It appears to me that there is a great amount of interest, but not a lot of understanding about the resurrection of the dead.
The resurrection is THE most important and fundamental teaching in Christianity. It is because of the resurrection that Christianity even exists, as I have pointed out in other articles. If there was no resurrection, then there is no Christianity and your faith would be pointless.
Fortunately though, through our faith in the working of God we believe that the resurrection is real, that Jesus Christ was resurrected and is alive, and that we who have believed in Him will also be raised from the dead or transformed at His coming.
This section of scripture today provides other valuable and useful insights into the resurrection.
This section of scripture has three distinct but complimentary teachings. All of them are to do with baptism of the dead, and they each talk of the attitude we must hold as we hold the faith in Jesus Christ.
The three specific aspects that we look at in this verse today are:
Baptism on behalf of the dead
Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die
Bad company ruins good morals
But the key to understanding these lies in the what they mean with regard to the faith and the truth of the new covenant, especially as it relates to the impact of baptism.
Resurrection, as I have been making the case in my last few posts, is the core, critical teaching of Christianity for without it, there is no Christianity.
The hope of salvation that we teach and believe in is that we will be resurrected to life in Christ Jesus through the grace of God and the faith that we have in His working. It is not about anything we do but what we believe.
And in this short section of scripture we see the power of the resurrection. And it is incredibly powerful because it is the means by which we receive life with Christ.
There are many, many things we have to learn in relation to walking in Christ, and there are often many different opinions about what we believe.
But Christianity, when it is all boiled down, has only a very few critical teachings by which we receive the gift of God’s salvation. The few fundamental foundations of Christianity include things like repentance, faith, baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit, eternal judgment and as Paul tells us here, the one foundation of primary importance is the resurrection.
The foremost and most important aspect of the resurrection is of course the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after He was sacrificed on our behalf. It is in His resurrection that we now have the chance to find salvation and this is the point that Paul emphasises in this chapter.
If ever there were just a few verses that summed up the essence of the new covenant and how both it works and what we are to believe and accept in Jesus Christ, these are those few verses.
The new covenant is deliberately simple to grasp and take hold of. It had to be that way so that all of mankind could have access to it and receive the gifts of God. It does not require great wisdom or great knowledge to receive the truth of the new covenant, or at least the essence of the truth that begins a walk with Christ Jesus.
All it needs is faith. But not blind faith. This faith is quite specific and quite a deliberate belief in a set of things that The Lord has established in the new covenant, and we see the essence of what we must believe in these few lines of scripture.
Paul makes a fascinating exclamation at the end of this section of scripture as he addresses Agrippa the king. He says,
Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
Of all the many doctrines and teachings of Christianity, resurrection is the single most important and the one that causes the greatest controversy. It is important because if there was no resurrection there is no Christianity for we Christians worship and praise the RISEN Christ.
And it is controversial because the world cannot accept that it is possible for a man to be resurrected. They consider this question from a scientific perspective and completely disdain the very idea of resurrection as science has not been able to duplicate this event despite years and years of research.
Jesus died at Calvary. We all know that. We also know that He was resurrected from the dead three days after He had been put to death because Jesus could not be held by death.
But why? What was the reason why He could not be held by death? And also is there a way that we can likewise find the way so that we too cannot be held by death, just like Jesus?
Well the answer to the last question is…Yes. We can find the way to be freed from the bondage to death that afflicts all of mankind. It’s funny when you consider the billions of dollars going into medical and scientific research to try and find ways to extend people’s lives, and yet the solution has already been given to us for free.
After Jesus had risen from the dead He appeared to the disciples many times. In these scriptures we see Him appear to His closest disciples, the eleven (bearing in mind that Judas had gone).
This particular appearance is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it was where He proved to the disciples that it was actually Jesus who was there and that He was there in the flesh. He showed them the nail holes in his hands and the place where His side was speared.
It was important that the disciples knew Jesus had truly arisen. After all, they were called to go out to the world and to preach the resurrection of the dead, so they had to know it was truth and that it was real. But there were four other things that The Lord showed the disciples in this appearance.
The resurrection of Jesus is the key principle that underlies Christianity. It is the one thing that sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world.
As has been said many times, in every other religion you can visit the tombs of the founders of the religion, but there is no tomb to visit Christ because He is risen. The basis of Christianity is that we are offered life and freedom through the resurrection of The Lord.
So central is resurrection to Christianity that if there were no resurrection there would be no Christianity. Without the resurrection of The Lord there is no religion for it is through the resurrection of Jesus that we hold our faith and receive the promises of life and freedom in Jesus Christ.
There are some very interesting things that we can see in the events of the resurrection as they unfolded in these scriptures.
This post continues the discussion of Jesus washing the disciples feet. In his conversation with Peter, Jesus said, “You are clean.” He went on though to show they were not all clean for He knew Judas was unclean and was to betray Him.
Now it is evident that by these words when Jesus said, “You are clean,” He was not talking about them being free from the dirt and grit of day to day living. He was clearly talking about them being clean in a spiritual sense. So let us look at some of the aspects of this spiritual cleansing.