Slideshow image

Reason #23: Jesus Rose From The Dead...To Fill Our Work With Meaning

As we read portions of the Bible it is really important to see how a passage begins and also how a passage ends.

The beginning of the passage lays the foundation for the ensuring argument and the ending of the pasasge indicates where the entire argument is going.

And this understanding of beginning and ending is really important as we read 1 Corinthians chapter 15. This chapter is profound and is the longest and most sustained passage on the resurrection in the entire Bible.

And the flow of the chapter is staggering in terms of the scope of what it is addressing:

  • A reminder of the essence of the gospel message: verses 1-8
  • If Jesus is not raised our faith and preaching is useless!: verses 14-17
  • A description of the resurrection body: verses 35-49
  • An almost taunt  against death: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ": verses 55-57

And after all of this argument for 57 verses we get this final concluding verse:

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58) 

The chapter culminates, not in a longing for the resurrected (the future) life (although that is certianly in the chapter!)--but the chapter cultimates in how the resurrection of Jesus and his followers has impact on this life.

The idea of resurrection (again, both the past resurrection of Jesus and the future resurrection of believers) is meant to impact our "work" and our "labor." How does this work?

Here are some suggestions that highlight the connection between resurrection and our work and labor:

1. The resurrection validates our bodies and all physical endeavors.

2. The resurrection points to the future use of our bodies, where presumably our "labor in the Lord" will continue.

3. If both #1 and #2 are true then our present work and labor in our bodies is also validated because we are using the bodies that Christ both died and rose for. Whatever we do our bodies, that is those things we do "in the Lord," has purpose and meaning because those things are part of the redemption of Christ.

Thus, instead of making us only "heavenly focused" the resurrection of Christ (and his followers) fill us with hope for our present work and labor. 

What good news! Let's get to work!