1 Corinthians 15:3-5
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve (NIV).
First Corinthians Fifteen is a grand presentation of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and of certain hope of resurrection, because we are in Him, the Risen One. Followers of Jesus in our time need to feed their souls on the Risen Lord over all during this time of the corona pandemic. The media daily and incessantly feeds us with reports of death and despair. I do not downplay the seriousness of our situation, but we need to hear all of reality, not just the dark side of sin and death where the world delights to live in. We need to remember the ancient Christian greeting on Resurrection Sunday: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Yet we must remember that the path to total victory led through the dark valley of the Lord Christ’s death on the cross. On that cross he died for our sins. He died because we had rejected the true and living God as our God, because we had refused to love him most of all, and because we had rebelled against him by doing what he had forbidden and by not doing what he told us to do. Yes, we were and are sinners, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a CSB). For this reason Christ died for our sins, in order to rescue us from the righteous consequence and judgment for sin. Praise God that he provided the way of rescue from judgment through Jesus Messiah.
After he died, some good men, Joseph and Nicodemus, buried Jesus’ body according to the Jewish burial customs of that day. Christ had died, so they buried him. Notice that our text says he was buried. It is said this way, not because Christ’s soul-spirit was in the grave, because that day Jesus himself was in paradise. Jesus had said to one of those crucified with him “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 ESV). Instead, it is written that he was buried because he was and is truly human, and every human has a functional unity between the inner person (the soul-spirit) and the outer person (the body). What can be said of one part can be applied to the whole. So then, he was buried, because his body was buried.
One day, unless the Lord Jesus returns first, we will die and our bodies, our earthly remains, will be buried or otherwise disposed of. But when we bury a Christian’s body, we bury his or her body in the certain hope of the resurrection! The grave is not the end for the believer in Jesus. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:42b-44a NIV). So, when Christ raises us from the dead by a powerful shout of his voice, we will come forth from the grave in his image (1 Corinthians 15:49).
Yes, Christ was buried, but death and the tomb could not hold him. He came out from the grave in great power and glory. “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5b-6a NIV) Tomorrow on Resurrection Sunday (what some call Easter Sunday), you probably will not be able to gather with others to celebrate Christ’s resurrection from death and the grave, but you can still joyfully sing: “Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; he arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever with his saints to reign! He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” (Robert Lowry)
Grace and peace in Jesus Christ the Risen Lord,