“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” (I Corinthians 15:3-4 NKJV)
The witnessed death, the witnessed burial, and the witnessed resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. That message permeated Paul’s teaching in general and this part of the chapter specifically. While other religions had resurrection stories, it was obvious that those were tales told of resurrections happening in ancient days and were meant to satisfy the need to understand natural occurrences. No one witnessed those resurrections. Paul went on to name some of the people who had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and note that over five hundred people swathe resurrected Jesus and that most were still alive. As we read this chapter, we can also note that Paul was responding to people who were denying the truth of the resurrection. The teaching here is clear: either Jesus rose from the dead or our faith as followers of Christ is worthless and we should be pitied.
There are many today who claim to follow Jesus but would also note that they don’t believe in the resurrection. Paul would tell these people to get their acts together. A resurrection-less Christianity is nothing but legalism as people seek to follow Christ’s teachings. A resurrection-less Christianity becomes one more religion in the mix of world religions that depend on what people can do rather than on what God can do. A resurrection-less Christianity would be built on the teachings of a liar who asserted that His teachings would be verified when He rose from the dead. I believe in the resurrection. Because of the resurrection, I know God loves me – not because I follow the rules, but because He is a loving and graceful God. Because I believe in the resurrection, I follow a God who has power over life and death. Because I believe in the resurrection, my faith leads me to a developing relationship with God instead of a fear-based religion. Because of the resurrection I know that one day I will spend the rest of eternity with my Lord and Savior. Thanks be to God for the amazing truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Hallelujah! I praise You, Lord, for the resurrection. I thank You for making it possible for all people to have a loving, grace-filled relationship with You because of the resurrection. Let me live a resurrection filled life today.