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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

“Ultimate Thanks”

I Cor. 15:12-19

There were apparently people in the church in Corinth that doubted the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Who did they think Christ was then?  He might have been for them, as he is for some people today, a prophet or special teacher.  In Corinth, as in the rest of Greece, the body was considered inferior to the soul.  This led to an indifference regarding the significance of bodily life.  This also led to immorality since what one did with one’s body was not considered to be of primary importance (I Cor. 6:12-20).  To the contrary Paul makes it abundantly clear that how one lives in the body testifies to the reality of Jesus Christ.  This affected issues from sex to food (I Cor. 8:1-13).

For all these reasons, among others, there were doubts about Christ’s physical resurrection.  The doubters could certainly have accepted the idea that Christ’s spirit was still present.  They believed the soul was immortal.  Talk about a raised body for them was no doubt an example of “foolishness” to the Greeks (I Cor. 1:22-23). This would apply to many people today. Indeed, there are professing Christians who would say they don’t believe in a “literal” resurrection from the dead.

Paul will have nothing to do with such an attitude.  For him Christian faith rises or falls with Christ’s resurrection.  Without the resurrection the claim that Christ has defeated Death, hell and Satan is an empty assertion (Heb. 2:14-15).  As Paul insists, “If for this life only we had hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

We are still reeling from attacks by terrorists and gunmen with automatic weapons.  This world is rightly called “a vale of tears.”  This life offers us no final hope.  Our hope in the Lord is hope in the resurrection.  Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of our own resurrection.  The resurrection remains an inconvenient fact for skeptics.  The tomb was, and remains, empty.   This is our assurance.  Christ is indeed risen from the grave.

Merciful and gracious God I thank you that Christ is truly risen from the dead.  Inspire and encourage me with this hope as I face a world of conflict, pain and suffering.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.