For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; 1 Corinthians 15:3 NABRE
Paul affirms to the community what he has already taught them, specifically, Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and was buried, and rose up on the third day according to the scriptures. The reference in scripture is not specific, the exact words don’t exist in scripture as Paul writes them, but we do have the Suffering Servant passages from Isaiah, one verse saying specifically, “… He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) In hind sight we make this connection with Isaiah, but how does Paul first make the connection? Jews teach and maintain the suffering servant is Israel, suffering so the world will see the goodness of God; they are chosen for this purpose. It is an important message Paul is writing because his letter to the Corinthians is dated before the writing of the Gospels and likely what he preaches influences the story of the Gospels. This message becomes the main arc of the Christian message, even reciting it in creeds. It is a perspective which redefines all scripture for the Christians, supporting a need of a savior. Jesus mentions a suffering Messiah, (Luke 24:26, 46) but the Messiah is seen as a powerful peace bearer.
Paul’s message influences Christianity and even he only mentions it this one time. We know scripture has been influenced by the authors, accepting that the Holy Spirit has guided their writing, but emphasis is placed on a passage such as this written by Paul, while the words of Jesus to sell what you have and give to the poor (Matthew 19:21) have much less influence.
Which should be more our influence, Jesus’ life or death? Do you see the need for a savior?
Christianity overly emphasizes the passage Christ dies for our sins written by Paul, while the words of Jesus to sell what you have and give to the poor (Matthew 19:21) have much less influence. Click To Tweet
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