Paul is summing up the gospel in this chapter. The portion we are focusing on today puts forth the foundational basics. When the believer holds onto these cornerstones he has surety.
The two most basic and required parts of the Christian foundation are: 1) Christ died for our sins; and 2) He was raised again on the third day. Without these two pieces everything else falls apart. There is a lot more that is built on these two facts but these two alone are required for believer.
Christ died for our sins. In order for this to be true we have to agree that: 1) He was sinless Himself; 2) His death met the criteria for this substitution; 3) God would accept His work on our behalf; and 4) His work was sufficient for your forgiveness.
He was raised again on the third day. We will actually get into this more tomorrow as Paul addresses it vehemently with his readers. Apparently some of them were having trouble with this portion. In today’s reading though Paul lists those who had seen Jesus in the flesh after He rose from the dead.
Yes. FROM THE DEAD. Not the near dead or just playing possum. Jesus’ work would have no meaning if He only went part way. He would have been the “scapegoat” instead.
When the priests brought the annual sacrifice they were to bring two goats. One was to be killed and burned as the sacrifice and the other was the scapegoat. The scapegoat carried all the people’s sins into the desert while the sacrificial goat provided attornment for the people’s sins. The scapegoat wandered around still holding the people’s sins while the sacrificial goat was made pure again through the shedding of its blood. With the scapegoat sin was out of sight out of mind. Both carried the sins of the people but only one was acceptable afterwards in God’s sight. The other was surrendered to Satan. Leviticus 16 shares this commandment.
Jesus is our atonement sacrifice NOT our misplaced wandering sins. In the Jewish traditions they throw the scapegoat over a cliff but this is not commanded by God. They were to let it go into the desert. I wonder if the scapegoat ever came back to town. What would happen then? Maybe that is why they took to killing it instead.
Father God, thank You that my sins are completely washed away through Jesus’ blood. They are not waiting in the wings to catch up with me when I least expect it. Lord Jesus, thank You for taking my place. I did nothing to earn this gift but will gladly receive it. Your sacrifice was not in vain because You completed it ALL. My belief in You is not in vain because You met ALL the requirements, including Your willingness to take my place. THANK YOU!! Please help me live my life worthy of Your sacrifice.