Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:
Paul reminds the Corinthians about the gospel: Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and then raised on the third day. He appeared to Peter, the Twelve, 500 brothers, James, the apostles, and to Paul. By the grace of God Paul was saved.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:
3a) Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and then raised on the third day. He appeared to Peter, the Twelve, 500 brothers, James, the apostles, and to Paul.
b) If Jesus doesn’t rise from the dead, then we won’t rise from the dead at Christ’s Second Coming. The Resurrection is the subject of every sermon we find in the Book of Acts. (Paul actually answers this very question in the next section (1 Corinthians 15:12-19), so unsure why we are answering it here). If Christ did not rise, then Christianity is a false belief. Our preaching is useless and so is our faith. Worse, we are found to be false witnesses about God. We would still be in our sins and lost forever.
4) This, in part, speaks to the redeeming work of Christ in our lives.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Many ways. You can point to historical records of the time. The truths in the Bible. How history supports Christ’s resurrection.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Last go around in 2012, we did 1 Corinthians 15-16 in one day.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
The word gospel means “good news.” As the word was used in ancient times, it didn’t have to describe the message of salvation in Jesus Christ; it could describe any good news. But the best news ever is that we can be saved from the punishment we deserve from God because of what Jesus did for us.
The Corinthian Christians first received the gospel. The message of the gospel must first be believed and embraced.
You have to receive, stand, and hold fast to the Gospel: past, present, and future. You never stop working for God.
Paul did not make up this gospel. He received it (and not from man, but from Jesus Christ, according to Galatians 1:11-12), and Paul delivered it
At the core of the gospel are things that happened – actual, real, historical events. The gospel isn’t a matter of religious opinions, platitudes, or fairy tales; it is about real historical events.
The victim’s back was first torn open by scourging. As he hung on the cross, with each breath, the painful wounds on the back scraped against the rough wood of the upright beam.
When the nail was driven through the wrists, it severed the large median nerve. This produced excruciating bolts of pain in both arms, and resulted in a claw-like grip in the victim’s hands.
Beyond the excruciating pain, the major effect of crucifixion was inhibiting normal breathing. The weight of the body pulled down on the arms and shoulders and hindered exhalation. The lack of adequate respiration resulted in severe muscle cramps, which hindered breathing even further. To get a good breath, one had to push against the feet, and flex the elbows, pulling from the shoulders. Putting the weight of the body on the feet produced searing pain, and flexing the elbows twisted the hands hanging on the nails. Lifting the body for a breath also painfully scraped the back against the rough wooden post.
“Not uncommonly, insects would light upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites. Moreover, it was customary to leave the corpse on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals.” (Edwards)
Death was from acute shock from blood loss, being too exhausted to breathe any longer; dehydration, stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture. If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe.
We get our English word excruciating from the Roman word “out of the cross.”
Why Does the Death of Jesus Matter?
God the Father laid upon God the Son all the guilt and wrath our sin deserved, and Jesus bore it in Himself perfectly, totally satisfying the wrath of God in our place.
As horrible as the physical suffering of Jesus was, this spiritual suffering – the act of being judged for sin in our place – was what Jesus really dreaded about the cross. This was the cup – the cup of God’s righteous wrath – that He trembled at drinking (Luke 22:39-46, Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15). On the cross Jesus became, as it were, an enemy of God, who was judged and forced to drink the cup of the Father’s fury so we would not have to drink that cup.
Isaiah 53:3-5 puts it powerfully: He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
The burial of Jesus is positive proof that He really died, because you don’t bury someone unless they are really dead, and Jesus’ death was confirmed at the cross before He was taken down to be buried (John 19:31-37).
Jesus’ burial is also important because it fulfilled the Scriptures which declared, And they made His grave with the wicked; but with the rich at His death (Isaiah 53:9). Jesus was buried in the tomb of a rich man (Matthew 27:57-60).
The gospel is that Jesus took our punishment for sin on the cross, and remained a perfect Savior through the whole ordeal – proved by His resurrection. Jesus conquered sin, which is what the resurrection represents.
Eye-Witnesses To Jesus’ Resurrection
Though no one saw the actual resurrection of Jesus, many people saw the resurrected Jesus. Paul now calls forth these witnesses to the resurrection, to establish beyond all controversy that Jesus was raised from the dead in a resurrection body.
Five hundred brethren isn’t detailed in the gospels, but is suggested by Matthew 28:10 and 28:16-17. During the time after His resurrection, but before His Ascension, Jesus met with His followers on many different occasions.
James, the brother of Jesus, who is seen as a prominent leader in the church in Acts 15. Significantly, in the gospels, Jesus’ brothers are hostile to Him and His mission (John 7:3-5). Yet in the first chapter of Acts, Jesus’ brothers are among the followers of Jesus (Acts 1:14). What happened to change them? Certainly, this meeting of the resurrected Jesus with His brother James had some influence.
John 20:26-31, John 21:1-25, Matthew 28:16-20, and Luke 24:44-49. mentions many meetings that are not described in the gospels. These meetings were important in proving to the disciples that Jesus was who He said He was. At these meetings He ate with them, comforted them, commanded them to preach the gospel, and told them to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit after His ascension.
The changed character of the apostles, and their willingness to die for the testimony of the resurrection, eliminate fraud as an explanation of the empty tomb.
Why didn’t Paul mention the appearances of Jesus to the women at the tomb as evidence of Jesus’ resurrection? Probably because in that day a woman’s testimony was not received in law courts. It was true, and it was good evidence for the apostles at that time, but the world of that day would reject that testimony, because it came from women.
Paul regarded himself as the least of the apostles because he persecuted the church of God. Paul always remembered how he had sinned against Jesus’ church. He knew that he was forgiven; yet he remembered his sin.
Paul felt – rightly so – that his sins were worse because he was responsible for the death, imprisonment, and suffering of Christians, whom he persecuted before his life was changed by Jesus (Acts 8:3, Acts 9:1-2, Galatians 1:13, Philippians 3:6, and 1 Timothy 1:15).
Saving and Changing Grace
The grace that saves us also changes us. Grace changed Paul. You can’t receive the grace of God without being changed by it. The changes don’t come all at once, and the changes are not complete until we pass to the next life, but we are indeed changed.
We work in a partnership with God, not because He needs us, but because He wants us to share in His work. Paul understood this principle well, writing, “for we are God’s fellow workers” in 1 Corinthians 3:9.
Is God supposed to do it or am I supposed to do it? The answer is, “Yes!” God does it, and we do it. Trust God, rely on Him, and then get to work and work as hard as you can! That is how we see the work of God accomplished.