Paul uses the phrase “…just as the Scriptures said…” twice in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 because he is seeking to emphasize that Christ’s death, burial and resurrection occurred precisely as the Old Testament Scriptures predicted they would.
In short, Jesus’ death fulfills prophecy.
Consider for a moment what the Old Testament predicted about the death and burial of Jesus:
- Jesus would be crucified. Psalm 22 provides an amazing level of detail about Jesus’ cry to His Father from the cross, the jeering of the crowds, crucifixion itself and the gambling for His clothing. (See verses 1, 6-8, 14, 16 & 18 and compare them with Matthew 27:33-46). The startling fact is that this Psalm refers to crucifixion 500 years before it was introduced as a form of punishment by the Persians.
- Jesus would be buried in the grave of a rich man. The intensely moving description of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 also describes how “…he was buried in a rich man’s grave.” (v9) and Matthew 27:57-60 records the fact that the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea petitioned Pilate for the body of Jesus and buried Him in his own tomb.
- Jesus died for our sins. Without doubt, this is the most important aspect of all, with the weight of the Old Testament prophecies declaring this fact; it is picked up by the writers of the New Testament and Paul underlines it for us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Jesus died to set us free from our sins.
Is it true?
It has been mathematically calculated that the chances of these and the hundreds of other prophecies being fulfilled by chance in one person is impossible. The evidence is strongly in favour of the fact that Jesus died for our sins “…just as the Scriptures said.”
This is a hopeful truth we can confidently put our faith in!
For further reflection: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12