Theme of the Week: Why Easter Changes Everything
Bible Verse: What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Corinthians 15:32 ESV
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34; Isaiah 22:13, Ecclesiastes 3:11
If the resurrection did not happen, then we might as well pursue a life of self-indulgence, because nothing we have accomplished will last. This is Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15:32. That is the idea behind the expression “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” at the end of verse 32.
It is a quotation of Isaiah 22:13, the attitude of the residents of Jerusalem who faced the Assyrian army’s siege by partying rather than getting right with God. Such behavior deserves a rebuke. But Paul says, “If the dead are not raised, then you might as well party.” The expression “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” also had relevance to the culture in which Paul and his readers lived.
This kind of language was used in Paul’s day to describe the Epicureans. It was, perhaps, a bit of an overstatement since the Epicureans did not pursue sheer gluttony and drunkenness as much as they pursued the finer things in life—fine dining, music, theater, and treasured friendships. “Yet ultimately, all of this was self-centered,” observes Craig Blomberg, “since they did not look to continuing any pleasures beyond the grave.
Self-interest may even lead to humanitarian and altruistic concerns, but ultimately it produces nothing permanently satisfying if this life is all that exists.”1 But the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and its guarantee of our future resurrection, delivers us from this self-indulgence. It gives us something to live for beyond our own purposes and plans. God has wired us to live for something larger than our own small stories.
The writer of Ecclesiastes refers to this when he says that God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Eccles. 3:11). We have a sense that our work and even our lives possess eternal significance, even though we cannot figure it all out. Here the resurrection changes our perspective. It points to and makes possible a better life—something beyond this one, a life more incredible than we can ever imagine. “Recognizing that a far better life awaits us, we can risk our lives or well-being for the gospel”2 rather than simply living for ourselves.
1 Blomberg, Craig, 1 Corinthians, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994).
Some content taken from Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything. Copyright © 2013 by Steven D. Mathewson. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
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