1 Corinthians 15:12-28 & If I Don’t Rise, Jesus Didn’t

The Corinthians were affirming Jesus resurrection, but denying their own. Paul says you can’t do this. You would think that you could. Imagine you are about to appear before a judge for sentencing. The judge has the power to pardon at will. Just before you are sentenced the judge’s son, with whom he has no tiff, comes before the judge to be sentenced for the same crime. You reason that if the son is pardoned, there might be a chance for you, but if the son is not pardoned, you haven’t got a prayer. That is how you might expect Paul to relate Jesus’ resurrection and ours. But Paul flips it. Imagine the son is pardoned. It would take some gall to exclaim, “If I’m not pardoned, then your son wasn’t.” That is akin to what Paul is arguing. He isn’t saying, Jesus was resurrected, so there is a chance for you. He is saying that if you don’t burst some sod with a new bod, then Jesus is rotting in a grave.

You might expect Jesus’ resurrection and yours to relate to one another like a tree trunk and branches. In some ways they do. Our resurrection blooms out of His. But Paul says that our resurrection and Jesus’ relate more like a husband and wife than a trunk and branches. If the trunk falls, the branches fall, but if the branches fall you can still have a trunk. But with a marriage, if either party dies, the marriage is dissolved. If Jesus is didn’t rise we won’t. If we don’t rise, Jesus didn’t.

Why is this so? Lets go back to court. When could you say with confidence to the judge who pardoned his son, “If I’m not pardoned, then your son wasn’t?” What if you were tried as a single entity? This is what happened in Christ. Jesus rep work didn’t end on the cross. Jesus didn’t fly solo from the grave; He led a host of captives. Jesus didn’t rise independently. Jesus wasn’t a lonely acorn busting potting soil in some individual’s hobby hothouse. He rose as the firstfruits of a greater harvest of a huge field. His resurrection and yours are part of the same event. Further, Paul says, Jesus is the second Adam. He represents a new humanity. His resurrection was the beginning of new creation. The rest must necessarily follow.

How sure can you be that if your body is under dirt that God will begin cultivating the earth to make it new by ripping you out of her? As sure as you are the Jesus is risen. The degree of faith you have in the risen Christ is to be same measure of faith you are to have in your resurrection. Further, it is the very same faith.

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