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The Message of First Importance (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Mar 29, 2024 By: Johnny Dos Santos Topic: Sermon Devotional Scripture: 1 Cor. 15:3-4

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Chapter 15 of the first letter to the Corinthians is a beautiful exposition of Christ’s resurrection. Some commentators have called this chapter “the crowning glory of this Epistle.”

From verses 1-11, Paul speaks in the past tense (preached, received, believed). He reminds the church of the centrality of Christ’s resurrection in his theology and the Gospel itself. To Paul, this truth is of the first or utmost importance. Twice in verses 3-4, Paul tells the church that Jesus died and was raised according to the scriptures. 

The scriptures are the first witnesses of this great event in human history that would change the world forever. Then Paul lists Peter and the twelve as the second group of witnesses, followed by more than five hundred people to whom Jesus appeared at once. If some were still doubting the veracity of his claims, they could investigate for themselves since many of those who saw the resurrected Jesus were still alive. 

In a court, depending on the case, if the judge or jury finds an eyewitness account (under oath) credible, they can charge or convict someone with a crime based on the testimony of one person. However, if more eyewitnesses and their testimony corroborate, this will offer more conclusive evidence for the judge or the jury to charge someone with a crime. If Paul was standing on trial for speaking about the resurrection, he could call not one or two eyewitnesses but more than five hundred people to testify on his behalf, and their testimony would offer conclusive evidence that Paul was speaking the truth, that Jesus did rise from the dead.

The Christian faith is reasonable and yet supernatural. Reasonable because what we believe is true, and supernatural because salvific faith is a gift of God’s grace. The Gospel calls for more than intellectual consent to its claims; it requires faith. The Bible tells us that no one can approach or please God without faith. As believers, we are people of truth, reason, and faith. 

As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, let’s take a moment to reflect on the centrality of this event in the world, the church, and our lives. More than that, as God’s people, let’s offer him thankfulness and heartfelt worship because, as the song says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” We can face tomorrow with hope because, through faith, we have been justified and have eternal life, not because of works but because of God’s grace. 

What wonderful news! Jesus is alive; praise the Lord; death was conquered.