The Gospel Core
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Theme: The Resurrection
This week’s lessons provide us with evidences to support the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is important that Paul said, in his first point, that Christ died for our sins, because it is quite different from saying merely that Christ died. If he had said merely that Christ died, somebody could very well reply, “Well, so what? Everybody dies.” And that’s true. But he says, “He died for our sins.” We might die in a heroic fashion or as a martyr for some noble cause. And yet Christ died for our sins. That means in our place, not for his own sins but for ours, and, moreover, that he did that according to the Scriptures.
This is the great message of salvation that you find from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Malachi, namely that we, because of our deliberate choices and our sin, have brought the wrath of God upon ourselves and are under condemnation. We deserved to perish for our sin. But God, out of his great love for us, sent the Lord Jesus Christ, his own Son, the Holy One, to die not for his own sins – because he had none – but to die in our place. And if Jesus is not who he claimed to be and did not do that, then there is no hope for any of us, because if you look at your own heart, you know that you have no right to be blessed by God. You have been given gifts which you have misused. You have been created for a relationship with God, which you have violated. And if you look at your own heart and answer honestly, you know that what you deserve is God’s banishment and wrath now and in the life to come, but God did not let it go at that. God sent his Son, and, moreover, God began to prepare the way for the coming of his Son by explaining what Jesus was going to do. You find that throughout the Old Testament. And then he came, and he did it.
Paul says secondly that he was buried. You say, “What’s the importance of mentioning this?” Well, it’s important, in view of what he’s going to say next. He is going to talk about the Resurrection. So when he says that Jesus died and was buried, this is a way of saying that he was really dead.
People have tried to deny that, because when the Christians went out to proclaim the Resurrection, one of the obvious explanations of what had happened was that Jesus had not really died. There are other explanations as well. But people have said, “Well, he swooned on the cross, and people thought he was dead. And then, when he was placed in the tomb, and it was cool there, he revived. And when he emerged from the tomb, his disciples saw him and said he was raised from the dead.” And so it was a kind of explanation of these things. Paul says that no, he was really dead, he was buried, and he lay in that tomb for days. So when we talk about a resurrection, we’re not talking about an illusion. And we’re not even talking about a resurrection of the Spirit because, of course, the Spirit of Christ did not die in any sense.
In the third place Paul says that Jesus arose again from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. I think of the conversation the Lord himself had with those two Emmaus disciples who were on their way back home after the Resurrection. They had been there in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion. Because of the restrictions for travel on the Sabbath, they were still there, and were there on the morning of the Resurrection. Therefore, they heard reports that he had been raised from the dead because, as they said, certain of their women who went to the tomb came back saying that they had seen a vision of angels who had said that Jesus was risen. And yet this idea of a resurrection was so far from their minds that they did not even go out to the tomb to investigate. Instead, they started out for home.
Jesus appeared along the way and began to teach from the Scriptures. We’re told that beginning with Moses and the prophets, he told them from the Scriptures how it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and be raised again. He went through every portion of the Old Testament. He began with the Law. And he talked about the prophets. And he referred to the writings. And he said that all of those teach that it was necessary that Christ die and rise again from the dead on the third day. And that is what Paul is saying. He says, when you talk about the Gospel, the core Gospel, remember that the Gospel is this – Jesus died for our sins, he was buried, and he rose again.
What is the significance of Christ’s death?
Why does Paul mention that Jesus was buried?
What does Paul mean by the phrase “according to the Scriptures”?
Read the account of Christ’s resurrection and his encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24.