I Corinthians 15:1-34
What a weird passage.
Verses 3-8 sound like a pretty good defense (or at least retelling) of the passion and resurrection. Then Paul continues to insist that the dead must be raised, because Christ is raised.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
I Corinthians 15:19
I start to get confused at verse 29, baptizing people on behalf of the dead. What on earth is that about? I suppose it must have been some kind of early church thing for people who were looking ahead to Christ and living in faith but never had the chance to know that He had arrived?
In the end, the point of the passage is entirely clear, even if the details are not: Christ is raised, and we will be raised to new life along with him. This life is not the end, or all there is.
“Zerubbabel … made a beginning…”. Make a beginning. Rejoice that the LORD has had mercy and grace on you thus far, to allow you to make that beginning. Lament for your sin, and what you have lost in your sin, but make a beginning.
Expect that the world will find you seditious and rebellious against it. If it does not, you are not Jerusalem.
”… We are the servants of the God in heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.”
God uses Darius. Darius’ wealth, power and position, as well as Darius’ fear of death (verse 10), are at the LORD’s disposal to do His will… even though Darius (as far as we know) did not worship God. You are at the LORD’s disposal, to do His will. Will you do it gladly, in worship?