Jesus’ resurrection is the central fact of Christianity. Believers’ resurrection is a corollary. Some in Corinth, however, seem to have taught that only Jesus rose and claimed that there is no resurrection otherwise. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul insists that if there is no believers’ resurrection, our faith is in vain.
Paul preached Christ’s death and resurrection as of first importance when he arrived in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 15:5-9 enumerates the appearances of the risen Lord and, in verse 11, Paul insists, “this is what we preach, and this is what you believed” (NIV).
But verse 12 goes on to ask, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection from the dead?”… Read the rest
Simply saying Thomas could mean millions of people, but everyone knows who Doubting Thomas is. Generations of preachers have heaped abuse on him. But maybe Doubting Thomas isn’t the best way to describe him. And it certainly shouldn’t make him seem in any way more doubtful than the other apostles.
Let’s take a closer look to gain a more accurate picture of the man.
Does the Bible contradict itself? Isaiah 43:18 says, “Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old” (HCSB). But plenty of other scriptures tell us to remember, including Isaiah 46:8-9, which says, “Remember this and be brave; take it to heart, you transgressors! Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is none other.”
Of course, carefully examining the verses in context show what God wants us to forget and remember—and why.
Familiar rituals surrounding Christmas and Easter help illustrate the problem. They can draw our attention to God’s work. Or they can substitute for thinking about it.… Read the rest
When Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple, they encountered a prophet named Simeon. We normally think of Simeon closer to Christmas. After all, that’s the season when we pay special attention to the birth of Jesus. But Simeon’s message makes sense to us only in the light of Easter.
By the Holy Spirit, Simeon knew that he held the long-awaited Messiah in his arms. He knew that this child would grow up to accomplish his mission in the face of fierce opposition. And he knew that Jesus’ ministry would inflict great sorrow on his mother. But Jesus would accomplish what God intended.… Read the rest
You haven’t died yet, but you sort of know what to expect. Other people have died. Animals have died. They leave behind a corpse. It draws flies. It rots.
Soon it looks and smells so offensive that it must be put out of sight. We have buried or burned corpses since prehistoric times.
Two millennia ago, a corpse was taken from a Roman cross. The dead man’s friends prepared his body for burial. They had no time to finish the job properly, but they expected he was like any other dead man. They would come back later to finish.
That man, Jesus, never in his life fulfilled anyone’s expectations.… Read the rest
Does it seem odd that Paul wrote “Remember Jesus, raised from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8) to a dedicated minister of the gospel?
Earlier he had testified that no one on his staff was equal to Timothy. Why should a man like that need a reminder? Remember Jesus? Timothy must have spent most of every day either teaching his church about Jesus or sharing Jesus with the unbelievers in his city.
If we step back a little, though, and consider the history of God’s own people, it doesn’t seem so strange.
What does it mean to be a Christian? It means much more than going to church and trying to be a good person. In fact, it means acknowledging that we can’t be a good person on our own. We need Jesus to help us.
The risen Lord can’t be a historical character that we read about, but a person whom we know as much or better than any other person. We can’t see him. We can’t touch him. We can’t hear the sound of his voice. How, then, do we know that we know him?