Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Did Christ Really Die?

Meditation for the week of March 24, 2013

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Why does this passage mention that Christ was buried?  I believe it was because Paul was trying to lay to rest the lie that Christ had not really died.  Some say he fell into a coma and was later revived.  But while that makes no sense since the Roman soldier thrust that spear into his side to make sure He was dead, yet even today some persist in thinking that Christ didn’t really die.

We have witnesses to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  Luke states in Acts 1:3 that Christ showed himself alive after many infallible or undeniable proofs. But those witnesses would be witnessing to a living Savior Who had never died if He had fallen into a coma.  And if He never really died, then the Gospel story is a lie.  That is exactly what the Father of Lies would like us to believe. 

He was buried.  We don’t intentionally bury people who are alive (except in the movies).  The soldiers who were going to break his legs to hasten his death didn’t do that because they saw that He was already dead.  They were convinced that He had died.   Joseph and Nicodemus thought he had died and they  convinced Pilate that He had died who then gave them permission to bury the body.  The women who came to the tomb to anoint his body on Sunday morning had watched His burial and were convinced He had died.  Paul claims here that Christ had died.  In Romans 5:6 he says that Christ DIED for the ungodly.  In Romans 5:8, Paul says that God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ DIED for us.

Some people have problems with the idea that Christ as the Son of God could die.  Because there have been many skeptics who have claimed that God is dead, there is a tendency to believe that God could never die.  Death as it is used by these skeptics seems to indicate that God no longer exists or that He never did exist.   But we have to understand the words in their context and we definitely need to understand that death is not the end of existence.  It wasn’t the end for the Lord and it isn’t the end for us.  Death always separates.  When our friends and loved ones die we can no longer talk to them or spend time with them.  That does not mean that they cease to exist.  When Christ died He did not cease to exist and neither did He cease being God.  When He died He went to “paradise” according to His own words to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43).  He went there without His earthly body because that was laid in a new tomb.  Then He was raised from the dead and given a body that was different than the one that He had the first time.  Apparently He could be recognized in that body. 

Christ did die.  That is why the resurrection is such a miracle.  Christ not only died to put away the sins of the world (1 John 2:2), but He died to put away my sins.  That death was a terrible death and shows how evil the heart of man is, but it also shows how good the heart of God is.  The hymn writer has said:

They crucified Him, They crucified Him, They nailed Him to the tree.
And there He died, a King crucified, to save a poor sinner like me.

It was necessary for Christ to die for us to have a sacrifice for our sins that permanently and completely satisfied the righteous claims of God.  But that death does us no good if we reject the simple but profound truth that Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.  I hope that as you read this, the truth that Christ did indeed die for our sins, brings you peace.  It does me!

Bruce Collins

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