Series 32


by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: 1 Corinthians Chapter 15

One of the most wonderful chapters in the Bible is 1 Corinthians chapter 15. It is the great Resurrection chapter, and in the opening Paul plainly declares the gospel – look up verses 1-4. Here is the ‘good news’! The Lord Jesus “died for our sins…was buried, and…raised”. Deeply significant as was the Saviour’s death, had He not risen from the tomb His death would have meant very little to us. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus was unique. Others have died and God raised them to life again; but they have died again sooner or later – look up 2 Kings 4:32-35; 2 Kings 13:21; Matthew 9:25; Luke 7:12-15; John 11:43-44 and Acts 9:36-41. Jesus died, but he was raised on the third day in the power of an endless life – look up 1 Corinthians 15:4 and Revelation 1:18. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus was a literal, bodily resurrection. His body was hung upon the cross, and after He voluntarily “gave up his spirit”, they took His body down from the cross, and Joseph and Nicodemus laid that body in the garden tomb, a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39); a body that could be fed and handled (John 20:27 and Acts 10:41); and yet it was a body that obeyed other laws – look up John 20:14,15,19. It is foolish to speak of His spiritual resurrection: His spirit did not die, and therefore did not rise – compare Luke 24:36-43; John 19:33-34 and John 20:27.

Let us consider evidence that Jesus Christ really did rise again from the dead.


1. There is the word of the Lord Jesus Himself

Before He died, Jesus said that on the third day after His death He would rise again – look up Matthew 12:39-40; Matthew 16:21 and John 2:18-22; and after His resurrection He declared that He had risen from the dead – look up John 20:19-29 and Revelation 1:18. If, in fact, He did not rise, then He was a deceiver and a liar. To disbelieve the bodily resurrection of Christ is to reject His own testimony. On the other hand, if He is the Son of God (and we believe and know that He is!), we know that He rose again because we have His own word for it – look up 1 John 5:9-10.


2. There is the historic account in the four Gospels

In spite of the fact that every attempt has been made to discredit the accuracy of these records, no-one has ever succeeded! In the Gospels we have four independent accounts of the resurrection, written without collaboration on the part of the writers, and these four eye-witness accounts manifest a wonderful harmony. It is easy to agree that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is ‘the best attested fact of history’ when one reads the historical account of the resurrection in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. See (4) for some of the references.


3. There is the significance of the empty tomb

In the Gospels there is no indication that anyone questioned the fact that the tomb really was empty. How did it become empty?

  1. (1) The disciples removed the body? Why should they? How did they get past the soldiers? Were they all deceivers?
  2. (2) Joseph removed the body? Why – and where? Was he also a deceiver – look up Mark 15:43.
  3. (3) The Jews removed the body? Had they done so they would have been the first to say so.
  4. (4) The Roman soldiers removed the body? Why should they risk their lives by doing so?
  5. (5) He did not really die? He only lapsed into unconsciousness? This is another of the unreasonable and stupid explanations given by infidels, but the truth is – He rose again!


4. There is the evidence of those who saw Him, touched Him, ate with Him and spoke with Him

There were at least fourteen groups or persons who saw Him alive after His death. Look up and compare the following references:

  1. (1) John 20:14-18.
  2. (2) Matthew 28:8-10.
  3. (3) Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5.
  4. (4) Luke 24:13-31.
  5. (5) Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-24
  6. (6) John 20:24-29.
  7. (7) John 21:1-23.
  8. (8) 1 Corinthians 15:6.
  9. (9) 1 Corinthians 15:7.
  10. (10) Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:33-53; Acts 1:3-12.
  11. (11) Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8.
  12. (12) Acts 22:17-21; Acts 23:11.
  13. (13) Acts 7:55.
  14. (14) Revelation 1:18.

Some have tried to make out that the disciples did not really see the Lord Jesus and speak with Him – they only imagined they saw Him! What a foolish suggestion this is!


5. There is the bold and certain testimony of the Apostles

Before His death these men had not grasped the fact that He would rise again, and when He was arrested and later crucified they were timid, cowardly and full of fear (Matthew 26:56 and John 20:19); but after His resurrection they became bold and courageous (Acts 4:13); and the only message that they had to proclaim was that “this Jesus has God raised up…” – look up Acts 1:21-22; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:2 and 33; Acts 17:18; Acts 23:6; Romans 10:9 and Philippians 3:8-10. Rather than deny their risen Lord they were willing to be persecuted, imprisoned and even martyred – look up Acts 5:41; Acts 7:54-60 and Acts 12:2.


6. There is the existence of the Church and the Lord’s Day

These two permanent ‘institutions’ both testify to the reality of the resurrection. Look up Acts 2:47…it is still going on! See also Acts 20:7.


7. The whole scheme of Redemption necessitated the Resurrection

The mighty work that He accomplished when He died for us could only be accomplished in us if He rose again; only thus could the salvation He made possible become actual and experimental.

In concluding this study, meditate upon Romans 10:9 and Hebrews 7:25.