(In advance, write the following on the whiteboard or large sheet of paper: “Stormy forecast,” “Tornadoes,” Hurricanes,” “Floods,” “ Random Bombings,” “School Shooting,” “Many massacred in church shooting,” “Identity Theft,” “Sexual Abuse,” “Physical Abuse,”…there seems to be no end to the evil in today’s world!)
Ask the class members:
1. What feelings and emotions do you feel when reading about these events? (Consider recording their responses on the board.)
Like today, life was not guaranteed as safe and secure for first-century Christians.
In some ways, life in the first century was like our own, taking into account they did not have the advanced technology that we do.
—various groups did not trust each other.
—the Roman army was brutal.
—Justice was often meted out by corrupt emperors and other
—Life was not guaranteed safe and secure.
—There was very little that people could be certain of.
Human nature has been remarkably consistent when it comes to exploiting others. In a world where it seemed no one could be trusted, Paul wanted the new believers in Corinth to understand the crucial connection between Jesus’ resurrection and the coming resurrection of all those united with the Lord Jesus. There was someone who could be trusted—the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. How is a person’s sense of security related to what one is willing to trust for their security?
Paul was well aware that life is unfair and little, if anything, in this life has been guaranteed. That’s why he placed all his confidence in the resurrection of Jesus. Paul was trying to help his readers understand the crucial connection between Jesus’ resurrection and the coming resurrection of all who place their trust in Jesus!
As we study our passage today consider this question: How does the resurrection of Christ impact your daily life?
Believing in the Resurrection! Read John 20:1-9
I can’t read this passage without being amazed by John’s remark in verse 2—“The one Jesus loved.” John felt Jesus’ love so deeply that it was as if he was the only one Jesus loved!
1. What emotions would this experience bring out of those involved?
2. What is significant about the linen cloths being left in the tomb? (If it were grave robbers who took Jesus they would have taken the linen cloths with them. This was a deliberate act to fold the linen cloths that was around Jesus’ head. The other grave cloths may have been there as if the body just vanished through the cloths.)
3. Do the details included by John give more credibility to his account of Jesus’ resurrection?
4. What conclusions could Peter and John draw following an examination of the tomb?
5. What did John finally believe about the disappearance of Jesus’ body? (Based on what he saw, John believed that Jesus was alive. Although they knew something unusual had happened they did not know what had occurred!)
6. What is the connection between seeing and believing?
7. How can a person believe in Jesus without fully understanding? (It is by faith we believe, not seeing! If it is by seeing there is no faith involved. They saw that Jesus was not there but could not explain where Jesus was or how His body was removed.)
(The Scripture referred to in verse 9 may have been Isaiah 53; Psalm 16:10 or Hosea 6:2.)
(If you have the Resource Kit, hand out copies of Resurrection appearances in Scripture.)
The resurrection of Jesus grounds our faith, undergirds our mission, and establishes our hope in the life to come. In nearly all of his letters found in the New Testament, Paul had something to say about the resurrection of Jesus and its impact upon our lives.
Made Alive Through the Resurrection!
Read 1 Cor. 15:20-22
The term “firstfruits” was taken from the history of the Jewish people. It referred to the first sample of agricultural produce which indicated the nature of the entire harvest that was soon to follow.
1. In what sense was Jesus’ resurrection the “firstfruits”? (Jesus was the first person to ever be resurrected. Jesus was the first of many to follow, and their resurrected bodies would be like his.)
2. In what sense is Jesus the second Adam? (The first Adam brought sin and death while, for those who believe in Jesus, He brings forgiveness and eternal life. 1 Cor. 15:45 “So it is written: the first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”)
3. What do these verses reveal about the results of Jesus’ resurrection?
4. How do the results identified by Paul give hope? (In Christ, we have a second chance!)
5. Hope for what? (Believers will follow Jesus in physical death but we will rise from the dead, just as He did!
Read 1 Thess. 4:16. Jesus paved the way for the believers!
Future Found in the Resurrection! Read 1 Cor. 15:23-28
1. What event will signal the end of time, as we know it?
2. What enemies will Jesus defeat once and for all? (Satan and death. When the events we read about a moment ago in 1 Thess. 4:16 take place the final enemy—death—will be defeated. From that point on, no one will die. Everything will be under the rule of the Son who has yielded Himself to the Lordship of the Father. Note this is not one being greater than the other, it is the role and function of each Person of the Godhead!)
Christ will take full authority over the evil on the earth, subduing those who rise against Him and those who refuse to accept His gift of eternal life.
3. How does Paul’s view of eternity compare to how most people view eternity? (Paul looked forward to the time when Christ would bring a complete resolution to earthly sin and present it to God, the Father.)
Summarize and Challenge!
We, as believers, find assurance for this life and the life to come through the resurrected Lord!
Persons live beyond time, not because of any inherent immortality, but because God gives them life. Ref. 2 Cor. 5:1-10.
Reflect on the time when you first placed your trust in Jesus. (If you haven’t done so read the inside cover of your PSG and consider doing so.)
With whom can you share about your salvation this week?
What a sad commentary it is to see a life with hope only in the span of time they live here on this earth. Our Hope is placed in Christ to live with Him eternally for we too shall rise from the grave with a new body but only through God’s grace and mercy.
Last Sunday morning in our Department time we sang the old hymn “I Love to Tell the Story.” There is a phrase in the song that goes like this, “And when in scenes of Glory I sing a new, new song, it will be the old, old story that I have loved so long.”
We will have eternity to praise and thank Jesus and the Father for His sacrifice that secured our salvation!
Share the “Old, Old Story” with someone this week!