Summary: The resurrection of Jesus teaches us many important things.
“Why the Resurrection?” David Owens
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 3/20/03
A. The movie Amistad tells the story of a group of African slaves who seize control of their slave-ship and demand to be returned to their homeland.
1. The shackled captain tricks them by taking them to an American seaport where they are imprisoned.
2. As they await the judge’s verdict one of the men, Yamba, sits in a corner of the prison cell thumbing through the pages of a bible.
3. Cinque (Sin-Kay), the leader of the group, looks over and says, "You don’t have to pretend to be interested in that. Nobody’s watching but me."
4. After a brief moment Yamba looks up. "I’m not pretending. I’m beginning to understand it," he says. He cannot read the writing - English is foreign to him - but he can make sense of the pictures.
5. When Cinque comes over to see for himself Yamba explains the story in their native language. "Their people have suffered more than ours,” he says. Showing Cinque a picture of Jews being attacked by lions, he continues, "Their lives were full of suffering."
6. Then Yamba flips the page and points to a picture of the baby Jesus, crowned with a halo of light, "Then he was born and everything changed."
7. Cinque asks, "Who is he?"
8. Yamba replies that he doesn’t know, but that the child must be special.
9. He moves through the pictures of Jesus. He points to a picture of Jesus riding on a donkey, praised by onlookers. A golden orb forms a halo around Jesus. "Everywhere he goes" says Yamba, "he is followed by the sun."
10. Picture after picture the same theme emerges. Light surrounds Jesus as he heals people with his hands, as he protects an outcast woman, as he embraces children.
11. But this is not the end of the story. "Something happened,” says Yamba. "He was captured, accused of some crime."
12. Cinque shakes his head back and forth and insists, "He must have done something."
13. Yamba says, "Why? What did we do? Do you want to see how they killed him?"
14. Yamba is now getting very emotional. Cinque reminds him, "This is just a story, Yamba."
15. Yamba shakes his head in protest. This man’s death was real. "But look" he says. "That’s not the end of it. His people took his body down from…" Yamba pauses and draws a cross in the air.
16. "They took him into a cave. They wrapped him in cloth, like we do. They thought he was dead, but he appeared before his people again…and he spoke to them. Then, finally, he rose into the sky."
17. "This is where the soul goes when you die here. This is where we’re going when they kill us." Stroking a picture that depicts heaven, Yamba concludes, "It doesn’t look so bad."
B. The resurrection of Jesus, even an elementary understanding of it, has brought comfort, strength, hope and joy to all that have believed for thousands of years.
1. Today I want us to spend a few moments looking at what Paul told the Corinthians about the resurrection.
2. As we do so I pray that the resurrection of Jesus will inspire us, giving us hope and peace.
3. Paul makes three primary points in verses 1-28.
I. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
A. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the heart of the Gospel, the good news that Paul proclaimed.
1. Sometimes people debate about what the gospel of Jesus really is.
2. But here in verses 3 and 4, Paul makes it clear what the Gospel is, “3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”
3. The gospel is Jesus Christ: crucified, buried and risen just as the Scriptures reveal.
4. Jesus rising from the dead is the climax of the Gospel, and also the most difficult part for people to accept.
5. Dead people tend to stay dead, both in the 1st Century and here in the 21st Century.
6. That’s why Paul gives such an impressive list of eyewitnesses who could testify that they had seen the risen Lord.
7. And suspecting that there would have been some skeptics, who might say, “Yeah, right, Paul,” he noted that most of these eyewitnesses are still living at the time of his writing which was about 25 years after the resurrection.
8. So, Paul was saying, “if anyone has any questions, go and talk to these people who saw the risen Christ with their own eyes.
B. Paul goes on to say in verse 8, “and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”