Summary: We can rejoice that God can repair the status of our lives and restore us to wholeness. Anything in our lives that is hated, weak, and contemptible can become beautiful, radiant, and a blessing.
Do you know that there are some people who refuse to believe that Jesus died and rose again? They claim that Jesus actually passed out on the cross and was revived by the cool air in the tomb. Unfortunately there is a major flaw with this belief. It does not explain how water and blood flowed out when the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus, but medical science can. When the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side, they pierced the sac that surrounds the heart.
A similar claim is made in 1 Corinthians 15:12-28. Some people in the Greek city of Corinth argued that although Jesus died and rose again, believers who died would not rise again. Part of Greek culture was the idea that the body was a prison in which the soul was housed and that in death the soul that is good is freed. The idea of bodily resurrection would have been offensive.
Paul argued that this belief is false. Paul reminded the Corinthians that Christ was a human being, and if people are not raised from the dead then Christ was not raised from the dead either. If Christ is in a grave somewhere in the Middle East, then we are still in our sins and the burden of our sins rests on us instead of on him. As a result, we would have to stand before our righteous God and give an account of every sin we have ever committed, and we would be guilty of every one of them.
Paul painted a dark picture of what life would be like without the resurrection. All preaching would be empty or false. There would be no forgiveness of sin. We would all face death without hope, and we would be tortured by the thought that those we love who have already died have perished forever. The Resurrection is for both now and the future. If it was for this life only, then no life has any purpose.
Paul refers to Christ’s resurrection as the “first fruits”, or the first of many who would be raised from the dead. The term “first fruits” refers to a sample of an agricultural crop that represents the nature and quality of the entire crop. Paul’s insistence that Christ died and was raised from the dead moves God from the background to the front stage of human experience. God gets involved in our lives. God is fully in human form in the person of Jesus. God is fully involved in everyone who has died.
There are two main races in the world-the natural race, which is headed by Adam, and the spiritual race, which is headed by Jesus. The natural race consists of everyone who has ever been born, whereas the spiritual race includes everyone who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. To be alive in Adam is to be alive in the flesh and the sin-filled world, but to be alive in Jesus is to be alive spiritually.
Christ’s resurrected body represents what the resurrected bodies of all believers will be like. These bodies will never again be subjected to weakness, illness, aging or death. Until Christ returns to earth, believers who die will exist in heaven as spirits without bodies. Christ’s resurrection will give us the second, third and more chances we need. In return, we need to embrace the chance of new life Christ has given us.
It’s appropriate that we are hearing this reading from 1 Corinthians today. We have just celebrated Easter and Christ’s triumph over sin, death and the grave. In doing so, he obeyed God’s will for his life. Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, is thus the only way salvation can be brought to us, because he has fulfilled the righteousness we rejected and borne the judgment we deserved, and each of these in the human flesh with which he was born of the Virgin Mary. He set a good example for us to follow. That is, we are to obey God.
When Christ returns, there will be the Great Tribulation and a terrible resurrection for those who are destined to spend eternity in hell. The eternal kingdom will be delivered to God and Jesus. Death will die and no one can escape it, but Jesus will cast it into the depths of hell.
Christ and the church will be joined when he returns. When they become united, God will establish his kingdom here on earth. Everything will be under Christ’s authority, and Christ will be under God’s authority. Jesus and God can’t be controlled by us. They control us. They control our eternal destiny if we let them. If we want to let them control our lives, we have to believe that Christ died and rose again so that we can have eternal life. When this happens, we will be different, and people will be able to look at us and see that we are different. They will see that we are people who have seen Jesus. We will be able to say the words of Job 20:25-“I know that my Redeemer liveth.” The resurrection was the foundation for everything the disciples did, and it is the foundation of our Christian faith.