The Jesus-Event

 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
(Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17)
God tabernacled (John 1:14) with us. "God is with us" in the person of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:23, Colossians 2:9) God was "in Christ" reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). God entered into His very own creation and existed as a man. It includes an historical event. For over 30 years God, while existing as a man walked on earth. Once He was despised, rejected, beaten, crucified, and buried He did as He had said, and raised Himself from the dead on the third day (John 2:19). He is God all in all and seated at the supreme place of the universe.

This is the Jesus-event. This is where the invisible God was made visible. This is not to say God stopped being God or that God had to empty heaven. Simply, the Creator partook in creation. God is simultaneously creator, sustainer, father, son, holy, redeemer at the same time. Since Jesus is God in quality, rather than in terms of quantity, the personality, identity and character of God was in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:9).

The Scriptures also speak of Saul, a Christ-hater, turned Christ-lover, better known as Paul who gave his life for what he once considered heresy and worthy of death (Acts 7:50ff.). Paul makes this contribution to the testimony of the Resurrection of our Lord and its life-changing effect. Notice 1 Corinthians 15:
1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. NRSV
Notice some of these statements of Paul:

1. In vs. 3 he has and is handing them something of "first importance". 
2. Christ died and was buried in accordance with Scripture.
3. Christ appeared to Cephas, the twelve, more than 500 people most of which were still alive, to James, all the apostles and lastly Paul himself.
4. God's grace in him has not been in vain.
5. If Christ has not been raised our proclamation and faith is in vain.
6. If Christ has not been raised then you are faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 

Notice that Paul correlates the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as being in accordance with the Scriptures. Paul obviously sees Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic references (e.g. Genesis 3:15; Psalms 2:1–2; 16:10; 22:1; 22:6–7; 22:22; 69:21; 89:26–28; Isaiah 7:14; 24:16; 42:1; 42:6; 49:6; 53:5). This conviction, shared by all the New Testament writers, was core to the early church. Notice also that Paul is making propositions that he emphatically believes to be true. He also shows it to be true based upon a) being in accordance with Scripture (cf. John 5:39) b) eyewitness accounts including his own first hand account. 

The Resurrection of Christ provides us with a future hope of resurrection. Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-101) speaks of this hope and even calls it the "future resurrection" in The First Epistle of Clement. These only serve to echo was Paul had earlier written. In Ephesians 2:6 Paul says that Christ has "raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (NRSV). Therefore, since we are united with Christ we will also be raised as Christ. 

In the Old Testament Jacob left his encounter with God at the river and he left never to be the same. He left changed. The physical and psychological impact of Jesus upon the Bible writers and clearly Paul here is indeed profound. Penetrating to the depths of the human person. Paul was smitten. He was struck by Jesus, the Christ, the man from Nazareth. He was so moved by his encounter with Jesus that it changed not only his career direction but caused him to leave what he had known to be true until that point. As a devout Pharisee he left no doubt people and things he loved. Are we that moved by the Jesus-event? Are you that moved by the Jesus-event? Would you believe even if you're life depended on it? 

The Resurrection does not rely only in an empty tomb but also, among other evidences, eyewitness accounts of the risen Lord. (See Matt 28:8-10, 16-20; Luke 24:13; John 20:11-29 and Acts 1:1-11). This ratifies the faith and personal experiences (Paul's in Acts 9 and 22) that multiplied millions have had and are having with Jesus until this day. The tomb was empty, the disciples were transformed from uncertain to bold preachers of the Resurrection, for which they would die.

JN Anderson

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Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)