Perjantai 21.9.2018
Herra, neuvo minulle tiesi, että noudattaisin sinun totuuttasi. Ps. 86:11

We will all be awakened

in English 2.4.2014 00:00 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
Corinth was a busy city where life was worldly. The Lord appeared to Paul in a dream and exhorted him to preach the word of God boldly in Corinth.
The epistle text for Easter Day (1 Cor. 15:12–22) may at first glance bring two questions to mind. First of all, it may seem that it does not evoke a festive Easter feeling. Secondly, it may appear that Paul provides weak justification of the resurrection.
Upon reading the text more carefully, one can see that Paul approaches the issue wisely. Supported by the evidence presented prior to this portion of text, he not only confirms that the resurrection happened, he also indicates its great significance in Christian history of salvation. In it God extends his helping arms toward us people.

The Lord exhorted Paul to preach

On his second mission trip Paul had lingered longer in Corinth (ca. 50–53 AD) than in other places. Corinth was a busy port city and trade center where life was worldly. There the Lord appeared to Paul in a dream and exhorted him to remain in the city and to preach the word of God boldly.

Paul lingered in Corinth a year and a half (Acts 18:2–3, 9–11). A congregation was born there which had to battle against many difficulties. In his letters to the Corinthians Paul pointed out, among other things, that the congregation had grouped behind certain preachers of the word. At times the tone of Paul’s letters is stern, while at other times it is gentle (e.g., 1 Cor. 13). The letters also contain doctrinal explanations of the word of God.

Joyous message of the gospel

Paul emphasizes the most important matter to the Corinthians: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ – – that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1–5).

In the 15th chapter of his letter Paul reminds the Corinthians of the gospel which he had preached to them: “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved.”
Paul writes about Christ, who died because of our sins, was buried, and whom God awakened on the third day—as had been foretold in the Bible. Christ’s resurrection was not evidenced by the empty grave, but rather by the fact that the living Jesus appeared to Peter and the rest of the apostles, and even to a group of five hundred men. Paul also had his own experience of meeting the risen one.

Apparently there was uncertainty regarding the resurrection in Corinth, since Paul wondered why some thought there is no resurrection of the dead. They were possibly influenced by the Sadducees, a Jewish sect which did not believe in resurrection. Possibly it was just these people’s own rationalization.
Hope remains
Jesus as the Son of God was victorious over the power of death. He also has the power to awaken the dead to life. This was experienced by Lazarus (John 11:1–44) and the son of the widow in Nain (Luke 7:11–17), among others.
For us death is a real event that touches us all. We are partakers of Adam’s heritage—death. The human mind would tell us that when a body in a coffin is lowered into a grave, there is no return. From the perspective of faith, though, the situation is not this hopeless.
Faith gives our life not only a temporal dimension, but also a spiritual one. Because of sin, a person may be spiritually dead even though he or she is living. Jesus referred to such people when he said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). This kind of sermon which awakened people from death was heard in Corinth. The same proclamation is heard in our midst, also, in the sermons of the kingdom of God.

Christ’s resurrection is an indication of the power of God. Without it we would have no unity with God. The risen Jesus appeared to his disciples, anointed them with the Holy Spirit, and gave them the authority to forgive sins.

Paul’s teaching is condensed in the last verses of the text: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Resurrection is not a matter of free choice for anyone. “For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28–29). By faith and the grace of God we are partakers of the resurrection of life.

Text: Mikko Uljas
Published: Siionin Lähetyslehti 3/2013
Translation: Keith Kosola

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