Timeless Truth: He is risen! And because He lives, we live too!
Let’s look into an entire chapter in the Bible dedicated to speaking all about the RESURRECTION: 1 Corinthians 15.
The Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)
Apostle Paul “reminds” those in Corinth of the Gospel. He is recalling it to their memory as they had heard it spoken about before.
Though Paul taught those in Corinth about many things, he knows that nothing trumps the Gospel. And he offers this creedal confession of sorts:
-that Christ died for our sins
-that He was buried
-that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures
-that He appeared in a resurrected state
Paul then goes on to share who witnessed personally this resurrected Jesus
-more than 500 brothers at one time
-James and all the apostles
-finally to Paul Himself
Paul concludes this section by centering those in Corinth back on what is of “first importance” – the Gospel of Jesus and forgiveness that last for eternity. Praise God for the wonderful confessions of faith that we have been handed down throughout the centuries – that summarize the Gospel and etch it into our own memories.
• The Resurrection of the Dead (1 Corinthians 15:12-34)
Paul addresses the issue of belief in his day concerning the resurrection. Greek culture opposed the idea of a bodily resurrection. Some Greeks believed that the body and physical things were inherently bad but that the spirit was inherently good. Paul is addressing those who were holding fast to this belief of “dualism.”
Paul speaks clearly about the fact that had Christ not risen from the dead, His victory over sin would be incomplete. The full and complete Gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
The Bible clearly describes death as the enemy. The Lord has created us for life, not death. Death is therefore ultimately destroyed by the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Paul’s series of questions beginning in verse 29 lead us to the fact that Christians should base their baptismal practices on the clear command of Jesus in the Great Commission and rejoice therefore in the hope of the resurrection expressed through Baptism.
• The Resurrection Body (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)
Paul provides here three examples from God’s created order to further illustrate the principle of the resurrection. Simply put, we have the body and life that God Himself alone chooses.
Paul then lays the groundwork for all Christian funerals in this next passage. The message simply put: The body is put to death because of present sin that is in the flesh. Death itself serves a purpose, namely, to abolish this flesh of sin, that we may rise absolutely new.
The body – corrupted by sin – declines, decays, and dies. The extension of life therefore comes by having children – whom are likewise corrupted with inherited sin. But thanks be to God! He chose to establish a new order for us through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. In Jesus, we receive a heavenly and eternal life.
• Mystery and Victory of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)
We are justified only through Jesus! He is our only hope against sin, death, and condemnation of the Law. Jesus delivers us from the jaws of death, and now equips us to serve in His church and to live eternally in His kingdom.
So, having read that “resurrection” chapter, let’s talk about it in the context of the past, present, and future. What does it mean to me?
What does the Old Testament have to say about the resurrection?
What do we come to know about the resurrected body of Jesus Himself in the present sense of things?
-He eats and drinks
-He appears and disappears at will
-He speaks and communicates with people who do not seem to sense Him as anything other than fully human, as on the road to Emmaus and on the beach with Peter
-He has flesh and blood. His body is fully and materially real as he has His disciples touch His hands and feet.
-He still bears scars.
• In regards to the future resurrection, what do we know about the order of it all?
-Christ Jesus the first fruits
-Those who are asleep in Christ will come with Him at His return
-Those alive when Christ comes will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds
-By contrast, the wicked and unbelieving are also raised to life in resurrected bodies, and will be cast away from God’s presence for final judgment
So what do the Scriptures say about the questions we have of the resurrection?
Read Philippians 3:20-21
-Jesus’ resurrected body is out best model for understanding our own future resurrected bodies.
-The resurrected body will be infinitely more glorious and better than our present body.
-The body now is perishable, but raised imperishable
-The body is dishonorable, but raised in glory
-The body is weak, but raised in power
-The body is now natural, but it is raised spiritual
Final Applications & Implications
1) Jesus is risen! Every other leader of any major religion is still in the grave.
2) The great numbers of eyewitnesses strengthen our faith in the validity of Jesus and His resurrection
3) Paul concludes by instructing us to stand firm and devote ourselves fully to the work of the Lord (1 Cor 15:58)
4) The future hope of the resurrection deepens our faith and resolve in the present
5) A better understanding of death and resurrection enables us cope with the passing of loved ones and our own death
6) A better understanding of death and resurrection help us minister more effectively and sensitively to those experiencing grief (1 Thess 4:13)
7) Because sin changes everything, our bodies are subject to decay and death. But God’s plan of redemption changes that.
8) When we are absent from the body, we will be present with the Lord (Romans 8:23)
9) While my outward change is still to come in the future, my inward transformation is here in the present. We should then purify ourselves in anticipation of Jesus’ return (1 John 3:3)
10) Paul concisely emphasizes the main points of the Gospel – they are of “first importance” to us (1 Cor 15:3)
11) Knowing that unbelievers will experience a resurrection that leads to eternal judgment and “second death” – we should be even more motivated to share the Good News of the Gospel.
12) While we each may have scars because of the choices we have made, Jesus kept His scars as a reminder to each one of us of the choice He made to redeem us! Timeless Truth: He is risen! And because He lives, we live too!