READ : 1 Corinthians 15
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile . . . (v. 17)
If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead, the incarnation is a papier-mâché crèche, the miracles’ stories are smoke and mirrors, and our best Holy Spirit doctrine is “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Without the resurrection you can junk the Apostles’ Creed, write off Christianity, and call our keenest hopes wishful thinking. If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead, our practices are foolish, our worship services are silly, and our best gospel songs screech like finger nails on a chalky blackboard. Everything hinges on the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Technically speaking, Paul’s argument is a
reductio ad absurdum. The point of the argument is to reduce the Corinthians’ argument against the resurrection to its logical absurdity. If there’s no resurrection, says Paul, then even Christ is not raised. And think what that would mean! He appears to grow impatient with the argument because he cuts it short to triumphantly exclaim, But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead . . . ! And because he has, you and I have every right to stand at the gravesides of those whom we have loved and lost—and someday be lowered into one ourselves—in the gospel confidence that death is the doorway to life!
He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!