I Corinthians 15:13-20
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
It has been three weeks before I could publish a new Gem! When I took my computer to be cleaned of some troubling downloads (or uploads, or whatever they are!) it took awhile to be accomplished. What surprised me is that the techs cleansed 56 versions of malware, spyware, and other bad stuff! By the way, I had no idea how I managed to get them loaded on my computer! But I am now back in business!
So let’s get back to examining Paul’s statement in I Corinthians 15:13 through 20, concerning the resurrection! We are in this study because the resurrection happened in the Garden of the Tomb! (See The Four Gardens of God – IV for some of the reasons I believe that this is the tomb where Jesus was buried). Here is our featured Scripture:
...if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not
risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty
and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false wit-
nesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised
up Christ, whom He did not raise up— if in fact the dead do not
rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still
in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ
have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we
are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from
the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fal-
So much of Christianity rests on the New Testament! And, according to Paul, our faith in our Savior rests on the resurrection! The apostle wrote in verse 14 of our featured Scripture, “…if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.”
I Corinthians 15:14 – “…if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty…” If you read again The Four Gardens of God – IV and V, you will see that the writers of the New Testament books emphasized the reality and importance of the resurrection!
Were these Biblical authors fooled into thinking the resurrection of Christ really happened when it didn’t? NO!
- Consider the eleven apostles, four of whom wrote most of the New Testament! Remember that of the original eleven apostles remaining after Judas’ suicide, ten of them faced torturous deaths, and the eleventh, John, faced persecution and imprisonment on the Isle of Patmos! Why would they face such fates when they would have quickly come to the realization that Jesus was not resurrected?
- If there had been no resurrection, the Roman soldiers could have produced Jesus’ body and settled the issue, an issue which went on for centuries to bedevil the Roman Empire!
One of the greatest proofs of the validity of the New Testament writings concerns the Roman persecution of the followers of Christ. In over two and a half centuries, from the Roman emperors Nero to Diocletian (54 — 313 AD), over five million Christians suffered martyrdom rather than deny their risen Lord Jesus! Why?
This information presented below is copied from the website of Robert Clifton Robinson, Christian author, philosopher, and apologist (robertcliftonrobinson.com). In an article entitled, “Historical Evidence that Proves the Resurrection of Jesus” (there are also links to other significant articles), Mr. Robinson states the following based on the written record of the ancient Roman senate:
The Romans were very tolerant of every religion, except Chris-
tianity. The Roman Emperors determined that Christianity was a
terrible superstition, in which its followers believed in the
impossible: their leader had risen from the dead....
In Roman thinking, superstition was not regarded in the same
way that it was in most other cultures. The superstition of
Christianity was viewed by the Romans as corrosive to society.
In the minds of Roman leaders, the idea that a man could have
risen from the dead was so disturbing to the mind that a per-
son would likely go insane. This would result in a loss of his
humanity, and the entire structure of Roman life would erode
Only when Romans encountered Christians who insisted that Jesus
had been raised from the dead, did they find it impossible to
tolerate their strange and dangerous religion. In the minds of
the Romans, anyone who could believe such things were already
insane and worthy of death. To allow people to populate nations
for whom they ruled, with these intolerable views, the entire
Roman Empire could be jeopardized.
Why would five million believers go to their deaths if they could avoid such a fate by denying their allegiance to Christ and return to Roman religion? It was because they knew…
- …that they had a Leader who was alive to lead them, guide them, empower them, and to give them ultimate victory!
- …that because Jesus rose from the dead, it also meant, even if it cost them their physical life, He would raise them in perfection, just like Himself! (see I John 3:1, 2).
Were the authors of the New Testament books liars and deceivers? NO!
- I Corinthians 15:14 – “…if Christ is not risen…your faith is also empty.” As Mr. Robinson wrote in the article mentioned above: “Remember that the resurrection and a belief in Jesus Christ are inseparable. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity.” Think about the promises that Jesus made to His followers, promises that depended upon His resurrection. Did He tell them boldface lies?
✞ Matthew 24:44 – “...you also be ready, for the Son of
Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
✞ Matthew 25:31 and 32 – “When the Son of Man comes in
His glory....All the nations with be gathered before
Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a
shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
✞ Matthew 26:29 – “...I say to you, I will not drink of
the fruit of the vine from now on until that day when
I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
✞ Matthew 26:32 – “...after I have been raised, I will
go before you to Galilee.”
✞ Mark 10:33 and 34 – “Behold, [in] Jerusalem...the Son
of Man will be betrayed ...the chief priests and...
scribes...will condemn Him to death, and...deliver Him
to the Gentiles to mock...scourge and...crucify. And
the third day He will rise again.” (see also Luke 9:22;
✞ Mark 13:26 and 27 – “...they will see the Son of Man
coming...with great power and glory....He will send
His angels, and gather together His elect from the
✞ Luke 9:26 – “...whoever is ashamed of Me and My words,
of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in
His own glory, and in the Father’s and of the holy an-
gels.” (see also Luke 12:8, 9).
✞ Luke 21:27 – “Then they will see the Son of Man coming
in a cloud with power and great glory.”
✞ Luke 22:28 through 30 – “...you are those who have con-
tinued with Me in My trials....I bestow upon you a king-
dom...that you may eat and drink at My table in My king-
dom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of
✞ John 6:40 – “...this is the will of Him who sent Me,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may
have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the
✞ John 10:17 and 18 – “I lay down My life that I may take
it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of
Myself. I have power to lay it down, and...to take it
again. This command I have received from My Father.”
✞ John 11:25 and 26 – “I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
✞ John 14:2 and 3 – “I go to prepare a place for you. And
if I go...I will come again and receive you to Myself;
that where I am, there you may be also.”
✞ John 14:18 and 19 – “I will not leave you orphans; I will
come to you. A little while longer and the world will see
Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will
✞ John 15:26 – “...when the Helper comes, whom I shall send
to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth...He will tes-
tify of Me.”
✞ John 16:7 – “...I tell you the truth. It is to your advan-
tage that I go away; for if I do not...the Helper will not
come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
How could a dead Christ fulfill such promises? But He fulfilled (or will fulfill) every one of them! If His followers had faith in what Jesus told them, He was a masterful liar! And if their crucified leader remained dead, then their faith in what He told them was empty – all a lie! And those falsehoods producing empty faith were passed on to us!
✞ ...as Jesus testified of Himself in John 14:6, “I am the
way, THE TRUTH, and the life...” (emphasis mine).
✞ ...Peter, quoting Isaiah 53:9 in I Peter 2:22 (Contempor-
ary English Version), wrote, “Christ did not sin or ever
tell a lie.”
✞ ...Jesus could even stand before His enemies and say to
them, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46). And
no one could!
- Paul sums up his negative argument in verses 15 through 18:
Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have
testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise
up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not
rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your
faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who
have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
The implications of the witness concerning the resurrection being false are horrendous! Whether the disciples were fooled or deceivers, the results are the same:
For the Bible plainly tells us…
- …in Romans 4:22, 24, and 25: “…righteousness…shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
- …in Romans 10:9: “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
We are told in Hebrews 11:6 (International Standard Version): “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently search for Him.”
- One must have faith to believe in Jesus and His resurrection!
- If it is that important, that one must have faith to believe in Jesus and His resurrection; and if such heart belief in His resurrection is a determinate of our salvation, and if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then we are not saved and our faith in the risen Lord is totally empty!
✞ ...we are fools, deceived by a lie!
✞ ...our ‘Savior’s’ body rotted in the grave!
✞ ...Jesus is not the promised Messiah!
✞ ...His death on the cross meant nothing!
✞ ...we are lost in our sins and headed for hell!
✞ ...there is no hope whatsoever either for us or for those
before us who have died believing!
There is one more Gem concerning this third Garden of God!