1 Corinthians 15:12-19
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised
Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
St. Paul and John Young are agreed on this – that the resurrection is the
heart of the matter. If Jesus was not raised, if he is not in fact alive today, then we should just walk away because the whole edifice of Christian belief is based on a mistake or a lie.
Young reviews the evidence and the arguments well and I won’t go over all that here. What struck me again, as many times before, is how much of the evidence and argument revolves around the emergence of the church.
- young men don’t found great movements. Unless they have been
raised from the dead.
- public failures don’t found great movements. Unless they
have been raised from the dead.
- cowards don’t found great movements. What transformed Peter
from a ditherer into the great leader, with James and Paul,
of a rapidly growing church?
- women don’t found great movements – well not in Jesus’
day. Why would Mary be named as the first witness to the
resurrection if it were not true?
- powerful leaders don’t tolerate great movements. So why
did the Roman/Jewish authorities not produce the body?
The common factor in all these argument is the ‘great movement‘. An unstoppable movement grew out of the confused, terrified inner core of
Jesus’ friends and followers. Then, and now, the most impressive evidence for the resurrection (apart, obviously, from a conversation with the Risen Lord himself!) is the church – the community which is prepared to live and die by it’s faith in the resurrection.
Does that sound like a church you know?