Saturday, February 18, 2017

Is It Important if Jesus Really Rose from the Dead?

"1 Corinthians 15"

"12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied."

As Paul closes his letter to the church at Corinth, he reminds them of what is of utmost importance, Christ being raised from the dead.  Some in the church were saying that Jesus really didn't rise from the dead, it was just a story. Paul re-iterates that Jesus' rising from the dead is central to the gospel.  Why?'

If there is no resurrection, then Jesus did not rise, and therefore we are still dead in our sins.  Since Jesus said he would rise from the dead, then he is a liar if he didn't.  If Christ has not risen from the dead, our preaching becomes that Jesus was just a good man, with some good teaching, but not really God. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, as Paul says, our preaching is useless and are faith is futile.  

Also we are found to be false witnesses.  Meaning we are preaching a "pipe dream" that never really happened.  If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, there is no hope beyond death. We have nothing to say at funerals to comfort the bereaved.  If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, he won't be returning to judge the living and the dead.  There is no reconciliation of the injustice that has happened here on earth.  Paul closes by saying, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are among all people most to be pitied."  

There are some Christians, or so called Christians, who say that Jesus' rising from the dead is optional.  They say this doctrine is really not the linchpin of the Christian faith.  The problem is most all of Jesus' apostles, including the apostle Paul, died for preaching the Gospel that Jesus lived, died and rose. His literal resurrection proved He was the Christ as the Old Testament prophecied!  So who are we to think that we can change the Gospel into something that is more suitable to our reasoning? 

In our Nicene Creed we say, "On the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures!" The Nicene Creed was written in 325 AD to protect and preserve the essential teaching about who Jesus is, and who He is not. This was to protect against heresies which Paul is warning against in the passage.  1,700 years later let's not make the same mistake!  

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