“When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.” V.18
The Jewish Sanhedrin charged Paul with various charges. He violated the purity of the temple, he went against the law of Moses, and he was inciting the people to riot against Roman authorities. However, as Festus soon realized, their main hatred of Paul and charges against him centered on, “a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.” The real point at issue was the resurrection of Jesus. It always boils down to that.
We saw this earlier in Acts, “While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, angry because they were teaching the people and announcing in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” v. 4:2. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:23, “…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.”
The resurrection of Jesus is at the core of all attacks on our faith, because if the resurrection of Jesus, is proved a lie, then Christianity crumbles. As Paul states,
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God…For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Cor 15:12, 19
Paul says, “My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Phil. 3:10 This needs to be our aim as well if we want to have any hope at all of our individual lives and the life of our church to bear any meaningful fruit. However, as Paul says, to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection in ourselves, we must first completely die to ourselves. To enterter into the resurrection of Jesus, we first must enter into the death of Jesus.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come an die.”
The context of his quote is this. “The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over ourlives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call. (The Cost of Discipleship)
Take time to read 1Corinthians chapter 15 today.
Reflect, “about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.” V.18Do you truly believe this? Then claim this belief again over your life and the life of our church. Claim you are willing to answer Christ’s call to come and die so you can experience the power of his resurrection.
Please share your reflections with us on the resurrection of Christ.