1 Corinthians 15:12-34 — Christianity Without the Resurrection? That’s Like Saturday Morning Without Eggs & Home Fried Potatoes

Posted: August 8, 2015 in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 15:12-34 —Today’s passage reminds me of my and Elena’s Saturday morning tradition. We sleep later. We drink coffee and sit on the back porch. But the piece de resistance (for those out there that are rednecks at heart like me…that “franch” for “the most important thing”) to our Saturday mornings is brunch. Elena will make eggs of some variety and in good quantity too. She will also make home fried potatoes which are…wait for it…awesome! That is the highlight of Saturday morning. That meal. It makes Saturday stand out over the hustle and bustle of the regular work week. That meal. Without it, Saturday mornings would seems something less. Without it, Saturday morning would be incomplete. Why do I bring up this illustration. It reminds us that this passage is about something that without it becomes incomplete. Without the resurrection, Christianity is incomplete. The resurrection is the piece de resistance of our faith. Let’s dive in now to this passage…

There are three nuggets in this passage and we will look at each one over this and the next two blog posts. First, today, we will look at what Paul says about the essential nature of Christ’s resurrection. Next, we will look at the relationship of the resurrection of Christ and His return to judge the world. Finally, we will consider Paul’s point about there being no point to life if there is no resurrection of Christ.

Many people can accept Jesus Christ as having existed. Many people can accept Him as a great rabbi. Many can accept Him as a political revolutionary. Many can accept him as a great philosopher. However, many see the resurrection of Jesus as their jumping off point. Some simply cannot accept it.

There is a fundamental difference maker in the resurrection. In fact, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of the Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead, which He promised He would do, we know what He said was true and that He is God in the flesh. The resurrection affirms the truthfulness of Jesus’ life and His words. The resurrection confirms that Jesus had the power and the authority to say that He is “the resurrection and the life” as He did in John 11:25. It is the resurrection that demonstrates that Jesus was not a lunatic and a liar. He said that He and the Father were one. Dress that the way you will to debunk it but understanding the context in which that statement was made, Jesus was claiming to be God. It was not an unison of heart and thought, as some suggest, but rather that He was of the same essence as God. Thus, the resurrection is a testament that Jesus was telling the truth about Himself. The resurrection then gives us assurance that everything else that Jesus said about Himself and the things that He taught were of God and from God. Without the resurrection, Jesus is a phony and just another dead prophet. With the resurrection, it establishes Jesus as of the same essence as God and establishes His authority over all creation. It is this authority that allowed Him to conquer death. It is His resurrection that separates Him from all of creation. There is hope that comes from the resurrection because it means that we believe in the authority of God over every natural law, over every human order of things, and that God can deliver us from our worst nightmares of life.

The resurrection also is essential to us as believers because it means that our sins are forgiven and left behind in the grave. Jesus went to the cross and took on the whole wrath of God for sin and took all sin with Him to the grave. Without the resurrection, the cross would have to be repeated often just like in the Old Testament sacrificial system. However, the resurrection erases the need for continual sacrifices. With the resurrection, Jesus defeated sin. Jesus’ body was beaten down and battered to the point of death, but He arose with a clean and perfect body. Death where is your victory. Where is your sting? Jesus emerged from the grave in His perfect body. He conquered the ravages of sin on His body because He is God in the flesh. His victory over the grave means that through Him, we arise from the graves of sin filled lives with a new start, a clean slate. Jesus paid the price for our sins at the cross but it is the resurrection that confirms that new life is ahead when we believe in Him, the Son of God, the one with authority over sin and death. Without the resurrection, we have no victory. Sin would have won. You have to have the cross for the punishment of sin but you also have to have the resurrection for victory over sin.

The resurrection is also essential to us as believers because it reminds us that we know that we have an eternal reward awaiting us. Jesus has gone before us to prepared a place for us. The resurrection gives us purpose to it all. In most times through the centuries and even today in other parts of the world, there is absolutely no advantage to being a Christian. It often leads to persecution, excommunication from family and friends, poverty and even death. The day is coming and we are beginning to experience it here in this country where it will no longer be to our advantage to claim to be a Christian. The day is slowly coming upon us that claiming to be a Christian will be a detriment to our social climbing and our career advancement. In other parts of the world, it is real already and has been for centuries. It is the resurrection of Christ that gives us hope. It is the resurrection of Christ that helps us fight against injustice without fear of death. It is the resurrection that gives us the power to not conform to the ever changing moral landscape of our world. It is the resurrection that gives us the strength to stand against the tide of popular opinion. It is the resurrection that gives us the endurance to rely on God’s Word as the eternal truth and never waver in our commitment to it. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would not change the world. We would just accept it the way it is. Without the resurrection, death is to be feared. With the resurrection, through Jesus Christ, we know that death is a doorway to the eternal life with Christ in heaven. With the resurrection, it should empower us to live our lives for Christ in ways that the world would consider reckless and foolish. With the resurrection, we will lay our lives on the line to change the world. Because what we have waiting for us is so far much better than this world. The resurrection gives frees us from being married to preserving what we have here on earth. When we are married to preserving our way of life, we have no freedom. We become slaves to manning the walls that we have built around what we have. It is a never ending struggle to preserve. It is the resurrection that frees us from all that. We know through the resurrection of Christ that if we believe in Him we too will conquer death. We know that through Christ we have eternity awaiting us in His arms. Isn’t that freeing? Isn’t that just the kick in the pants that we need to begin living our life as if we truly believed that heaven is far better.

Oh God, you are mighty. You are the Creator of all things. You made the heavens and the earth and you have full authority over them. You demonstrated your power over all creation by bodily raising Jesus Christ from the dead. You proved that He was of the same essence as you and that all the things He did, said, and taught were eternally true because they came from You. We thank you for the forgiveness of our sins that was accomplished Easter weekend 2,000 years ago that is sufficient for the forgiveness of my sins. We thank you for Jesus dying to take the punishment that we deserve. But, especially my Lord, my God, I thank you for the resurrection because of the hope of new life that the forgiveness of the cross brings. I thank you for the resurrection because it demonstrates to all believers that there is nothing on this earth that is greater than you. There is nothing on this earth that is worth selling our soul to. There is nothing on this earth that is better than the eternity that we have promise of through belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and who arose from the dead to demonstrate His authority over all things including me and my sins. Thank you for the hope that the resurrection brings. Amen and Amen.

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