Read: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34
Consider: The Christian faith is based on the foundation of the resurrection; remove the resurrection and you remove our faith. I watched a video recently of a ‘discussion’ between a muslim and a man who said he would convert to Islam if his opponent could prove that Jesus’ resurrection was false. However, it wasn’t a real discussion as I am sure that the man was already a muslim. His opponent set out to prove that Jesus’ resurrection didn’t happen and he said that he would prove it from the Christian New Testament. Unfortunately his proof relied upon misquoting Scripture and misinterpreting the Greek text. Of course the audience had never read the New Testament for themselves, so were easily convinced.
If your church uses the Apostles’ Creed you will know that it mentions the resurrection twice; firstly of Jesus it says that ‘… he rose again from the dead …’ and secondly, regarding the believer it speaks of ‘… the resurrection of the body …’. In today’s reading Paul is clear when he says: For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).
Elsewhere Paul uses baptism to symbolise death and resurrection. In his letter to the Romans Paul says: We were buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his (Romans 6:4-5). So in the act of baptism by immersion, a believer proclaims to the world that they have died to their old life and been resurrected to their new life in Christ.
In today’s passage Paul also speaks of the resurrection of the body when Christ returns. We read: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep … For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22-23). If you want to learn further about the resurrection body, please refer to 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.
To be resurrected a person has first of all to have died. This means that if you believe in the resurrection, you believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again. You also believe that when a person accepts Christ as their Saviour, they have died to their old self and been raised to newness of life. Lastly you also believe that if you die before Christ’s return you will be resurrected at his coming.
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53).
Pray: Father, we thank you for the certainty of the resurrection. We praise you for Jesus’ resurrection that points to our resurrection to newness of life and also affirms our final resurrection when Jesus will return to claim those who belong to him. Amen