I've been working my way through my annual read of Raised with Christ: how the resurrection changes everything in the run-up to Easter. And then this morning, as I waited for an appointment to get the plaster on my arm taken off, I was reading through some of Luke's account of Jesus' teaching in the week leading up to his crucifixion during which I read the following words in chapter 21: "Some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish..."
Now, of course (or is it just me?!), this seems like madness: In one breath Jesus is saying that some of his followers will be put to death whilst in the next he says to them that not a hair on their head will perish. But I'd hazard a guess that it isn't just folk like us who find this a slightly contradictory saying, in fact I'm pretty sure that given their response just a few days later - both on the Friday and Sunday - that the depth of what Jesus is saying here was lost on most, if not all, of those who heard him say it at the exact moment he did.
Because - albeit implicitly - Jesus is talking here about the hope of bodily resurrection. And what he was saying to his original hearers and what we can take from it as we seek to live for him today is not that life will be free from trouble and hardship, nor even that we will be spared death - be it of natural causes or Christian martyrdom. But what Jesus is saying is that even though we will die that death is not the end, and that just as he would be raised in the flesh so will we be raised in the flesh: these words of Jesus are a wonderful and timely reminder to his first followers and us now that we live in the hope of the resurrection of the body.
And living in light of this hope means that the resurrection of Jesus really does change everything - both now and in the future. Because through his gift of faith we will be raised with him, and not a hair on our head will perish!