The Importance of the Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Paul’s discourse on the resurrection is one of the church’s greatest treasures. But as the pearl in the oyster grows because of an irritant, this chapter owes its origin to a serious heresy embraced by some members of the Corinthian church: the denial of the bodily resurrection. Apparently some had become so self-satisfied with their spiritual riches that they thought there was no longer anything more worth waiting for. But Paul had reminds them that they still lived in the tension between the now and the not yet, that they should still be eagerly looking forward to the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are many throughout the 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth who have tried to deny that He was resurrected, for if He indeed did not rise from the grave, then Christianity is worthless. Of the world religions, we are the only one that have a God who transcended death. No other faith can make that claim. In these words, Paul again makes the case for belief in the resurrection based on irrefutable evidence. There were just too many eye witness to His death and resurrection. Some have even claimed that He never actually died on that cross, but instead was merely comatose. The forensic evidence of Roman crucifixion practices refutes that claim. Then there are those who claim that the Disciples took His body from the grave and buried it somewhere else in order to make it look like He had been resurrected. But Paul destroys that argument with these words.

Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians contain our hope, for if Christ conquered death, He did so for all of us for whom He died. The rest of this chapter will bring only hope as we explore the facts about our own upcoming resurrection.