Sunday, 8 March 2015
And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 1 Corinthians 15:14
In the next few verses, Paul will state explicit consequences for us if Christ didn’t actually rise. If He did, there is one result, but if not there is another. His coming words are to be taken soberly. And they must also make us question the sanity of those who sit in churches and yet deny that Jesus did, in fact, rise.
What he will say then is a reductio ad absurdum, or an “argument to absurdity.” “If Christ is not risen” begins the thought. “What if this is the case?” “What would be the result of such a truth?” “Where would that leave the apostles?” “Where would that leave you?” The answers will flow from his pen with almost a sense of mourning at the state of despair which would then result. “If Christ is not risen, then…” The word “then” is intended as a forceful statement of irony which conveys the idea of “such it would be” or “after all.”
If so, “then our preaching is empty.” All of the effort of the apostles, any hope or comfort they have imparted, any trials they have faced in spreading the word about Jesus, and so much more… all of it is vanity and without any substance. If the words of the apostles could be seen as they came forth from their mouths, those same words would melt in the air as they were uttered, disappearing back into nothingness. This is the result of Christ not having risen. The words would have no value whatsoever.
But more than just the apostles’ words, the believers’ “faith is also empty.” It would mean that the entire story presented was pointless. Who cares at all if a person named “Jesus” lived in the land of Israel and went around doing good stuff? Who cares if such a person healed others, told interesting stories, and claimed to be the Son of God? And so what if this person was nailed to a cross? If there is no resurrection, then all that was accomplished is just another story of man, like any other story of a man who has existed.
There is no hope in man. Every great leader who ever lived eventually died, and with him went everything that he was – right back to the dust. If Christ did not rise again, then the dust would have reclaimed him as well. Think it through! Why would anyone go to church, even once, if the resurrection isn’t true?
Life application: Jesus Christ did rise and our hope is not in vain. We look to a blood stained cross, but an empty grave. Because of Jesus, it is literally impossible that His followers could remain in the grave. It is more certain that we will be resurrected than it is that the law of gravity would suddenly cease to exist.
Where is your hope, my dear friend when your life will come to its end? Will the money you possess keep you from the grave? Will life’s good deeds, your only soul save? All is vanity and fading away, unless your hope is grounded in truth. And so to you I will proclaim today, of Christ’s resurrection there is the surest proof. In Him eternal life is a guarantee; and because of Him, God’s radiance you can see. Trust Him and follow Him with all of your heart, and at that moment will your eternal life start. Thank You, O God, for such a hope – perfect and sure. Thank You, O God, for my hope in Christ – perfect and pure. Hallelujah and Amen.