Summary: In his first letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul had to address their chaotic and ungodly practices. He confronted and corrected them as to how a true church should model itself on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, including a reminder about the resurrection and its importance.
As the days draw closer to the return of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Luke 21:28; Titus 2:13), the enemies of the LORD, both human and demonic, are doing their best to turn people away from the truth of the Scriptures and that there is no salvation for anyone except through Him (Isaiah, 64:6; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). More people are content to embrace the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil (2Thessalonians 2:11-13; 2 Timothy 4:3). The majority of humanity is content with themselves to be the objects of worship, offering sacrifices to the false gods of “tolerance,” “convenience,” “self-esteem,” “self-exaltation,” and more recently, “entitlement.”
This is nothing more than the foundation of satanism, the epitome of pride, arrogance and selfishness, with its reprobate motto: “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” (Exodus 20:3; Romans 1:28-32).
The remnant church and its dwindling number of authentic followers of Jesus are being bombarded constantly with not only what I have just described but also with rank unbelief and skepticism that grows nastier and more vindictive, putting us on the defensive in defending our faith (1 Peter 3:15) against attacks that are verbal but, in increasing cases, physical as well.
The need to keep our armor on and continue the good fight of faith is getting more wearisome, and it often appears to be a futile battle against a well-organized enemy who just won’t give up (Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8).
A major target in the battle for souls is the issue of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Skeptics, often armed with theology degrees and puffed up “knowledge” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25), continually attempt to discredit and destroy the idea that Jesus of Nazareth is God in the flesh and that He did rise from the dead as He taught and promised to not only His disciples but to all who would follow Him then and now.
The questions I have before we proceed further into this issue are, “If Jesus is not Who He claimed to be, and the Bible is errant in this claim, then why did any of you skeptics even bother to obtain degrees in Biblical Studies if you didn’t believe in any of it in the first place? Why did you waste both time and study on Him if He lied or deceived us? Would He even be the object of study, salvation, and scorn if His body were still in the grave? What’s your point in all of this? What do atheism and skepticism offer that is any better?”
When we read 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul deals with a similar list of objections and questions concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ and why it mattered to the church then and to believers throughout the course of civilization. The skeptics Paul faced were not the Greek sophists and philosophers of Athens (Acts 17:16-34) but in the troubled Corinthian church. Paul addressed this issue with both fact and assurance but also presented to them the dystopic alternative if Jesus was dead and corroding in a tomb somewhere in Israel.
In examining the history of Christianity, let us go back to the original source, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. What did He do and say that validated His claim to be God Incarnate and Someone in whom we could put our faith and trust?
When He told Martha at the tomb of Lazarus, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25), He proved so by calling to Lazarus, “come forth!” (11:43), bringing him back from the dead, doing so in public, and showing everyone that He was Who He claimed to be. He had raised other people from the dead in front of eyewitnesses, demonstrating His power and authority (Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 5:35-43; Luke 7:11-17, 8:49-56).
Scripture tells of other times when God brought people back from the dead (1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:35, 13:21; Matthew 27:52; Acts 9:40). However, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that became the doctrine of every apostle, the faith of every true follower, the source for the martyr’s courage, the theme of all true preaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5), and the power behind every evangelist who devotes themselves to the work of the LORD.
The eyewitness testimony of what Jesus said and did is not only confirmed by His apostles (John 20:28-31), but as we will see in this look at Paul’s defense of the resurrection, others will also confirm it both within and outside of Scripture.
If you are in the category of skepticism, as were some of the Corinthians and most of the world today, then I would ask that you be a part of this examination and conclusion of the most important and controversial event in history, an event that, if true, involves you and me in terms of how we live now and where we will stand in terms of eternity.