I was recently in Vietnam and went to visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Min. It is a large building set in a very large park area in central Hanoi. The thing that struck me was how many Vietnamese people came to pay homage to their former leader. I had noticed the same thing previously in North Korea, where millions of people visited the birthplace of Kim Il Sung.
In the case of Vietnam, there is what appears to be the preserved actual body of Ho Chi Min on display. This got me thinking: I have been to Israel and visited the town where Jesus was born, the place where He grew up, the places where He ministered, and even the possible place where His body laid for three days. But I have never visited His mausoleum. Why? Because there isn’t one. His body is not preserved by the embalmer but by the resurrection power of God. There are no queues to see His dead body; He is alive. We remember His death, but we rejoice at His resurrection. He overcame death and hell. His body is not just preserved, but it is transformed to a heavenly body that defies all the aspects of human constraint. Walls present no obstacle to the resurrection body, which passes straight through them, defies gravity, and doesn’t age or succumb to illness or frailty. It transcends all present human experience.
Jesus said, ‘let the dead bury the dead’ but we who are alive in Christ have a glorious eternal future. We are His body, a living global evidence of His resurrection power. ‘Eye has not seen, or ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love him.’ 1 Corinthians 2:9
So we may honour or pay our respects to the past, but our focus must be on the glorious future our Saviour is preparing for us.