April 5, 2015
1 Corinthians 15:19-28
“The Reality of the Resurrection”
Is the Resurrection as real as a fact? Some deny the historical reality of the Resurrection. It is held that the Resurrection was a matter of faith. On the part of the disciples. Who passed on the myth to later generations. Because something is believed to exist does not prove it exists. Faith is not enough. Faith must be based on facts. Paul is certain that the Resurrection is a fact.
What are the facts of the resurrection?
The fact of the empty tomb. Paul considers the Resurrection to be a fact. Not a theory. A wish. Not even a faith. Thinking. Wishing. Or believing. Does not make anything a reality. Especially the Resurrection. The Resurrection is a hard, cold fact. - And the fact that Paul places before us is an empty tomb. The tomb is empty. That is what Paul presents to us.
Jesus is not there. - His tomb is empty. We cannot return to pay homage at His tomb. He is not there. He died a physical death. But He was raised back to life. Paul reminds us that if we do away with this fact - the reality of the Resurrection - Christianity is no more! If there is no Resurrection. - There isn't any Christianity. Without this fact of the Resurrection, the Christian faith has no foundation. If the church has no Resurrection to proclaim, it has no message of hope. And there is no salvation to offer the world.
Then there is the fact of a resurrected Jesus. Jesus appeared physically to His disciples. Some teach that the Resurrection is merely the collective thoughts of the first Christians. Jesus became alive in the minds of believers. Paul will have nothing of that. To him it is all or nothing. Jesus appeared physically alive before His disciples for a period of 40 days to prove for the last time that He was truly alive. The empty tomb is one fact. Jesus' appearance alive physically is the second fact. For 40 days. Jesus walked and talked, and ate with His disciples. So they could know that He truly was alive from the dead.
Each of the disciples of Jesus. With the exclusion of John. All died for one thing. - Their testimony. That they saw Jesus alive from the dead. If Jesus had died. And not risen from the dead. Each of those early disciples died for what they knew was a lie. True, many have died. For a good cause. But would die for what they knew was a lie? Their testimony is consistent, "We are witnesses of His Resurrection!"
The fact of a living Lord in the lives of His followers. Jesus changed their lives. Take Thomas for example. Before Jesus' appearance, Thomas was a skeptic. He wouldn't believe. Unless he saw Jesus with His own eyes. But once he saw Jesus. His life was changed forever. Each of the followers of Christ had their lives turned literally upside down because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And His appearance to them.
Because of the Resurrection. Christ is in the business of changing our lives too. Because Jesus is alive. You are made alive too. The resurrection is not limited to life after death. The resurrection takes place before death. In baptism, you died and were buried with Christ. You rose in newness of life. Your baptism is a resurrection. Before the resurrection. Easter has a present day application for each of you. You can experience a resurrection with Christ. In Christ, you are a new creature.
The Easter message brings life! Jesus Christ is raised from the dead. He has appeared to His disciples. The one who has written to us this day is an eyewitness of Jesus Christ. Jesus appeared to Paul physically so that he too could say, "I am an eye witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!" Rejoice! And be glad! Christ is alive. Because He lives. You will live also. Blessed Easter!
Passive Sentences –4%
Reading Level -4.0