Resurrection: 1 Cor 15:20-28

In this post-Easter week, we look at Paul’s discussion of the resurrection, in 1 Corinthians 15.

Yesterday, we saw Paul arguing against “some” in the Corinthian church who claimed that there was no resurrection of the dead. (They were probably Greeks who viewed a bodily resurrection as absurd; in Greek thought, people hoped to escape from the prison of the body into the superior, spiritual realm.) Paul showed how Jesus’ bodily resurrection was integral to the gospel: without it, we would still be sinners and faith in Christ would be futile. Today, he turns to the benefits of Jesus’ (and our) bodily resurrection:

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Resurrection: 1 Cor 15:12-19

In this post-Easter week, we look at Paul’s discussion of the resurrection, in 1 Corinthians 15.

Yesterday, Paul reminded his audience of the tradition about Jesus’ death and resurrection which he heard from eyewitnesses and passed on to them. He wanted to affirm again its reliability, and its status as the basis of the Christian faith:

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

But Paul did this in service of a bigger point, relating to our resurrection, in the future. Because some in Corinth were doubting this:

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Resurrection: 1 Cor 15:1-11

In this post-Easter week, we look at Paul’s discussion of the resurrection, in 1 Corinthians 15.

One of the common objections to the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection is the long timeframe between the event (around 30 AD) and the four written gospels which testify to it (Mark is likely the earliest, in the 60s AD). Now of course, this 40-year gap is still within living memory, meaning the accounts could have been challenged by those who were around at the time if the gospel writers were simply making up stories. (If you publish made up stories about the late 1970s, there will be plenty of people around to correct you!)

More than that, in a mostly non-literate culture, the gospels weren’t primary; they reflected a long tradition of material about Jesus and his resurrection that was circulating by word of mouth. Unlike in our text-based culture, in the first century, writing these traditions down was a secondary task.

But still: there’s a gap between what’s often seen as our earliest historical evidence (Mark’s gospel) and the event itself, which can lead people to doubt the reliability of the resurrection accounts.

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part Four)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event: three “flash-forwards” that point to what would happen on Easter Sunday. It’s best to begin from part one, on Monday.

Our third flash-forward at the death of Jesus is the reaction of those who witness the first two signs. Have a listen to their response:

27:54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, & exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

‘How is this a flash-forward?’ you might ask. Is this a case of a preacher getting third-point-itis. Where the last point is always a bit of stretch to fit in with the pattern of the first two. (The first two started with the same letter, lets get the thesaurus out…)

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part Three)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event: three “flash-forwards” that point to what would happen on Easter Sunday. It’s best to begin from part one, on Monday.

The second flash-forward we see in the account of Jesus’ death is a mini-resurrection. One that points forward to the defeat of death itself. Read from verse 52:

Mt 27:52-53 The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs[, and] after Jesus’ resurrection [and] they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part Two)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event: three “flash-forwards” that point to what would happen on Easter Sunday. It’s best to begin from part one, yesterday.

The first little flash-forward we’re given is the torn temple-curtain. Pointing us to the fact that Jesus’ resurrection will bring us direct access to God. Let’s read from verse 50 again:

27:50-51 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

The first preview, the first sign happens the instant Jesus dies. Miraculously – from top to bottom – the temple curtain is torn in two. What’s that all about?

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part One)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event.

One of my favourite TV shows is NCIS. If you haven’t seen it before, that stands for ‘Naval Criminal Investigation… Somethingorother.’ Clearly that’s not important for enjoying the show. But the reason I mention it this Easter week is one of it’s characteristic film-making techniques. As you come out of every ad break, the first thing you see is a one-second scene in black-and-white. It’s a very brief, flash-forward to the final scene before the next ad break. It gives you a little taste of where the next eight minutes or so of action is heading. So that when you get to that scene, your brain goes – oh, so that’s what that little snapshot was all about. (The producers call it the “foof,” named after the sound that accompanies it, made by the producer hitting a microphone with his hand.)

Now this technique on NCIS is pretty subtle. It took me half a season to realise that’s what was happening. But if you pay attention, you’ll see that our entire media culture is filled with flash-forwards. And often far more obvious ones.

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Hosea and Jesus

Having finished Hosea yesterday, this is sort of a catch-up Friday. So if you’re behind, it’s a good chance to finish your Hosea readings by the end of the weekend.

But if you’re up-to-date, let’s reflect a bit on what we learned from Hosea, and how it relates to the New Testament presentation of Jesus. And this is one where you’re going to do the bulk of the work.

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Hosea 14

We’ve made it to the final chapter of Hosea. So let’s recap the big picture of what we’ve seen so far:

Israel (the northern kingdom) has been persistently rebellious against God – chasing after other gods (to provide food) and other nations (to provide security), rather than trusting God. You know, the one who led them into the promised land full of food – giving them tasty desert snacks along the way – and who fought their battles for them. So God is about to hand them over to the consequences of their actions: drought (let’s see how Ba’al goes at providing for you) and conquering armies (how’s that whole Assyrian alliance going?)

Although these consequences will last for some time (many centuries of exile, as it turned out), there are also brief glimpses of hope. Despite being a spurned husband, God will go back out to the wilderness, where it all began, and romance Israel back to himself (ch2), reuniting Israel and Judah in the process. Despite being a rejected parent, God won’t completely give up on his wayward son, bringing him back from exile (ch11).

But still, you have to ask: when God does this, will it be any different next time around? Will his wife still cheat on him? Will his son still rebel?

To address this problem, Hosea uses another image of God, drawn from agriculture, in chapter 14. A chapter in which the good news of God’s saving activity shines through.

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Hosea 13

We’re nearly finished our series through Hosea. (And this is the last of the gloom-and-doom negative chapters; tomorrow’s is much brighter!) And this chapter, in big picture terms, is more of the same. So we won’t spend a long time on each verse. I’ll just provide a few notes to give us an idea of the gist of each section. We’ve returned again to the theme of idolatry – and God’s anger at it.

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