A Letter Addressing Problems in Corinth (Part 3)
NOVEMBER 11 Nº 315 1 Corinthians 15 – 16
Near the end of his letter, Paul reviewed the Gospel message that he had first presented to the Corinthian believers five years earlier. It was this: “Jesus Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures prophesied. He was buried, then he rose from the dead on the third day. This too was prophesied in the Scriptures. After that he appeared to many eyewitnesses—whose lives were radically changed when they realized that Jesus was alive.” Paul reminded the Corinthians that Jesus had first appeared to Peter and then to the rest of the disciples. He also appeared to more than 500 men and women at one time (most of whom were still alive). He then appeared to his own brother James, and then again to all the apostles. “Last of all he appeared to me,” Paul added. “But I am unworthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the people who believed. But God extended His grace even to me.” “But now, evidently some of you have begun to doubt that the resurrection really took place. How can you question this?” Paul asked in disbelief. “It is the very foundation of our faith! If Jesus did not rise from the dead, our preaching is useless and so is your faith!” he exclaimed. Paul used the Greek word “kenos” (sewer water) to describe how useless Christianity would be if the resurrection had not taken place. “If we are wrong about this, we should be the most pitied people on earth,” he added. “Not only would we be wrong—we would be liars and false witnesses against God, because we have testified that He raised Jesus from the dead.” “But the good news is this,” Paul informed them, “Jesus did rise from the dead. And because he did, we will too. One day he will return to rule over this world. He will do away with death completely. Suddenly, when the last trumpet sounds, the people who believe in him and have already died will be raised up with new, glorious bodies that will never decay. And those who are still alive will be transformed at the same time. This takes the sting out of death. It takes the victory away from the grave. The victory is ours! God has given it to us through Jesus Christ!” Paul concluded his letter by reminding the Corinthians that the Christians in Jerusalem were struggling financially due to a famine (see #298 - October 25). They needed help. He instructed the believers to set aside some money each week for them. The amount depended on how much income they received. Later, he would help them deliver it. Paul promised to visit Corinth soon, but since he couldn’t leave Ephesus right away due to his teaching position (see #312 - November 8), he planned to send Timothy. He asked the Corinthian believers to treat his young disciple well. When it was time for him to leave, they should send him in peace. He mentioned that Apollos would be visiting them soon as well. Finally, Paul told the Corinthians to be on their guard, to stand firm in the faith, to be courageous and strong, and to do everything out of love. He closed the letter by asking God to give them the grace of Jesus Christ. Then he signed it and sent it with his love.
Jesus’ resurrection changes everything! Not only does it change what will happen to us when we die, it should change the way we live our lives right now. How has it impacted your goals? Your conversations? Your enthusiasm to tell others about Jesus?