Not a Failed Messiah!

Description

What difference has Christ's resurrection made for you, in terms of hope and courage?

Pray:

God of all my journeys, clear a path for me. I look to You for a sense of direction.

Read:

1 CORINTHIANS 15:12-34

Meditate

Consider: "Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection" (Watchman Nee, 1903-72).

Think Further:

Thousands suffered the horrors of crucifixion throughout the Roman Empire. What made Jesus' crucifixion different is that he was raised from the dead. And that is the point for Paul. The consequences for the Christian faith, if there were no resurrection, are extreme. In that case Jesus was just another failed Messiah and everything about Christian belief becomes absurd. Denying the resurrection is not the removal of one negotiable element of Christian faith but a cutting out of its foundation.

Paul points out to his readers that denying the resurrection means denying not only their own future resurrection but also the past resurrection of Christ (13). This leaves them in a mess, as the problem of sin has not been dealt with (17). Paul's preaching and their faith are futile. At this point we have one of "the great ‘buts' of the Bible" (David Prior), as Paul affirms that Christ has indeed been raised from the dead (20). Just as one man got us into the mess we find ourselves in, so through one man we find the solution to that mess (21,22). Christ's resurrection is a guarantee that there will be a final harvest of those who belong to him; it has begun a chain of events that will lead inevitably to the end (20-28), when God's sovereignty will be revealed.

Paul further highlights the absurdity of the anti-resurrection position in verse 29. Although we have no idea what was happening here, the actions of Paul's opponents were irrelevant if there was no resurrection. The issue affects more than final resurrection. Beliefs have consequences, and wrong thinking about the resurrection leads to wrong behavior (32-34). There is a relationship between what one believes about the future and how one behaves in the here and now. Christ has indeed been raised; there is a future hope, and our present behavior needs to demonstrate that.

Apply:

What difference has Christ's resurrection made for you, in terms of hope and courage? In terms of purpose for life?

Pray:

Mighty God, I rejoice in all that Christ's resurrection means to me. I am also jolted by Paul's reminder that bad company corrupts good character. I need wisdom in my relationships.

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