“and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:4)
There should be no sweeter words in the Christian’s ears than, “and he was raised…” For it is the raising of Christ that assures our hope. Had Jesus not risen, there would be no afterlife, there would be no promise of the resurrection, and there would be no assurance of our justification before God. Were that the case, we would be a sorry fellowship indeed. But he was raised! Jesus is alive! And he has promised us that on the last day he will raise us up with him! Oh, what a glorious day that will be!
And all of this happened according to the scriptures. The prophesies of the Old Testament which speak of the Messiah all point to the person of Christ. There was nothing that he did that was outside of the scope of God’s plan, and there was nothing in God’s plan that was meant to be a total surprise. It is all laid out in the Old Testament scriptures. The reason that it was such a surprise is that the people of Jesus’ day were not putting the puzzle pieces together properly—they were trying to force pieces together that did not belong together to make the puzzle turn out their way. Of course, this is not how God works.
Yet, are we not guilty ourselves of trying to put God in a box or to make his puzzle pieces fit like we think they ought, rather than how God designed them? Do we not have a tendency to tell God how he “ought” to do things? Oftentimes we are just as guilty of interpreting scripture according to our own preferences.
In the end, Paul is driving the Corinthians to remember the first things, or primary doctrines, of the faith. Yet, in doing so, he deliberately ties it all to scripture. It would do us well to keep that principle before us at all times. God’s word is our only rule for faith and practice; it is the only guide that will keep us on a straight path. As a people, we must affirm the things that God’s word affirms and deny the things that it denies—of course, to be able to do this, we must constantly have God’s word before us so that we know what it affirms and denies! But, if we would be faithful to make God’s word our foundation in all things, we would fall into much less error in the doctrines that we hold.