It’s simple, really.
Christ died for our sins (vs. 3).
He was buried and He was raised (vs. 4).
He appeared to various apostles (vs. 5-8).
We will die (vs. 22).
But, we will all be made alive (vs. 22).
The simplicity of Paul’s words in this passage is striking. He seems to be so familiar and comfortable with the topic, that he just puts the information out there, assuming that his audience will share in his familiarity. Even to us, as modern Christians, the death and resurrection of Christ are familiar. There is a certain risk to becoming familiar with such a vital concept. So, Paul’s eventual questioning of this topic makes us stop and think.
Verses 12-32 are riddled with “if” questions. Paul’s questions make us consider an alternate reality where Christ wasn’t raised from the dead. It’s scary to consider that “what if.” But Paul reminds us that Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep (vs. 20). The plan for Christ’s death and resurrection were devised long before His birth (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10…). Rest assured that God knew exactly what He was doing.
But, this is just one “what if” question that we have to deal with. If you’re anything like me, asking one “what if” question just opens up a host of other questions:
- What if Jesus was just a good person?
- What if my baptism wasn’t good enough?
- What if it’s a sin to drink alcohol?
- What if I’m pursuing the wrong degree in college?
- What if this is the person I’m going to marry?
My friend, I do not have the answers to all of these questions. I will, however, point you to the Proverbs reading for today: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (9:10). You will not have all of the answers, for you are not meant to have all of the answers. The absence of answers is a reason for you to draw nearer to God. In pursuing answers and comfort in not knowing, you learn more about God’s character and what He wants for you. Take heart in having questions…even the unanswered ones.