What if…Jesus Christ had not resurrected on the third day? O my! That’s a major problem for everyone, Christians in particular. But Paul addressed the issue with the Corinthians. There were folks saying there’s no resurrection. Paul warned the Corinthians not to allow themselves to be poisoned by “anti-resurrection loose talk.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 MSG) And then he quotes the Greek dramatist Menander (342-c.290 BC) – “Bad company corrupts good morals.” That statement is actually from Menander’s play, Thais. Thais was a real life character, a well-known and powerful courtesan who eventually married Ptolemy I; though she was also rumoured to have been a lover of Alexander the Great. Here are the original lines from the play – “Sing to me, goddess, sing of such an one as she: audacious, beautiful, and plausible withal; she does you wrongs; she locks her door; keeps asking you for gifts; she loveth none, but ever makes pretense. Communion with the bad corrupts good character.” This is one of several references from plays, songs and poems from ancient Greece in Paul’s writings. Paul was very well read. And it informed the quality of his writings. A Christian must be well read and well versed, and not just in the Bible. Our calling is the Order of Melchizedek. It’s a sacred-secular calling – a priest-king equation. When it comes to faith it’s good to have an educated mind. But we seem to be getting ahead of ourselves, let’s backup a little.
You see, the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is so devastatingly simple it’s lyrically powerful. It is founded on five bullet points: 1). Christ died for our sins. 2). Christ was buried. 3). Christ was raised from the dead on the third day, just as Scriptures said. 4). Christ was seen after resurrection by credible witnesses numbering over five hundred. 5). Christ is alive! (1 Corinthians 15:3-7) That’s Christianity in a nutshell. The resurrection of Christ is the core of the Christian message. Without resurrection of Christ Christianity would be meaningless, which is why Satan is so desperate to expunge both the bodily crucifixion and resurrection of Christ from human history; he seeks to create doubt about it. Remember the Pharisees were the first resurrection deniers? They bribed the soldiers guarding the tomb of Jesus to lie that his disciples came and stole his body in the night while they slept. (Matthew 28:13) But the biggest attack against the resurrection of Jesus is a heresy called Gnosticism. This was as far as the 1st century. It’s still being propagated in one form or the other till this day.
The word Gnosticism is derived from a Koine Greek word meaning “secret knowledge,” or knowledge of transcendence arrived at by intuitive means. Gnostics believe that matter, be it the physical universe or the human body is evil; that there is a tension between spirit and matter. They believe God did not create the material universe, that it was created by an evil or lesser God, sometimes referred to as “demiurge.” That God is too perfect and too pure to have anything to do with the evilness of the material universe. They believe humans are “sparks”, “droplets” of the spiritual essence of God and that somehow we became trapped in our physical bodies from which we’re to escape. They believe that sin is caused by ignorance of our true nature. That “salvation is by knowledge – self-knowledge.” They reject the idea of Jesus as God becoming incarnate (God becoming a man), dying and rising bodily. As far as Gnostics are concerned such a belief will mean the entanglement of spirit with matter, which is a no no. And so you can see that Gnosticism is aimed at the very jugular of Christianity. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown promotes Gnostic ideas. The Masonic movement has underlying Gnostic component. National Geographic is also noted for promoting Gnostic tenets. It is because of the heretical assertions of Gnosticism that Apostle John wrote concerning Jesus: “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1 NLT)
In other words, Jesus manifested physically in the flesh. If he did not manifest physically he couldn’t have died physically, and if he didn’t die physically he couldn’t have resurrected bodily. Gnostics believe the physical body of Jesus was not real, but only “seemed” to be physical. A variant of this is that the crucifixion of Christ was not real but only seemed so. But the Bible says in Hebrews 2:14-15 (MSG): “Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Saviour took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.” Now you see why Satan doesn’t want people to believe Jesus died bodily and resurrected. He’s concerned about his PR. He has a myth bubble Jesus punctured through death. By dying, Jesus destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed us from fear of death. We don’t need to fear death again. There’s resurrection. Paul says that was why he kept risking his life preaching the gospel. (1 Corinthians 15:30-33)
The image of the apostles will also be dented if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Paul wrote: “If there’s no resurrection there’s no living Christ. And face it – if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ – sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15)
As for the rest of us, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless (mere delusion); you’re still in your sins and under the control and penalty of sin…It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.” (1 Corinthians 15: 16-20 AMP, MSG)
The fact of a resurrected living Christ means we have a high priest in heaven: “So now we have a high priest who perfectly fits our needs: completely holy, uncompromised by sin, with authority extending as high as God’s presence in heaven itself.” (Hebrews 7:26)
But there were many high priests, even up to the time of Jesus on earth. So what makes Jesus unique? “Earlier there were a lot of priests, for they died and had to be replaced. But Jesus’ priesthood is permanent. He’s there from now to eternity TO SAVE EVERYONE WHO COMES TO GOD THROUGH HIM, always on the job to speak for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25) In other words, the continuous salvation of humanity is dependent on the fact of resurrection of Christ. Which is why Paul asserted, “And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever.” (1 Corinthians 15:17 MSG) There will be no salvation without the resurrection of Christ. It’s that simple. We’ll still be guilty of our sins. Christ is “the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man (Adam I), now resurrection from the dead has begun through another man (Jesus).” (1 Corinthians 15:21) The high priesthood of Jesus has great consequences. The Bible says because Jesus is our high priest in heaven we can “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)
Paul tells us life would have no meaning without resurrection – If there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32, Isaiah 22:13) Isaiah 56:11-12 indicates those who live such a life of debauchery lack understanding. Paul’s life was regulated by the fact of resurrection: “It’s resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection that undergirds everything that I do and say, the way I live.” (1 Corinthians 15:31 MSG) Our lives ought to be regulated by the fact of resurrection too. We’ll be bolder to proclaim the gospel. Paul says it’s what accounts for his unusual boldness in confronting “the beasts in Ephesus.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
And now comes the sweetest part. Paul tells us the historicity of Jesus is rooted in his descent from King David. But that “his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master.” (Romans 1:2-4 MSG) He further states: “Through him (Jesus) we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others” who receive it by simple faith. (Romans 1:5 MSG)
If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, please pray this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.
© #Illuminare Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org
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