- 1Cor 15: 1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our[2a] sins[2b] in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures(ESV, emph. Added)
Jesus Himself says this about His death:
- No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. (John 10:18, ESV)
Now what has Paul compacted into this simple statement – that Christ “died” - his fellow apostle Peter expressed this way:
- Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.(Acts 2:22-23, ESV)
If you think about that for about 4 seconds you realize that this defines the purpose of Jesus’ death in a way which places it above all other deaths in human history. It defines Jesus’ death in terms of something God Himself was working out, and something in which Jesus was a willing player.
What is even more interesting in Peter’s testimony, I think, is the fact of the matter – the reality of this act. Christ didn’t just die as they heard reported on the Caesarian News Network, or read about in the Judea Tribune: Jesus died at the hands of the men to whom he was speaking, and because of their intentional action. Peter makes it clear that Jesus experienced a shameful death, an unjust death, and that the men who listened to him preach where responsible for His death – but also witnesses to His death. They knew Jesus died – there was no question that they had first-hand knowledge of the fact.
Christ died. As Paul defines the most important thing about the Gospel, he begins with the fact that Christ died – a fact which the other NT writers expand to note that He died willingly, and in gruesome reality, and for a plan which God has definitely set out.
But so what? And why did it take me 7 days to write this blog entry? Come back and visit, and at least one of these questions will be answered.