Having witnessed a multitude of mock court trials on TV, it is my assumption that in most situations the court would seek to discover or reveal the truth. This is why (again, my assumption) courts require witnesses to “tell the truth.”
The truth was what Paul was addressing in our text. Not everyone living in St. Paul’s day believed that Jesus rose from the dead. The Scribes and Pharisees, for example, and their leaders the high priests in Jerusalem, denied Jesus’ resurrection. They even tried to keep people from learning about it. (They had bribed the tomb guards to lie about what happened on Easter morning.)
Now, after two thousand years there are still many people who deny the resurrection; but many others who willingly offer up their very lives for its truth. Why?
In our lesson (1 Corinthians 15:12-20) Saint Paul offers us a potent argument for Jesus’ resurrection. At first our writer Saul of Tarsus denied Jesus’ resurrection. He sought to destroy those who did believe it; but when the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ confront Saul, blinded him, and convince Saul that the resurrection was real Saul’s attitude changed. Saul even changed his name to Paul because he believed that Jesus was alive! Paul wrote: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” He had not witnessed the resurrection of Jesus himself, but he was convinced of the fact—and this changed his life!
Where does this leave us? We lack the personal experiences of seeing Jesus’ resurrection because we weren’t there, but based on the personal testimony of people who did see Jesus alive and well—people like Mary and Martha, the disciples, and even Paul—we by God’s grace also believe. This, friends, is why we read our Bibles, attend worship services, share in devotions like this, and personally tell others about Jesus! “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” This is THE TRUTH!
So, we pray: Lord Jesus, by the working of the Holy Spirit we have come to know and believe that you are God’s Son, raised from the dead and now ascended into heaven where You prepare heavenly homes for us! Give us the grace and strength to celebrate these truths by sharing them with others! In Your name we pray. Amen.