your hope?


for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first. then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. [1 thess. 4:16-17]


today in the presence of God, put your hope in this–that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and put your trust in him–you will always be with the Lord. 


maranatha! come o, Lord!