In this chapter Paul addressed the most important aspect of the Christian faith. Jesus was raised from the dead. All other major religions have a founder who is dead. But the tomb of Jesus is empty. The unthinkable happened. Jesus’ tomb only held its occupant for three days.
The reason that this is important is that with His resurrection, Jesus proved that He has the power over sin and death. After all, what is more difficult? To come back from the dead, or to forgive sins?
Paul said, “…if Christ has never been raised, then the message we tell is worth nothing. And your faith is worth nothing.” And again, “…if Christ has not been raised from death, then your faith is for nothing; you are still guilty of your sins.”
And quoting Paul once more, “But Christ really has been raised from death—the first one of all those who will be raised.”
Some say, “Oh come on! A dead man coming back to life? Gimme a break. He didn’t die on the cross. He only passed out.”
Well, at first blush, that sounds like a possible explanation. But then, consider this. The Romans, who were the executioners, were very, very good at this method of killing. Jesus was not the first person to be crucified. This was their preferred method of execution. They crucified thousands. It was a very effective way to display their might and cruelty to those they wanted to keep in subjection to them.
So to think that they couldn’t tell the difference between a dead man and one who had merely passed out is ludicrous. Especially given the fact that Jesus had been beaten to within an inch of his life before being hung on the cross. The blood loss from the scourging he received was significant.
And don’t forget the spear that pierced his side. In order to be sure that he was dead, a Roman soldier stabbed him in the side. What came out was water and blood, an indication that the membrane around Jesus’ heart had become filled with fluid as a result of hypovolemic shock caused by the scourging. His body had lost so much blood that the heart had to work overtime to try to pump the blood that wasn’t there. The fluid also gathers around the lungs during hypovolemic shock.
So when the Roman soldier stabbed Jesus with the spear, he probably pierced a lung and the heart.
Yes, Jesus did die on the cross. And he rose on the third day. Over 500 people saw him alive, and when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, he said in essence, “Go ahead and ask them! Most of them are still alive.”
Yes. Jesus is alive. And because He lives, we who call him Lord will also live. We possess eternal life. Our bodies will die, but not our spirits. We will live with Him forever. Hallelujah. Death has no victory, the grave has no sting. Amen.