“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.” 1 Corinthians 15:3,4
1) The Apostle Paul (writing to the Corinthians) did not invent the gospel message. He ‘received’ it, from God directly and from others who had a first-hand encounter with CHRIST.
2) He passed on the gospel message. Good news is for sharing, isn’t it? Our challenge then is to use all the means possible to get this gospel to others. It is of FIRST importance.
3) The gospel centres on the work of Jesus Christ, not on our response, not on the life change it brings, but on CHRIST. CHRIST died, HE was buried, HE was raised.
4) The Scriptures predicted this good news. Paul, who had been trained in his studies of the Old Testament, had grasped the essence of the Old Testament Scriptures. From Genesis – Malachi (our version of the O.T.), from the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, God had been building an expectation for the coming CHRIST (Hebrew = Messiah).
Consider a few “Resurrection” texts with me on this Resurrection Sunday.
Psalm 16:9-10 “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.“
Psalm 118:17 “The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”
Was Psalm 118 the ‘hymn’ which Jesus sang with his disciples to close the Passover meal? Surely the CHRIST could sing, “the LORD – JHWH” is with me; HE is my helper. Does HE not this day in resurrection power look in triumph on his enemies?
Pilate’s direct order seems laughable! “Take a guard,” Pilate answered, “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” Did the chief priests and the Pharisees have the “know how” to securely keep CHRIST from rising? “VAINLY they watch His grave, Jesus, my Saviour, VAINLY they seal the dead, Jesus, my Lord… Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes…. Hallelujah! CHRIST arose.”
Happy Easter, everyone! “The Lord is risen.” “He is risen indeed!”