Psalm 146-147 1 Corinthians 15:1-28
“And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith has nothing to it; you are still guilty of your sins. And those in Christ who have already died are lost. If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19 NCV)
One of the heresies going around Corinth was the idea that Jesus was a good teacher, but, we shouldn’t really believe the idea that He rose from the dead. That resurrection stuff just adds a distraction to being able to talk about His teaching. This made sense in Corinth. After all, they weren’t backwater Jews living in the armpit of the world called Israel, they were sophisticated Corinthians where people of all nations passed through as they sailed the Mediterranean. And sophisticated people knew that other people didn’t just come back from the dead. Paul took exception to that line of thinking and listed people that they could check with who had seen the resurrected Jesus, including himself. His response went further and noted that all of Christian faith hinges on the resurrection and that if Christ wasn’t raised, then our faith is worthless, and we should be pitied.
I’ll admit that it’s hard to believe in the resurrection. None of us have seen one. If I’m wrong, describe what you saw in the comments, please. We believe the resurrection of Jesus because of the faith that God’s given to us. Perhaps we look at the history of those who claimed to have seen Jesus after the resurrection and realize that if they were willing to die because of that belief, there might be truth to the idea. Our world today tries to help us get away from this belief in the resurrection by noting that Jesus was a good teacher. They’re trying to be nice by saying some good things about Jesus while trying to steer us away from that crazy resurrection story. They are, in fact, taking pity on us that we could be so deluded as to have faith in a man that rose from the dead. The resurrection’s the line in the sand that the whole world must deal with. If the resurrection didn’t happen, Christians are irrelevant and should be pitied. The teachings of Jesus can be found uttered by others through the ages. If there is no resurrection from the dead, then the world should pity us Christians for being so deluded. On the other hand, as improbable as it may seem, if the story we tell about the resurrection is true, then there is no other hope for a relationship with God and the rest of the world is deluded by the allure of false religions and secularism. And if they’ve been deluded, they are, of all people, most to be pitied. We should not attack these people, we should show and tell them about God’s love as found in Jesus. No matter how many times they’ve heard it before, who knows that they won’t see the light and begin their eternal life by turning to Jesus? So keep proclaiming the resurrected Jesus to our skeptical world.
Oh Lord, our world needs to see truth. If the resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, then reveal it to Your people so that we can stop believing a lie. If the resurrection really happened, then strengthen the resolve of Your people so that we’ll share the story of our Risen Lord with a skeptical world in spite of resistance and opposition. Let Your truth shine in our world.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.