Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter today. Seldom have there been two different expressions of the resurrection of Christ.
One took place in Ukraine, where worshipers observed the resurrection under a primitive, hastily built chapel. Their church had been totally destroyed by a missile.
In Moscow, Vladimir Putin attended Easter services, led by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
Moscow’s lavish Orthodox cathedral was the setting for a service where two of the most prominent supporters of the war in Ukraine worshiped today.
Mr. Putin and Patriarch Kirill reveal that people can go through the motions of worship and fail to understand the meaning of the resurrection.
Corinthian Christians were not responsible for a devastating war, but nevertheless, they failed to understand the resurrection.
It’s hard to believe that they worshiped Sunday after Sunday, holding on to the belief that there is no life after death.
Paul used several logical arguments to bring the Corinthians to their senses.
(1) If there is no resurrection, our faith is based on an empty truth.
— 1 Corinthians 15.12-14 – Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;
And if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.
Remove one of the three pillars of the gospel – the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ – and the whole structure tumbles to the ground.
(2) Resurrection life is crucial to the gospel and to hope.
— 1 Corinthians 15.15-19 – We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ — whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have died in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
If there is no resurrected life, then preachers of the resurrection are liars.
Beyond that, the belief that there is no resurrection snuffs out hope.
These are the facts.
What are the implications of resurrection life?
(1) As the first fruits of a harvest, the resurrection of Jesus is the promise of resurrection life for his followers.
— 1 Corinthians 15.20 – But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.
Jesus’ resurrection authenticated everything he said and did. We can strive to live a life like his because we know he lived a perfectly authentic life.
(2) The resurrection of Jesus foretells God’s ultimate victory.
— 1 Corinthians 15.24-26, 28 – Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death . . . so that God may be all in all.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead declares in advance the fact that God wins. Every enemy will be put under the feet of Jesus and God will reign supreme.
Autocrats may attend worship services, but their abuse of power will stand before the Judge of all the earth for an accounting.
The Pope recently publicly admonished the Russian Patriarch to get his theology from the Bible and not from politics.
People who are mistaken about the resurrection need to see the full implications of what resurrection life signifies.
We all need to think about the implications of life after death.
Resurrection life should motivate our behavior. We will be held accountable for our behavior beyond this life.
In a similar manner, resurrection life will motivate our love for Jesus who has given us the opportunity to live in God’s new heaven and new earth.
Rudy Ross and I tackle these verses in a YouTube video today. The video is on the Bob Spradling channel.
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