The Fact of Christ’s Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:1-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Fact of Christ’s Resurrection
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
We hear a lot these days about various conspiracy theories. Some seem nearly impossible, others have varying degrees of viability. Depending on what we are talking about, the number of people conspiring could range from a handful of people, into the hundreds of people. My intention is neither to support nor deny any of these. Rather, I would show evidence, based on today’s text, and more, that as the heading of today’s text says, it is a fact not a theory; not a conspiracy of a small group of people, that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected.
First it says: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. There are over 300 Scriptures about the Messiah, which were spoken and recorded over the course of thousands of years, by a variety of unrelated prophets and authors, which were fulfilled by Jesus. So, all of these, without the ability to plan or communicate, would have to have been part of the conspiracy. Still, their writing of what was to come would be of no significance at all if it had not actually happened. Jesus did fulfill them all. Consider this: In his book, Science Speaks, mathematician Peter Stoner says that by applying the modern science of probability to just eight of these prophecies, “. . . We find that the chance that any man might have lived to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10^17.” That would be one in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates: “ . . . we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. Blindfold a man and tell him that he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing just eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote in their own wisdom.” Even if the writers of scripture had somehow conspired to predict that Christ would come, that He would be crucified and that He would be raised from the grave, they or no one else could have conspired to carry it out. You can choose to ignore Scripture and the stories of faith, but the very math and science the world loves and depends on, also supports the fact of Christ.
Then, the text also says: He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. With most conspiracy theories it is difficult to find two or three people who agree on what they saw and heard. Most of what makes up a theory in the first place is what is unknown; rather than what is known and verified. If there were over five hundred eye witnesses available, even the worst of prosecutors could secure a verdict. Surely the eyewitness accounts of Jesus resurrection are evidence enough to render a decision concerning what happened. Add to that though, what Jesus says in Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Jesus birth, death and resurrection were predicted and recorded for centuries before He came and fulfilled them. Those who have experienced the power of the resurrected Christ, have continued to be His witnesses and testify of all that He has done, for the centuries since His resurrection, even to this day. Paul says: last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. But of course he was not the last. I too, along with millions of others since Paul penned these letters, have seen the power of the risen Christ and have become His witnesses.
Each one can determine for themselves what they will believe with all the evidence that is available. Just as Jesus fulfilled the prophesies which were spoken and recorded for thousands of years, Jesus Himself spoke words thousands of years ago which are still being fulfilled today. In the garden, before He was crucified, In John 17:20-26 Jesus prayed, saying: “I do not ask on behalf of these (the disciples of Jesus) alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Two thousand years ago Jesus prayed for you in the garden. He prayed that you would believe and come to know Him and the Father, through the words and the testimony of those who saw Him and knew Him. Two thousand years ago, on the cross, Jesus said: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) He said: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Jesus accomplished all that was necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. All that is necessary for His prayer in the garden to also be answered and fulfilled is that you would believe.
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
Dr James Allan © 1926.