By Dr. T. Brown,
From time to time we need to be reminded of several truths regarding the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As an example of this, in 1 Cor. 15:3-8 the Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians of truths he had first delivered to them when he had stayed in Corinth for eighteen months and founded the church there. Paul’s words to the Corinthian Christians are still important to us regarding the death and resurrection of Christ this Easter season. Let me discuss these truths for a moment with you.
First, Paul reminds the Corinthians of the truth that Christ died. In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died” (1 Cor. 15:3). When we read the Gospel accounts, we can easily see the great pain that was experienced by the followers of Jesus because of His death; some left Jerusalem (Lk. 24:13) while others remained but went into hiding (Jn. 20:19). The fact that these reactions to the death of Christ do not present the followers of Jesus in the most favorable light is further evidence of their truthfulness. It is a fact of history that Christ died, and the death of Christ is a sine qua non condition for the resurrection of Christ; there can be no resurrection without there being first death.
Second, Paul reminds the Corinthians of the truth that Christ was buried. In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “He [Jesus Christ] was buried” (1 Cor. 15:4). It is the case that burial is reserved almost exclusively for the dead, and thus the truth that Christ was buried tends to further authenticate the truth of His death. Further, preparations for burial were made to the body of Jesus by either his disciples or by those who were well acquainted with Him (Jn. 19:38-42). We read elsewhere that not only was Christ buried, but also that once He was laid in His tomb, it was made as secure as was known how by the Pharisees and the chief priests (Mt. 27:65).
Third, and finally, Paul reminds the Corinthians of the truth that Christ, following His death and burial, was raised. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul writes,
“[Christ] rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time”
(1 Cor. 15:4-8). After Paul reminds the Corinthians of the truth that Christ was raised, he proceeds to identify the six eyewitnesses as evidence that makes the truth of the resurrection undeniable.
resurrected Christ on the Damascus road, he was changed. Evidence of this change is the testimony of the early Christians that “he who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy” (Gal. 1:23). Paul’s being an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ is very important because of Paul’s changed life that resulted from seeing the resurrected Christ.
All of these truths concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, were received by Paul prior to when he wrote 1 Corinthians and were then delivered by him to the Corinthians when he was on his second missionary journey. Here in 1 Corinthians Paul is not delivering these truths to the Corinthians for the first time, but reminding the Corinthians of what he had already delivered to them. Paul’s reminder to the Corinthian Christians is also a reminder to us today that this Easter season we can be confident of the truths concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and we can joyously celebrate the resurrection of Christ who has been “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4).
Subscribe to follow this blog and receive email notifications of new posts.