This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Discussion Question: When have you been an eyewitness to an exciting event?

Food for Thought by Mary Jo Sharp*:

Christians celebrate two great events each year. At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God coming to earth. At Easter, we remember the death of Jesus and celebrate His resurrection on the third day. We couldn’t remember Christ’s death and celebrate His resurrection if He had not come to earth to live among us. But Christmas would be absolutely meaningless if Jesus did not rise from the dead.

No other doctrine is more critical to Christianity than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This great moment changed everything. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ loses its power and significance. Without the resurrection, we have no hope and our faith is meaningless.

To many outside the Christian faith, a resurrection sounds outrageous. But in 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul highlighted several key facts that point to the actual, physical resurrection of Jesus. But he didn’t stop there. Paul also showed us what that resurrection means for us.

The resurrection of Christ is the singular event in history that changes our lives, for eternity. For most of us, national or global news stories are just that: stories we saw or read in the news. It may be a once-in- a-lifetime experience, but on rare occasions we may be able to say, “I was there!”

Of course, none of us was there at the momentous event that changed everything — the resurrection of Jesus Christ — but we joyfully celebrate it every spring. But do we embrace the resurrection as an actual historical event or simply regard it as spiritual folklore?

Many people favor the latter view. Others see the resurrection as an “inspiring story” about a great teacher named Jesus, but they do not believe He is the true Messiah who was resurrected for all mankind. Jesus is just someone unenlightened people used to believe in. Critics might say the resurrection sounds like a fairy tale to soothe those who are afraid to die.

But Paul surely would not have called it a fairy tale. Far from it. He wrote a little bit later in this passage that if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). Throughout 1 Corinthians 15, Paul made an objective truth claim: Jesus did physically rise from the dead, and many people could attest to that. They could say, “I was there!”

Since Christ actually rose from the dead, His resurrection triggered monumental implications for humanity. All of us can point to life-changing historical events on some level. But the death, burial and resurrection of Christ stands apart as an event that gives us hope now and for eternity. And just as important for those of us who are followers of Christ, the resurrection of Christ affects us on a personal level as well. It continues to make an impact in our lives and the lives of those we reach with the Good News.

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