The Lord Jesus Christ is the most influential person to ever walk on this earth. Over the course of 2,000 years, the influence of Christ has rippled through history as a stone thrown into a pond. Until recent politically correct times, the calendar was defined as times before Christ and after Christ. As we conclude this Holy Week with Resurrection Sunday (or Easter, if you prefer), we will no doubt focus on the Gospels, but what about the testament of Jesus’ resurrection outside of the Gospels?
First Corinthians was written in approximately 55 A.D., roughly two decades after the events of the Gospels and even precludes the writing of at least one Gospel, the Gospel of John, which could have been written in the late First Century. In 1st Corinthians chapter 15, the Apostle Paul systematically lays out the Gospel, Jesus’ resurrection appearances, the consequences if Jesus did not rise from the dead, our assurances as believers, and the transformation of our mortal bodies into our glorified spiritual bodies. However, I want to focus on Paul’s Gospel, his accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, and the consequences if Jesus did not rise from the dead.
*Paul states that Jesus died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3).
*Jesus died as fulfillment of Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3).
*Jesus was buried (1 Cor. 15:4).
*Jesus rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:4).
Jesus’ Resurrection Appearances
*Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples (1 Cor. 15:5).
*Jesus appeared to 500 people,many of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this letter (1 Cor. 15:6).
*Jesus was seen by His brother, James, and the other apostles (1 Cor. 15:7).
*Jesus appeared to Paul (1 Cor.15:8).
It is important to note that the biblical standard for testimony was based on two, even three witnesses. In the case of Jesus’ resurrection and Paul’s writing, potentially hundreds of people could have stepped forward and refuted his claims, which could have stopped the Gospel dead in its tracks.
If Jesus was not Risen…
For many religions, including Christianity, there is a belief in an afterlife. For other religions, there’s belief in reincarnation. There are others who simply do not believe that we live on after we die; death is simply the end of existence. However, what separates Christianity from other faiths is that our Savior rose from the dead. No other faith has a resurrected Savior, which is a bold claim to make. Paul goes on to explain the reality if Christ did not rise from the dead.
*If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ is not risen (1 Cor. 15:13; 15:16).
*Our preaching and faith are in vain (1 Cor. 15:14; 15:17).
*We are false witnesses of God because we have testified that God raised Christ from the dead (1 Cor. 15:15).
*We are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17).
*Those who have died believing in Christ are lost (1 Cor. 15:18).
*If Christ is our only hope in this life, then we are miserable and pitiful (1 Cor. 15:19).
As we come to the conclusion of another Holy Week, let us take the time to examine what we believe in why we believe it. Outside of Christ, what do we have? With Christ, what do we have? An empty tomb and hope. God bless you all.