International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday April 5, 2015
Purpose: To become God’s resurrection people
Bible Lesson: Background: 1 Corinthians 15:1-22
1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 20-22 (CEB)
(1) Brothers and sisters, I want to call your attention to the good news that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand. (2) You are being saved through it if you hold on to the message I preached to you, unless somehow you believed it for nothing. (3) I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, (4) he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. (5) He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, (6) and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. (7)Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, (8) and last of all he appeared to me, as if I were born at the wrong time. (9) I’m the least important of the apostles. I don’t deserve to be called an apostle, because I harassed God’s church. (10) I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing. In fact, I have worked harder than all the others—that is, it wasn’t me but the grace of God that is with me. (11)So then, whether you heard the message from me or them, this is what we preach and this is what you have believed. . . . (20) But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. He’s the first crop of the harvest of those who have died. (21) Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came through one too. (22) In the same way that everyone dies in Adam, so also everyone will be given life in Christ.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
As you read and study this passage from Paul, there a couple of things to ponder. First in verse 2 Paul speaks to us and the Corinthians by saying, “you (we) are being saved.” This may cause some to question whether this is a one-time event, or a lifetime event. Secondly that salvation only applies if we continue to hold onto the message received from Paul.
The next part of this text is an attempt to prove the resurrection took place some 30 years prior to the writing of this letter to the Corinthian church. While Paul’s list of early sightings does not match that of the Gospel writers, it is a compelling argument. More importantly Paul gives us the reason for the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus the Christ, died for our sins, just as the prophets had said. Not only did he die, he was buried, then on the third day, just as foretold by the prophets, he arose from the dead. It is important that he was dead and buried, not in some coma like trance. At the time of this writing, there were many alive that had been witnesses of Jesus after his death and burial.
The Apostle’s Creed that is often read during worship services makes the point that Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, the third day he arose from the dead. Paul says that “He’s the first crop of the harvest of those that have died.”
Jesus did not live and die as a God, he lived and died as a man. The very first man Adam, was the cause of death. Like Adam most of us think we know better than God what we should do with our lives. That arrogance makes us all sinners, in the same way Adam sinned. Since death was caused by man, only man could conquer death for those that believed. Not only was death conquered by a man, but also man was resurrected by God to prove that death cannot hold those that believe that Jesus was the Christ, the beloved son of God.
I love how Paul closes his thought, if everyone dies because of Adam’s sin, then as believers we know that the grave is not the end, we have a new life to live with Jesus for all of eternity. Only Jesus could have come, and lived as a man, die as a man, be resurrected as a man. All to correct a wrong committed by Adam, whose disobedience caused our death sentence.
It is by the grace of God, that this plan was made available to all who choose to believe. But we need to be more than just temporary believers, we must persevere and hold onto the message of Paul. Christ died for our sins. Believing for nothing is not good enough.
Of all the hymns we sing on resurrection morning, my favorite is still “He Lives.”