‘For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’ (1 Corinthians 15:3–4 NIV)
Death is public enemy number 1.
The number of celebrity deaths in 2016 seemed to catch people by surprise; they hurt people and left them bereft. It’s a sign that God has placed eternity in the human heart. We were created for life, and for relationship; that’s why death hits us so hard.
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul talks of matters that are life and death. Christ died for our sins, but our whole faith turns on His resurrection from the dead. This is of first importance to us.
The resurrection of Jesus must not remain an abstract concept to us; rather we need to grasp its significance for our life.
If Christ truly rose from the dead then so will we. But if there is no resurrection then we are all wasting our time being a Christian; we might as well go shopping or go down the pub. If there is no resurrection we eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
Actually it’s worse than wasting our time; we will have been duped by people who have deliberately set out to deceive us
In fact it’s even worse than that; if Christ did not rise from the dead then we are still in our sins
(v.17), those who have died are lost
(v.18) and we are to be pitted because all our hope is in this life
But the glorious news of the gospel is ‘Christ has indeed been raised from the dead’
(v.20). This message must never be diluted and never cease to be celebrated.
The resurrection changes everything for all humanity: ‘For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’
Death will finally be defeated, swallowed up in the victory of Christ
(v.26; 54-56); God will reign for all eternity as all is handed over to him
This is good news for all who died in Adam and has implications for how we confront death today. When someone we know and love, even someone we only ‘know’ because of their fame dies, we grieve, but not as the world grieves without hope
(1 Thessalonians 4:13). ‘For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him’
Perhaps this will be one of our greatest witnesses to a world without hope.
Let’s encourage one another with these words (v.18) giving thanks to God for his victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56)
Father, thank you that death has no hold on us because it couldn’t hold Jesus.
Have a good week celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.