1 Corinthians 15:14-57
Paul of Tarsus became one of the biggest antagonists of the resurrection message. He persecuted those who believed Christ had risen from the dead, hunting them down and throwing them into prison. But after Paul came to believe it himself, he held on to the resurrection message with his dear life. He even gave his life to tell others about it.
Paul said things like, “…if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain… (1 Corinthians 15:14).” Paul knew the ressurection message amounted to something much more than good advice. The ressurection message changed his life forever. He knew when this message grabs your soul and settles down deep in you it resurrects your soul; it transforms you.
Paul also said, “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).” For those who believe, his death becomes the death of their sins. His resurrected life becomes their new life. His victory becomes their victory.
Paul also said, because Jesus rose from the grave, death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). When Christ rose from the dead, he put an end to death itself. When a Christian dies, he or she continues to live. The perishable inherits the imperishable. Our body might go into the ground, but our soul goes up to God.
Perhaps most importantly, the resurrection proves God’s everlasting love for you and me. Christ’s death was not an accident. As Matthew meticulously shows his Jewish audience in his gospel account, Jesus fulfills the prophecies about the Messiah (For one example, see Matthew 21:42). When Jesus rose from the dead, God was giving us irrefutable proof of his unrelenting, never giving up, always faithful love for humanity.
The 18th century English poet Anne Dutton said, “This Captain of salvation went into the field of battle to fight single-handed with all powers of darkness, to rescue all those which the Father gave him, to be brought to glory, out of the hands of all their enemies. He won the victory, took the spoil, trampled down the powers of darkness, led captivity captive, triumphing over them in it. He in his mighty love by the merit of his death and power of his resurrection brought away his ransomed ones, from out of their enemies’ hands, with amazing triumph! He had them all mystically in himself when he rose and carried them up to heaven with him, and there they sit in him!”
We all must stand before the empty tomb and decide. Is Jesus’ victory your victory?