“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
The virgin birth of Christ is important, as are His crucifixion and ascension. For the apostle Paul, however, the resurrection of Christ is “of first importance.” There simply is no gospel to preach and no hope to embrace without Christ’s resurrection.
This central event in Christ’s ministry is also “in accordance with the Scriptures.” Since the Gospels were not yet in circulation, the Scriptures here refer to the Old Testament. We find an explicit Old Testament witness to the resurrection of Christ in Psalm 16, which Peter cites in his Pentecost sermon: “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life” (Acts 2:27-28).
There are also many indirect allusions to Christ’s resurrection in the Old Testament. The powerful promise of life from the grave in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) is linked to the third day in Hosea 6:1-2: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” As He has repeatedly delivered His people from their enemies, God will deliver the Israelites from Babylon. Christ’s resurrection marks the ultimate deliverance from death which is exile from life itself.
Suggestions for prayer
Praise God for His faithfulness in fulfilling His ancient promises of resurrection and ask Him to convince you (afresh) of its centrality.
Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.