Week of March 31

Living in the Resurrection Truth

Read: Judges 8; Psalm 42; 1 Corinthians 15

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-5, ESV


One of the most precious lives I have ever known gave me an opportunity to share my heart about faith in Jesus Christ. This person listened carefully to all I said and responded with her belief that Jesus was a good teacher, but not a risen Savior and Lord. I replied tenderly, “He has changed my life.” Facts about Jesus are critical for understanding how God has worked out His salvation for us. Never give up the facts. Nevertheless, the Gospel is not only about facts, but about faith—yours and mine. The propositional truth about Jesus must become the personal truth applied to our lives. He does that through the work of the Holy Spirit.

What’s the point? Well, 1 Corinthians 15 concludes with the point! “Keep on becoming steadfast, unshaken” (15:58). My friends, we may let the skeptics hoot and howl. The simple truth that Jesus was raised from the grave is not an Easter tale, but eternal truth. Live in this truth every day until He returns.

The Meaning of the Text

The concern in Corinth
The nature and meaning of the resurrection provide readers with the clear theme in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul takes care to build the resurrection platform in verses 1-11, then he dives into the application in verses 12-58. He constructs this foundation with a statement of proper Christian belief (vv. 3-5) and the resurrection appearances (vv. 6-7). He does this to counter false teaching at Corinth. He adds to these statements his own personal witness to having seen the risen Christ (v. 8), then he shares a testimony about his own status and work—possibly to refute the claims of false teachers that he lacked authority (vv. 9-10; cf. 9:1-2; see also 2 Corinthians 10:13; Handbook). Bible scholars see evidence of a very clear and deep summary of Christian beliefs in verses 3-5, and possibly verses 6-7.
Transformational truths
Foundation for assurance of salvation. Several truths rise to the surface in our focal section. First, Paul assumes the Corinthians are believers in verses 1-2. He demonstrates this by using a Greek construction in verse 2 that is best translated, “since you hold fast ...” In other words, the Gospel of Jesus Christ assures our salvation, unless the “supposed faith” we claimed to have was, in fact, “actually empty and worthless and un-enduring” (EBC; ATR). We say, “Once saved, always saved,” so is this claim still true? Yes, emphatically, but Paul holds over them the peril of falling prey to any tempting tale that the resurrection did not occur. The resurrection forms the basis for our faith and hope in forgiveness of sin and life eternal.

Based upon a clear revelation. Paul bases his teaching upon a direct revelation from the Lord. There was no mistaking the fact that he claimed to have received his message from a “living” Savior. Paul explained this Gospel message using four verbs: died, was buried, has been raised, and appeared. Christ died was stated as a historical fact and a crucial event (ATR). Crucial because it was “in behalf of our sins.” The Scriptures teach it: Jesus taught it (Luke 22:37; 24:25), Peter pointed this truth out (Acts 2:25-27; 3:25), and Paul did the same (Acts 13:25ff; 17:3; ATR). Christ was buried, thus placing our sins in the grave. Dead and gone! He has been raised is a perfect passive indicative. This means that He was raised, and is still raised to this minute, and will continue to be so. Permanence! Lazarus was resuscitated in John 11 only to die again, until the resurrection when he will be raised forever. Paul teaches that Jesus was resurrected from the grave, never to die again. He is the “first fruits” of the new life that is preached in the Gospel.
The point
You may be asking the same question that was raised in Paul’s day: Is He truly alive? Paul writes, “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12). Let’s see what Paul says! “He appeared” is stated as a historical fact (15:5). We should know the facts. There were multiple resurrection appearances. Take note of the number, the variety of people involved, and the places of resurrection appearances: Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), the two going to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), the eleven disciples (Matthew 28:16; Luke 24:36-49), Simon Peter (1 Corinthians 15:5), the ten apostles (John 20:19-23), the eleven (John 20:26-29), the seven by the sea (John 21:1-14), to over five hundred in Galilee (1 Corinthians 15:6), and to the apostles in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 15:7b). There is also one to James (1 Corinthians 15:7)(ATR). And Christ appeared to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8). Our trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ provides essential truth for living with assurance and hope today. Trust Him as your life, guide, and hope for eternity.

The Message for Your Heart

In a horrific tragedy earlier this week, a ship struck the 1.6-mile-long Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, causing the structure to collapse and workers to plunge into the frigid harbor. I listened to a former harbor pilot explain how ships are guided to make safe passage through the channel, beneath the bridge, and onto their destinations. These pilots know the importance of securing the correct coordinates, because errors are costly in terms of lives and property lost. Paul knew the importance of getting the resurrection details accurate. The entire Christian Gospel depends upon it, and he takes great care to pilot us to eternal security. We do well this Easter to know and apply well the central Christian truth about the resurrection.

For Thought and Action

1. The simple fact is that simple facts form the foundation upon which our hope rests. Build your faith foundation well upon Gospel truth. Know your Bible and learn how to interpret and apply it well.
2. For Families: On this day before Easter, as preparations are made for Sunday celebrations and family meals, perhaps even egg hunts, take time to gather your chicks around you. Make a special time of re-telling the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, so that your children will anticipate the Sunday morning service, participate with the rest of God’s family around the globe, and celebrate the risen Lord.

Plan a family breakfast of “hot cross buns” (made Saturday) and tell the story about this traditional Easter breakfast dish. Hot cross buns date back to the 12th century. An Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with crosses as a reminder of Good Friday. These became popular over the years and are now a specialty, eaten on Easter weekend. You can also buy them at your favorite bakery. Here is a recipe for baking at home: Hot Cross Buns Recipe.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
May your paths be straight,
Larry C. Ashlock