Sat, 3 January 2009
Sometimes termed "the great Resurrection chapter," 1 Corinthians 15 accounts just that and more. Certain members of the Corinthian Church, perhaps because of a Greek heritage that often disparages the flesh, take issue with Jesus' resurrection. From the initial verse, Paul affirms that the resurrection is an essential part of the gospel.
He expresses that Christ died for our sins and rose to give us eternal life, appearing to many (v 2-6). Note that Cephas [Peter] is mentioned specifically as well as being included in those "twelve" apostles who witnessed Him (v 5). Paul uses the terms "the twelve" and "the apostles" as two separate categories (v 7). These precise groupings of witnesses serve help establish facts, adding credibility to Paul's argument.
It was only the resurrected Christ who dramatically changed Paul from the Church's greatest persecutor into one of its chief workers. Paul reminds them that a Christian's resurrection will be one of both the spirit and the body, urging them to never overlook the resurrection of the body on the last day. He writes in response to those who question the resurrection of the body, "If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins" (v 16-17).
Christ has trampled upon death through the resurrection and lifts believers from the dead and from sin. By thinking deeply about heaven and the resurrection of the dead, Christians remain focused on their final end throughout the battle against sin.
Music: Moritz Moszkowski's 3 Moments Musicaux Op. 7 - Allegramente, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com