There were many groupings in Jesus’ day about which we hear a lot but know little.  There were the Pharisees, a group who traditionally had saved the people from secularization by protecting the law from overly-liberal interpretations that took the power away from it.  During Jesus’ day, however, they had taken their protection of the law too far and had begun to follow and worship the law rather than the God who gave it.  There were the Zealots, a group of Jewish extremists who used politics and even what today would be deemed terrorism to fight the Roman oppressors.  There were the Anawim, the “pious poor” who spent most of their time at the temple praying for and awaiting the coming of the Messiah to turn the tables as it were and humble the rich and elevate the poor.  And then there were the Sadducees, who focused not on the oral interpretation of the law like the Pharisees but on the written law itself.  They had come to dismiss the spiritual realm, angels, and even the resurrection of the dead.

With the communal wealth to be free from work and have time to spend all day listening to new ideas, the Corinthians had obviously heard about the beliefs of the Sadducees and this belief had crept into the new Church.  And so for the next few days, Paul will be addressing this group in the church who didn’t believe in the Resurrection of either our bodies or Jesus.

Paul begins with logic, saying that if these Sadducee-wannabes didn’t believe in any kind of resurrection, they couldn’t believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This was because the resurrection of Jesus WAS the entire gospel.  If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then His death was in vain, we are foolish to believe in Him, and we are still in our sins and so subject to hell as are those who have died in the faith.  So Paul makes the case for a literal resurrection of the dead.

We state a belief in resurrection but do we really believe it?  Has our scientific culture really invaded our faith so much that we can’t believe unless we see for ourselves?  Is this why we obsess over stories of those who have died and returned, so much so that there are shelves of books by these people?  Can we simply believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and, because of that, our own resurrection?

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