One of the greatest chapters in the Bible is I Corinthians 15, which presents the facts, features and force of the resurrection of Jesus – He came back to life after His crucifixion to confirm that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. Consider the three themes of this part of the Bible:
First, the resurrection of Jesus was verified (I Cor. 15:1-9). Paul insists we acknowledge the facts of the gospel, especially with regard to the resurrection of Jesus. He cites the prophecies of Scripture and other critical pieces of evidence.
We are not left to wonder whether Jesus actually arose from the grave. Consider:
(1) His death was brutal and public (John 19:1-18). No one survived that type of punishment;
(2) His burial site was easily identified and well-guarded (Matt. 27:57-66);
(3) His tomb was empty and His burial garments were left neatly folded where His body had rested (John 20:4-8);
(4) He appeared to numerous witnesses who knew Him well and to others who may not have met Him previously (Luke 24:13-52);
(5) His disciples were martyrs who would not renounce His deity or resurrection (Acts 12:1-2);
(6) His enemies were unable to disprove His resurrection so their focus was on silencing His followers (see, e.g., Acts 3:10 and 3:15-18); and
(7) Devout Jews, like Paul, who persecuted Christians changed their religion to follow Jesus (Acts 9:19-22). These changes included a new day for worshiping God: The first day of the week, the day on which Jesus rose again (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2).
The circumstantial evidence of the resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming.
Second, the resurrection of Jesus was vital (I Cor. 15:12-19). It would have been terrible for Jesus to have suffered the emotional, psychological, social and physical trauma He endured during His final 24 hours, only to have His story end that way. Bible critics assert the Book of Mark was supposed to end at Mark 16:8, but that would have ended in fear and despair. Jesus had to die, but it was also essential that He rise again. Paul pointed out that if Jesus did not rise again, we have no hope after death. The oppression experienced by Christians has no purpose if Jesus did not rise again (I Cor. 4:7-13; II Cor. 4:8-18). Paul explained they were “[a]lways bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (II Cor. 4:10). We can cope with the hardships of life because Jesus rose again for us.
Third, the resurrection of Jesus was victorious. When Jesus rose again from the grave, He declared victory over our greatest enemies. Paul pointed out how Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope for eternal life, and proclaimed “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:57). Jesus’ resurrection also gives us hope for today – we can begin a new life through his resurrection. We die to sin in faith and repentance, and rise again to a new life through baptism (read Rom. 6:1-10). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection…” (John 11:25).
If we believe in our hearts that Christ rose from the dead, we should commit our lives to trust and obey Him (Rom. 10:10).
More about this great event is in our video: A Dozen Reasons to Believe in Jesus’ Resurrection on YouTube.