12: “Now since we preached that Christ was raised from the dead, why do some of you say that people will not be raised from the dead?” – There was a great debate brewing within the Greek culture of Corinth that Jesus was not really raised from the dead. Only His soul ascended into heaven, not His body. If this argument held then it would be logical to assume that Jesus was also not of human form, only the essence of God, a spirit, walking among us.
14: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is worth nothing, and your faith is worth nothing.” – Paul is teaching that the Resurrection is the foundation for our faith; without it we have nothing.
17: “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith has nothing to it; you are still guilty of your sins.” – Jesus was crucified. He sacrificed Himself for our sins. However, His sacrifice would be meaningless with our sins ever-present and unforgiven had He not also been raised from the tomb.
19: “If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.” – Jesus Christ transforms lives. Through Him, God provides love, hope, and joy. If the Resurrection was a fraud, then all bases for hope in our lives, our entire foundation of change into a life of holiness is also a fraud – and then we could to be pitied.
20: “But Christ has truly been raised from the dead – the first one and proof that those who sleep in death will also be raised.” – Remember, Paul was an eye-witness to the Risen Christ.
Points to Contemplate:
Is the Resurrection a fraud?
Have we been duped into believing the greatest hoax in human history? Do we live under a misguided delusion? Did Jesus perform a series of amazing magical tricks out-performing the greatest illusionists of our time? Was the Resurrection simply smoke and mirrors? Paul demands that the Corinthians get their story straight. They cannot profess to be a Christian and simultaneously dwell within the Greek scientific world of logic and debate. We cannot explain away things that are beyond our scope of understanding without undermining the entire foundation of our belief. Without the fullness of Christ’s resurrection firmly embedded in our belief, we have nothing. Are you firm in your belief?
Are you worried about death?
This is why the Corinthians were debating this issue – fear of death. Is your life filled with anxiety and dread? Or in your relationship with Christ have you been able to set aside some of your fears? Have you accepted that God has a plan for your life? Have you grown in confidence that He will provide for your every need? Has God’s faithfulness carried you through some difficult times? If you have been able to give portions of your days to God and found that He has provided for your needs, if He has stilled your heart, removing some of your pain of anxiety, can you also give to Him your entire life? Can you take the daily victories you have experienced with Jesus and let Him handle the big picture as well?
Have you grown closer to God? Have you become more holy? Has your relationship with Jesus resulted in significant change in your life? Has He helped you to manage and control many of your sinful tendencies? Do you see that this is not possible without His sacrifice and ultimate victory over death? Do you accept that without Jesus in your life, there is nothing you can do to bridge the gap of sin between you and God? God has made it easy for you. He has provided you with Grace – a gift of forgiveness. Through Jesus He has blotted out the memory of your sins so that you can experience His love. Are you growing closer to God? Promises of the Gospel:
Paul addresses the very issue that would undermine and destroy our faith in God. He teaches that without the Resurrection we would have nothing. In fact, we would be pitied because our faith and belief structure would have no foundation. During Epiphany, as we continue to evaluate our relationship with Jesus and as we clarify who He is and how He affects our lives, we must come to terms with the Resurrection. It is not a portion of the “Jesus” story that we can gloss over. Without this key event we have nothing.