1 Corinthians 15:29-34 – What If?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:29-34

photographs of people with thought bubbles with question marks overhead

Do you ever find yourself in the “What-If Trap”? That’s when you catch yourself in some sort of doubt or worry. What if it rains when you forgot your umbrella? What if I fail my math test, will I be able to graduate? What if there is no resurrection? That’s what it seems Paul is addressing here.

Paul gives us real life examples that wouldn’t make sense in a “resurrection-less” world. These examples would have been understood better by the original recipients to the message. For us, it could be something like, “if there was no resurrection of the dead, why would we be wasting our time spreading the gospel?” If you’re wondering about verse 29, apparently there was a practice that people who were alive could be baptized in place of people who already died to give the dead people the same promise of baptism. While it happened, and Paul calls it out, note that it isn’t necessarily a practice believed to be “necessary.”

I could almost sense that Paul was losing his patience, just a bit, with the Corinthians as he pressed in on their concerns. Maybe he was just a tad offended at their “what-if” scenario. The resurrection is central to our faith. Period. We’ve been told Jesus started “the movement” as the first one raised from death and, when he returns, we’ll get our turn. Paul was all in for Jesus and trusted that the resurrection of the dead was a belief worth suffering for.

We don’t need to wonder “What-if” when it comes to God’s provision. It will always be there. He promised to never leave or forsake us. The provision we receive may look different than what we asked for, but God knows what’s best. He promised that Jesus would come again so we could rise with him. The question is not what-if but when. And that answer is not for us to know until it happens one glorious day!

There may be a flashback here to the grumbling Israelites before the exile. Paul sternly reprimands these Corinthians (and us). “Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”

If we know God, what is right will be revealed to us. But Paul wants us to spend time reflecting. Sometimes the first thing that comes to our mind is NOT from God. Enjoy your time reflecting today.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, I look forward to that day when you will return so I can rise with you. While I don’t know exactly what that means or even looks like, I trust it will be glorious. Help me to overcome any doubts I may have by bringing my questions to you right away. Thank you for how your word reveals your truth to us each time. I am in awe of you, God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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