Of First Importance

Have you ever seen someone come back from the dead? No?

Me either.

But if it could be proven that someone actually did come back alive after they died, that would be earth-shattering. It would be utterly paradigm-shifting news.

Which is what Paul recognized, and he stated it clearly. “This is of first importance,” the apostle states.

Jesus died. He was buried. And then, on the third day, he was raised.

But it didn’t end there. He made one appearance after another, showing himself to be alive. More than 500 people were ultimately included in the group that became eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. That group included Jesus’ own brother, James, as well as the apostles, and even Paul himself. Certainly, these were people who knew well who they were looking at when they saw him.

Paul says that this is the gospel — the good news — that he had preached to the Corinthians. It’s the message upon which the Corinthians had built their faith. And it’s the communication that would ultimately be the very thing that led the Corinthians to be saved for eternity.

It’s of first importance that we hear and believe this good news too. Because more than 500 people say that the resurrection of Jesus was real. And if Jesus rose from the grave following his brutal death on the cross, well then, we will rise too through faith in him.

Jesus’ resurrection is our guarantee of forgiven sins. His resurrection is our hope that with his help and in his strength, our lives really can change for the better. Best of all, his resurrection is our assurance that eternal life in heaven is waiting for us after our short sojourn here.

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, NIV).

Lord Jesus, thank you for the victory of the resurrection. Thank you for all the blessing that your rising from the tomb guarantees to me — the forgiveness of my sins, the power to rise from the spiritual death of sin to live a new life here on earth, and the amazing hope of being with you forever in eternal life. Send me your Spirit, and change my heart, because it is of first importance that I deeply trust all this as fact.

Our Bible reading for Saturday, August 22, is 2 Chronicles 16:1 – 18:27, 1 Corinthians 15:1-34 and Psalm 102:1-11.

Header image based on "Thomas Doubts 3" by Waiting for the Word, CC By 2.0