By Doug Bell
1 Corinthians 15:
12 “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
15 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.
16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Why is the Resurrection so important? Why do Christians lay such emphasis on this? It is why Paul wrote this chapter. In fact, if there were no resurrection, there could not be any type of Christianity! The resurrection is so important, that it is the reason the day of Worship was changed! The Sabbath, ie., [Saturday] in the Old Testament was the day God declared to be the day He be worshipped. It was proclaimed so because after Creation, God rested on that day.
Genesis 2:1 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
But, when we come to the New Testament we find that we are No longer to Worship on the Sabbath, but on the ‘Lord’s Day’! [Sunday]. Why? Because of the resurrection! The Salvation of God’s people is a Much Greater miracle than Creation Itself!
1.) Look at Paul’s words in this chapter about the evidences of Jesus’ Resurrection. He begins in Vs.1-2. This is what the Church is established on. And Paul tells them the resurrection is part of the Gospel message which he preached to the Corinthians, Note the progression of this:
“I preached…you received (believed)…you now stand (have been saved).”
2.) It was foretold in the Scriptures (vs. 3-4). Now the scriptures the Apostle is speaking of here is the Old Testament. Even in the New Testament, we even hear Jesus saying this;
25 “And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
And Paul tells King Agrippa in Acts 26:
22 “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
(These are referencing Old Testament passage such as Psalms 16:8-11; 22; Isaiah 53, etc.)
3.) Paul moves on to all the Witnesses (vs. 5-7). He mentions Peter, (we know John and Peter saw him together in John 20:19-20), but probably also separately before Luke 24:34. Then, by the 12. After that by over 500 who saw the risen Christ (most of which were still alive when Paul wrote this letter). James (which one we can’t be sure). The Lord’s half-brother, the writer of the book of James, and a leader of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 15:13-21). Or, one of two Apostles named James (the son of Zebedee, or James the son of Alphaeus see: Mark 3:17-18). He was seen by all the Apostles.
4.) The Apostle Paul’s testimony (vs. 8-10).
In humility, Paul calls himself as “one born out of time.” And then “the least of the Apostles… because I persecuted the Church.” BUT…
10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” Paul is saying we all preach the same Gospel Message!
“3 ¶ For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”