Raised on the Third Day (1 Corinthians 15: 1-8, 12-28) p. 1062-3
News … Napoleonic wars ended at Battle of Waterloo Message: “Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo” Resurrection critically important to Christians A Historical fact – without it our faith is “futile” (v 17) Not easy to believe. BUT an essential part of Christian faithfulness
1. Resurrection: Cultural Context Others were raised to life: Elijah – Widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17f) Elisha – Shunammite woman’s son (2 Ki 14:18f) Jesus – Lazarus (John 11) Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:41f) Peter – Tabitha/Dorcas (Acts 9:36f) Jesus’ resurrection was much more!
1. Resurrection: Cultural Context … Greco-Roman Belief Homer (800 BC): There was semi-life after death It was without physical substance, shadowy. People became dreamy – limited mental/emotional capacity It was tragic, miserable, undesirable –full of sorrow Because “Self” was embodied in the physical flesh. Around 500 BC “Mystery” Religions appear
1. Resurrection: Cultural Context … Picked up by Socrates and Plato (~ 400 BC): Unseen world better than seen (physical) world. Virtue (care of the soul) is important Expounded & promoted by Aristotle Prevailing beliefs in first century: Death inescapable: a purely spiritual/non-physical existence Ultimate goal was to escape the physical world. Return to physical body: Impossible and undesirable Paul is arguing against such ideas in 1 Cor. 15. Jesus was Physically raised from the dead!
1. Resurrection: Cultural Context … Jewish Belief: Overtly positive about physical world– creation. Had a vibrant resurrection hope YHWH would raise up the righteous (one day) A single resurrection absurd Death of Messiah was also absurd. He was establishing the Messianic Kingdom.
2. Resurrection: Disciples’ Testimony Jesus died and was buried Disciples were discouraged and demoralized Shortly tomb was empty; disciples saw him alive Started a movement based on this belief The disciples all suffered/died for this belief Without resurrection hard to account for these facts!
2. Resurrection: Disciples’ Testimony … Interesting features of the Gospel accounts: No attempt to link the story to Biblical tradition No interpretation of the significance or meaning Very physical and unremarkable picture of Jesus No signs of exultation or heavenly glory Women’s testimony no more valid than childrens’ No disciple ever returned to the tomb again.
2. Resurrection: Disciples’ Testimony … The change in the disciples None gained anything but persecution & death A Lie would be against Jesus’ moral teaching Appeal to eyewitnesses dangerous.
3. Implications of the Resurrection Death has been defeated Fellowship with God is restored Resurrection is our assured hope.