By Brooke Holt
“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.” - 1 Corinthians 15:12-15
Paul brought up a very interesting and confounding point to the Corinthians. All the disciples of Jesus, those who were the closest to him throughout his earthly ministry—each one of them saw the resurrected Lord with their own eyes. Some even laid hands in his wounds. James, the unbelieving brother, became a fervent follower of Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of the world, not because of his ministry but because of his physical resurrection. If the disciples James and Paul were not enough, then there were those 500 followers who also saw him, as well as the apostles. Jesus was seen after having been raised from the dead, and that blessed news was the foundation of the Gospel message—Jesus died for the sins of mankind, was buried, and was raised again on the third day. Through Jesus, all men and women can be saved.
While the Corinthians’ heads were puffed up with their own ideas and thoughts about spirituality, Paul turned their logic upside down. They, as recent converts, claimed to know and understand the Christian faith better than the disciples, family members, and first followers of Jesus Christ. How perplexing! How had these recent converts received such grandiose revelation?
And this revelation and spirituality of these Corinthians not only stood in contrast with all these early apostles and their teachings but actually undermined the foundation of their own faith. If Christ had not been resurrected from the dead, then Christian teaching was pointless, absolutely futile! It is as if Paul wants to shake these believers to their senses. Their faith, Paul’s faith, everyone’s Christian faith rested on this divine truth of Jesus rising from the dead. Did they really think that Paul would leave his life as the Pharisee of all Pharisees to follow a lying Savior? Jesus foretold of his death and resurrection (See Matthew 16:21 and 17:22). Jesus, post-resurrection, spoke with his disciples, showed them the wounds on his hands and feet, and even ate in their presence so that they could be assured that indeed the Lord had raised him from the grave.
If this was not true, woe to Paul who had given his life to this resurrected Savior; woe to the Corinthians whose hope was now in vain; woe to all who would look to Jesus as the Savior from their sins. Without the resurrection, all was in vain! Even worse, in denying this resurrection, the Corinthians were accusing God of not doing what he said he did and would do.
Who is right—God, the apostles, or the Corinthians? This was and is the most important question we will ever grapple with: did Jesus die for your sins to be resurrected on the third day? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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