JOHN 11: 25-26 I am resurrection and life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that?
Here is a solemn, powerful, and loving declaration made by Jesus on the death of his friend Lazarus. Never in history has another leader dared to make such a declaration, for they all knew that they were helpless before the goads of death.
The hope of resurrection, this hope of conquering death, is at the heart of Christianity. We are called every day to observe the cardinal principles of Christianity, but the most beautiful and powerful dimension of Christianity is the hope that it gives us that physical death is not the end, but through the resurrection we will enter the kingdom of God and experience the eternal life. The resurrection of Christ is therefore the pledge of our future resurrection. “Since we believe that Jesus is dead and resurrected, we can also believe that God will bring back to life, through Jesus, those who have died, 1 Thess 4:14″.
When Paul wrote this epistle, the community of Thessalonica had just been founded, and only a few years separated them from Christ’s passover. This is why the apostle sought to understand all the effects and consequences that this unique and decisive event had on History and the life of each one. The detractors of Christianity seek to devalue the resurrection of Christ, because the resurrection is the bullet that cracks the wall of all lies spoken by many religions in the world. To make matters worse, the resurrection of Christ is the proof of his divinity, and in this regard we find in the Bible, more precisely in the first lines of the letter to the Romans, a sufficiently convincing quote: “The gospel I announced was previously promised from God by his prophets in the holy scriptures; it concerns his Son born of the posterity of David, according to the flesh, declared Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord “(Rom 1: 2-4 ). Because of His divinity, Jesus declares “I am the resurrection and the life”.
In 1 Cor 15 Paul demonstrates the full relationship between the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers on the last day. The last one will not be able to happen if the first one did not happen. This is why he applied himself to an apologetic exposition of the resurrection. In this passage he directs our eyes on three points:
1- The first is a positive affirmation: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
Sometimes there is debate within the Christian community about the nature of the message to be announced. We are certainly called to talk about love, helping others, healing etc? but the central theme of our message is the death and resurrection of Christ. He makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians 15: 3,4
I taught you first of all, as I had also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…
Died, buried ,and Risen, according to the scriptures. This is the full gospel! From this event flow all kinds of good news.
The resurrection of Christ is the peak of the gospel and also the most difficult part for the world to admit. In Matt 28: 13-14 the priests say to the guards: “Say: His disciples came by night and stole Him while we were asleep. And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will appease him, and keep you out of trouble“.
The priests exhibit a clear tendency to hide the evidence of resurrection. According to them, the dead should stay in the grave.
So Paul gave an impressive list of eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection.
He mentioned Peter and the other apostles in verse 5 of 1 Cor 15, and then more than 500 brothers in verse 6. To erase any doubt in the minds of skeptics, he noted that while he was writing, about 20 years later, that some of these witnesses were still alive.
In Verse 7 he said that James also saw Him.
Verse 8 He went on to say: Not only did I speak to those who saw him, but I too saw him. Not in the same way that others saw him, but he also appeared to me as one untimely born. This apparition took place perhaps 2 or 3 years after the resurrection, when the Lord met Paul on the road to Damascus. It was a special meeting that allowed Paul to become apostle even though he was not among the twelve. This is why he attached to himself the label of “untimely born” .
2. The 2nd point explains a cause-and-effect relationship.
If there is no resurrection of the dead, neither is Christ risen again.
The certainty of the resurrection of Jesus for Paul made him astonished by the fact that some of the Corinthians thought the opposite. He saw an intimate relationship between the resurrection of Jesus-Christ and that of the believers in Christ. To deny one is to deny the other. To say that believers in Christ will not be resurrected is to imply that Christ is not resurrected; and if Christ is not resurrected, our faith is vain. This argument would make Christianity a religion like the others. No, the Founder of Christianity is resurrected as he said. He will return one day to take with Him those who belong to him.
And when he had said these things, wrote Luke in Acts 1:9-11, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
Paul says that “denying the resurrection of Jesus is to remove the heart of Christianity and make it a mere empty shell “.
3. The third point is a firm conviction that Christ is resurrected.
Between verses 12 to 19 of I Corinthians 15 Paul presented a rhetorical argument concerning the allegations of the opponents of Christianity. However, in verses 20-22 he put a gravestone on these questions, saying:
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”.
This is a beautiful promise for all who accept Jesus as the Lord of their lives. Today we are afflicted by all kinds of diseases and problems. We are struck by death; our dear ones are gone. But we have faith in He who says: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Paul concludes his argument by saying: the body is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible; it is sown despicable, it is raised Glorious; it is sown infirm, it is raised full of strength; it is sown natural, it is raised spiritual …
Dear friends, if you want to see Jesus face-to-face, accept the salvation He offers today, believe in His death and resurrection and know that He will return for those who believe in Him.