Christians celebrate Easter on Sunday and proclaim the foundation of their faith: Jesus Christ was raised from the grave through a bodily resurrection. Unique in the world's religions, Christians believe that on the third day following the public execution of Jesus during Good Friday, the God and center of their faith was raised to life.
The Bible has four Gospels that contain this historical account taking place outside of Jerusalem, Israel, in A.D. 30, but the New Testament is full of more chapters and chapters on the resurrection topic.
One chapter is in the first letter of Paul, addressed to Corinthians. The Apostle Paul was a man who, early in his career when he was known as Saul, had been an avid persecutor of the newly founded church and sought to hunt down Christians. However, on the way to Damascus when he was on the next phase of his battle against the early church, Paul underwent a complete change of heart and claimed that Jesus the Risen Christ was with him, and that he spoke to his soul. Paul was able to appear to over 500 people at one time, inviting his readers to speak with them if they doubted the authenticity of his claim.
The message Paul is delivering in a chapter of Philippians, is that Christianity does not revolve around being a perfect person. He explains the following: Jesus of Nazareth wasn't just a smart philosopher, outstanding moral model, or an inspirational leader; instead, Paul declares that Jesus is God, and following his death and burial, his body came back to life several days later, and that thousands were able to see him following his resurrection. In an assertion that would surprise many of us today – Paul states that in the event that Jesus did not bodily come back from the dead, then Christianity is meaningless and Christians ought to be pitied for wasting their lives believing in a lie.
Paul was able to leave his life in Judaism as he converted to Christianity. He later was the most prolific writer of his fellow New Testament writers, and the following year was executed for his faith. Paul said he was happy to be a martyr for his faith since Jesus' resurrection signified that, in the future, Paul was to be resurrected well.
From the first epistle written by Paul addressed to the church in Corinth:
Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word 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 in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy 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 was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
The Resurrection of the Dead
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that 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 futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God[c] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
- Corinthians 15:1-28 (ESV).
“Come and behold the dazzling mystery of the God of death, who was killed by the God of all life.
No grave can stop him from doing so, thanks to the Lord that He is alive!
What a taste of the promise of deliverance Our hope is unwavering;
Christ as a power-house, resurrected Christ like we will be when Christ returns!”
Matthew Boswell, Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery (2013)