1 Corinthians 15:1-11 — Without The Resurrection, We Might As Well Pack Up Christianity and Go Home!

Posted: August 7, 2015 in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 — Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. All I ever hear is Marsha. That was the cry of Jan Brady on the Brady Bunch. She was jealous of her big sister and it boiled over at times.

Now, could you imagine being James, Jesus’ half-brother. I could hear him now growing up, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! All I ever hear is Jesus.” Jesus you think you’re so perfect. I am so tired of hearing of all the good things Jesus does. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It would have been really hard to be Jesus’ little brother don’t you think? I bet there was a jealousy there just like Jan for Marsha on the Brady Bunch.

Sometimes, we are so close to the trees that we cannot see something special right in front of us. Although living in the same household as Jesus and knowing Jesus as an adult, James never grasped who Jesus was until the resurrected Christ appeared to him. It was not until then that James became a believer. James was set on fire by the resurrection to the point that he became a leader of the Christians in Jerusalem. Now, he was saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” for a different reason all because of the resurrection. He became a humble servant of Christ because the resurrection proved Jesus to be what He claimed to be. Everything James previously believed about his big brother proved to be false by the resurrection. How humbling is that?

Paul knew of Jesus but never met Him while Jesus was carrying out His earthly ministry. However, it was after Jesus’ death on the cross and the rumors of resurrection spread and Christianity began to gather converts that Paul began trying to stamp out this new sect. He persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed them to try to rid Judaism of what He considered a heresy. He did not believe Jesus could be the Messiah. It was not until He encountered the risen Lord on the road to Damascus that his whole life was rearranged and changed. He became an humble servant of Jesus Christ because resurrection proved Jesus to be what He claimed to be. Everything Paul previously believed about what he considered to be a false prophet was proved false by the resurrection. How humbling is that?

What is it about the resurrected Christ that changed James from probably a jealous little brother and Paul from a murderer of Christians into two of early church’s powerful advocates for Jesus Christ? The resurrection changes everything. The resurrection makes what we think we believe to be pure rubbish in its light. In Greg Tabor’s sermon at sermoncentral.com entitled “The Reality and Relevance of the Resurrection,” he says, The reality is that a transformation in Jesus’ followers took place. This is evidence of the reality of the resurrection. This little band of disciples went from hiding to preaching in a very short time. They were willing to go through horrible torture and death. Lee Strobel writes, “Nobody willingly dies for something that they know is false.”(Case for Easter, p.88). But they knew it to be true. They knew Jesus had died, they knew there was an empty tomb, and they had seen Him.” Paul and James made it their life’s work to tell people of the resurrected Christ. It proved that Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus was not just another dead prophet. He was God in the flesh. Whatever they thought about Him before was transformed by the resurrection. They were willing to die for spreading the hope that they knew in the resurrected Christ.

Without the resurrection, the entire Christian belief system is meaningless. Without the resurrection, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is meaningless. It would be unfinished business. The resurrection is necessary for our beliefs to be complete. Without the resurrection there is no victory. When we believe Jesus Christ died for our sins, it is one thing but it is incomplete without the resurrection. The resurrection gives us victory over our sins. The resurrection gives us new life in our newfound forgiveness of sins. We emerge from accepting Christ as our Savior as new beings through the resurrection. The resurrection proves that our belief in Jesus Christ is not in vain. We believe and we have proof that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh because of the resurrection. The resurrection proves that God controls the universe and controls even the processes of life that we consider irreversible. It proves that God is a miracle worker. It proves that God is above His creation. It proves that God can do the impossible. Lives are transformed by the resurrection. It is pivotal!

It transformed James from a clueless, probably jealous, little brother into an amazingly wise leader of the early church and the author of one of the books of the New Testament. It would have never happened without the resurrection transforming him. It made everything James previously about his big brother seem like wasted time. He was humbled by his own ignorance. Paul was transformed from a persecutor of Christians into the most influential man in Christianity outside of Jesus himself. Without Paul, Christianity might still be a quiet little sect of Judaism in Palestine right now. Transformed lives in the wake of encountering the risen Christ.

You may be one who is sitting here right now thinking that Jesus was not real. So did Paul and so did James. So did millions of people through the centuries. People have died horrible deaths in the past and continued to do so today because they believe in a real Jesus who really existed and really resurrected Christ. Why would people do this? They have at their salvation encountered the resurrected Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It transformed their lives. It made them willing to die rather than renounce Jesus Christ as the Son of God, God in the flesh. Would you die for a lie? Would you die for something that was just a made up fiction? Would you willingly go to your grave rather than renounce what you believe in? There is something to the transformative power of the resurrected Jesus Christ. When you consider Jesus. Learn about Jesus. Get to know Him. You are changed. You will find that everything that you previously believed in about Jesus to be simple and complete ignorance. You will be humbled by that. You will be humbled by what Jesus did for you without you even knowing Him. You will be humbled by your own sin and the grace that Christ offers you. You will be just like James and Paul. Humbled to your knees. Humbled into serving your Lord even unto your death. All because of the resurrection!

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