The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Death of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3)
The death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is one of the best-attested facts in history that is almost impossible to doubt or deny. Moreover, it is attested and recorded by several independent, non-Christian sources and historians such as Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Thallus (Samaritan-born historian), etc.
Why did Christ have to die? Ever since the first Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been under the condemnation of sin. The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23) and spending eternity in a place of torment away from God. Everyone is guilty of sin and deserves punishment in hell (Matthew 25:46).
God loved the world so much that He made way for man to be forgiven of their sins and receive eternal life in heaven (John 3:16). God sent His Son Jesus Christ to take on the penalty upon Himself through death on the cross to satisfy God’s justice and guarantee the salvation of everyone who believes (John 3:15).
The Burial of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:4a)
Jesus’ burial is an integral part of the gospel because it was an assurance of the reality of His death and resurrection. The fact that He was buried verified His death. How do we know that Jesus died? We know it because He was buried. Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who is a secret follower of Jesus Christ, buried him in his tomb (Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:50-53 & John 19:38-42).
The testimony of the actual death of Jesus is so important because if there were any doubt Jesus died, there would be a doubt as to whether the Father actually had meted out His wrath on Christ. Death is the penalty pronounced on sinners (Romans 6:23), and death is required for atonement (Hebrews 9:22). If Jesus had not died, we would have no assurance that God’s justice was satisfied and no foundation for believing that our broken relationship with the Father was restored.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:4b)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most significant event in human life which led to our great salvation. It gives credence, reality, and authenticity to the Christian faith. The resurrection is the core foundation by which Christianity stands or falls. The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins. Moreover, those who have died believing in Christ have perished.
The resurrection is victory over sin; it has destroyed sin and the grave and set humanity free from the bondage of sin and disease. This means that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead sets the believer free to live a new life that destroys sin in his life and has gained victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
The Appearances of the Risen Christ (1 Corinthians 15:5-8)
The appearances of the risen Christ to His disciples and a group of people are as important as His death, burial, and resurrection because it verified His resurrection and, more importantly, it has become the driving force for His disciples and followers to start proclaiming His resurrection. Without the postmortem appearances of Jesus Christ, the disciples would not have believed that He was alive.
You see, the disciples felt devastated and defeated after the crucifixion. However, after their encounter with the resurrected Christ, they were transformed from being frightened, discouraged, and despondent to being bold, courageous, and outspoken.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the message of the good news of salvation offered to humanity by grace through faith in the finished works of Christ on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a message of eternal life and God’s entire plan to redeem humanity from the ravages of sin and death, from Satan and the curse that is upon all the earth.