So Paul and the Apostles preach the Gospel with the resurrection of Christ highlighted through the many eyewitness accounts of it. This message of Good News for sinners is why they were called by Jesus and sent. The world needs to hear that Jesus died in sacrifice to sins and now lives in victory over sin’s consequence. He lives as an ever present witness to the Life everlasting to all who call upon Him. So how can anyone say there is no resurrection, asks Paul, since this is the very substance of the mission Christ has appointed His Church to do? Our lesson picks up with v. 12.
In the Greek, Paul uses the verb form “has been raised” seven times to emphasize the historic truth of the event. The tense shows certainty (catch v. 20 especially). Over and over again the Apostle reiterates the significance of the Gospel by reminding the reader that Christ has been raised. He begins making the case in our pericope by pointing out the obvious, which is often missed, through a series of conditional clauses. If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not raised either. If Christ is not raised, then our preaching is pointless. If Christ is not raised, your faith in Him is worthless. If Christ is not raised, then we must be liars about God since we say He raised Him from the dead. If Christ is not raised, then you have no savior. You still face the sentence of death as a consequence of your sins. If Christ is not raised, those who have already died in Christ are themselves under judgment. There is nothing positive, hopeful or joyful to say at their funerals. They are lost eternally since they would have wrongly believed in Jesus. If Christ is not raised, Christians are fools for wasting their time living in Christ. Rather, jumping ahead to v. 32, “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”. That would be a much more honest and realistic standard for life if there is no resurrection from the dead to the life everlasting, if this is all that there is. Just survive. What’s the point of striving for meaning in life if we’re born only to, some years later, die with nothing more to it?
For Further Discussion:
- Let’s answer that question for there is a growing trend today, especially among our young, to stop looking for immortality but rather to accept mortality as a natural, evolutionary process within nature and seek to just contribute “a meaningful chapter” to the ongoing story of life within the universe. How is this an affront to the very meaning and sacredness of life as God’s creation (Genesis 1:27-31; Psalm 139:13-16) as well as the importance of the individual to God? Has the view on abortion also contributed to a less than reverent view of life’s preciousness to be experienced eternally? What about capital punishment, then? General views on morality today?
- If Christ is not raised and no one lives eternally, everyone will one day be gone and forgotten, then what other potential issues are dismissed? Could this motivate some to unbelief?
- But if Christ is raised from the dead (and remember all those eye witnesses listed in vv. 5-8), how does everything Paul has been postulating change? What are the implications of Christ’s resurrection on the value and sanctity of human life?