A FIRM FOUNDATION
Victorious One, by your Word and Spirit, enlighten my understanding of you, purify my desires, and strengthen every right purpose in me.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11
The Resurrection of Christ
15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son! / Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won!’1
These verses take us to the essentials of the Christian faith, namely Christ’s death for our sins (v 3) and his bodily resurrection from the dead (v 4). The reference to the risen Jesus appearing to over 500 believers ‘at the same time’ (v 6) has in and of itself convinced some doubters of the truth. It’s not hard to see why. Given that most of these people were still alive as Paul was dictating, they could have been appealed to as witnesses, able to confirm or deny the resurrection. The apostle was clearly unafraid to point this out, for he knows what their answer will be. Jesus is truly risen from the dead!
Paul reminds us of the firm foundations of our faith and urges us to take our stand on them (v 1). It’s interesting that he also talks about holding firmly to these truths (v 2). We imagine someone standing on a rock seeing a wave about to break over it. They would need to hold on tightly to avoid being pulled off. There are many challenges to gospel truth which swirl around us today, with some of these challenges even coming from within the church. We have to stand firm and there will be particular times when we have to hold on as well. The grace which strengthened Paul to maintain his clear testimony will strengthen us to do this too.
Christ’s passion constitutes the watershed moment of God’s dealings with humanity, the fulcrum upon which the whole history of the cosmos turns. The Old Testament scriptures have been fulfilled and the great events have now happened (vs 3,4). True, there is more to come, as the rest of this chapter will show us, but the resurrection of Jesus has changed everything. What better encouragement is there to stand firm?
Praise God for the empty cross and the empty tomb and resolve to take your stand there.
Lord Jesus, when I think of your resurrection I am filled with the joy of my salvation. I praise you for the gospel of good news.
1 Edmond Budry, 1854–1932; tr Richard B Hoyle, 1875–1939
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