What If…?

Tim Brown

READ : 1 Corinthians 15:1-4,12-20

If Christ has not been raised . . . (v. 17)

The apostolic reasoning in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 is an exercise in what could be called “counterfactual history.” It’s like imagining the consequences if a great battle or war had turned out the opposite way, and then drawing the implications. “What if . . . ?” This was a popular form of argument in the ancient world and Paul employs it here until he grows impatient with it and joyfully exclaims to our astonishing relief: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead!”

Without Jesus’ resurrection from the dead the incarnation is a paper mache crèche, the miracles are smoke and mirrors, and the Holy Spirit is “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead you can junk the creeds, forget the New Testament, and dismiss the Second Coming as a roll of the dice.

If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead our practices are foolish, our services a waste of time, and our best gospel songs nothing more meaningful than the silliness of an organ grinder.

If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead, “we are among all people most to be pitied.”

But remember, friends, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! It’s a fact!

PRAYER

Risen One, we rise up to call you blessed. Amen.