The difference between “resurrection” and “resuscitation”

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Jesus was physically ‘resurrected’.  That is a very important word.  Nobody else has ever been resurrected in the way that Jesus was.  Yet, one day, all of us will be.  Many have been raised from the dead in the sense of being ‘resuscitated’.  There was Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha.  Plus there was the 12 year old daughter of Jairus.  Also, a large number of people rose from their graves on the day of the crucifixion:

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 

Matthew 27:51-54 (NIV)

All of these people were merely resuscitated in their ordinary mortal bodies. That means that they physically came back to life, having been dead, but they would all then age and die again later. That was not so with Jesus. His resurrection body is eternal, as ours will be.  Jesus did not die again later. He stayed on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection and met with His disciples and others and taught them. Then, when He had finished teaching them, He rose into heaven in His resurrection body:

The ascension of Jesus

6So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:6-11 (NIV)

This event is called “the ascension” because Jesus ascended, or rose, into Heaven.  That is where He has been ever since.  He is there now, waiting for the time of His return to the earth. That is when He will “restore the Kingdom to Israel”, as the disciples asked about above.  Israel will be the leading nation on the earth and Jesus will be their King. 

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