What if Jesus did not rise from the dead?
Lesson 57 from The HOPE Study Guide
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
– 1 Corinthians 15:14–19
OBSERVE & CONSIDER
In the Bible passage above, the Apostle Paul makes a very strong statement about the significance of the resurrection. Carefully dissecting this passage, Paul says that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, then at least six things are true:
- our proclamation of Jesus and the message of Jesus is in vain (v.14)
- our faith in Jesus and the message of Jesus is unfounded, and thus worthless (v.14,16)
- those who proclaim Jesus are liars and witnesses against God – basically blasphemers (v.15)
- we are still hopelessly in bondage to the power of sin (v.16)
- we are all doomed to die, and death will forever separate us from our loved ones (v.18)
- we are pitiful people if we hang our hopes on, and live our lives according to, a lie (v.19)
Bible scholars since the time of Paul have emphasized that what Jesus accomplished on the cross has meaning only if it was followed by His resurrection! In this lesson, and the next, we’ll consider the significance of the resurrection by looking at Paul’s argument in greater detail.
All of Paul’s preaching was based on who Jesus claimed to be, as it was revealed to him and the other apostles (Jesus’ inner circle of disciples).
Numerous times Jesus claimed that three days after His crucifixion, He would rise from the dead.1 If Jesus spoke falsely about this, then everything He said was suspect, and worse, He could not be God because God cannot lie. Continue reading