I didn't count on this when I laid out this series for our Gospel study at Mizzou, but this passage falls on Holy Week and is perfect for the lead up to Easter. We are looking at the concept of the Gospel in reference to 1 Corinthians 15.1-8.
Paul’s discussion of the Gospel to the Corinthians is centered on the resurrection. Paul seeks to remind them of the message that he preached to them and which they received.
The content of Paul’s Gospel:
• Christ died for our sins (according to the Scriptures). We have to ask: What Scriptures? There is no specific reference that the Messiah would die for the sins of the people, but we have to take seriously the role of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52.13-53.12. In this passage we see that the “Servant” of God was “pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (53.5); “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (53.6); “the Lord makes his life an offering for sin” (53.10); “my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (53.11); and “he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (53.12).
• He was buried and was raised on the third day (according to the Scriptures). Jesus had compared his upcoming death to the ordeal of Jonah being in the great fish for three days (Matt. 12.39-40, thus an appeal to the OT. He later refers to the only sign that he will give them to attest to his standing and relationship with God is the sign of Jonah, perhaps a miraculous return from being “dead” for three days?). We can also appeal back to the Suffering Servant passage of Isaiah. We have seen that his was “crushed for our iniquities…cut off from the land of the living…assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death...” Yet, “he will see his offspring and prolong his days…after he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied…” There may also be a reference to the idea of the Rabbis that the body starts to suffer decay after three days. We see in several messianic Psalms that were applied to Jesus, that God’s “holy one” will not see decay (Psalm 16.8-11/Acts 2.27, 31-32). (There is also a reference in Hos. 6.2: “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” This verse was not used in the NT as a proof text for a third day resurrection, but it was used by the rabbis of the 2nd C. in terms of resurrection.)
When it comes right down to it, there are no explicit, exact OT references that fulfill these words of Paul. But the NT writers believed that the OT as a whole bears witness to Christ and his work.
I will post more about this passage later.