Stroll through Scripture for May 12, 2024

Based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-26, 51-57

Chapter 15 of this first letter to the Corinthians is near the end of the letter.  Which means Paul is summarizing and making a conclusion to his arguments that he has been presenting throughout the letter.  And it’s important to remember that the church in Corinth is deeply divided and disunified.  Apparently resurrection is another sticking point in the church – is it spiritual or physical?

The beginning portion of this chapter is Paul’s summary of how he came to learn of the Good News that he proclaims, starting with Jesus appearing to Peter and going through the litany of the various people who Jesus appeared to before him.  Yet, it is important to note that Paul is also a part of the list, which gives him authority in writing.  

Resurrection is a key theme in this chapter.  And Paul is addressing the physical reality of resurrection – it’s not just a spiritual occurrence.  It’s not just some kind of elevation of knowledge either.  This debate would rage for several centuries and be one of the key points in the adoption of the creeds later on.  

Paul also directly addresses death.  For this, it’s important to keep in mind cultural context.  Death was a present reality for so many of the people.  It wasn’t sanitized, or talked around, or twisted in some way in order to “protect” people from having to face it and deal with it.  Paul is direct in dealing with death.  And why not?  The Good News is that death doesn’t get the final say.  Death is not final.  How could it be if there is resurrection?  

This is a lengthy section of Paul’s letter, but as is customary for Paul, he makes the same argument in multiple ways, emphasizing the point he wants to make.  

Questions for reflection:

  • The church claims life, death, and resurrection, but we have to wonder, do the people in the church actually buy it?  Or is the claim just that – a claim?  
  • What would it mean to really live into life, death, and resurrection? 
  • How would the church be different if we fully embraced life, death, and resurrection?  
  • What would we stop making excuses for?  What would we no long find acceptable?  
  • How would we deal with the challenges that our world faces?  

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