The gospel is like a sparkling, multi-faceted gem. When we consider Jesus’ journey to the empty tomb, no matter how we turn it, we observe its beauty while other breathtaking aspects are hidden from view. The apostle Paul trains a spotlight on this life-changing message in these opening lines of “the resurrection chapter.” In four brief statements, he points to gospel essentials.
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” You and I bask in the reality of the substitutionary death of Christ!
Paul also includes the reality that the Son of God was buried. There were, you see, no doubts about His death in the minds of both His advocates and His adversaries. Those who celebrated His execution gladly surrendered the body to the whims of those who grieved His passing as they sought to give His body a proper burial. His death was confirmed by burial.
And then came another gospel essential . . . He was raised. That’s right, after three days, the tomb was empty. He was alive. He talked. He ate. He proclaimed the kingdom of God. He prepared His followers for their future ministry.
And the final facet of the gospel that the apostle relishes is the fact that He was seen. Eyewitnesses gave confirmation to the reality of the resurrection. Women, disciples (including doubting Thomas), and two men on the road to Emmaus were among the more than 500 people who witnessed Him alive after the resurrection.
And, as if that is not enough, even Paul, the author of these lines, had his own encounter with the post-resurrection, living Christ! His writing about the resurrection was not just hearsay based on the testimony of others. Paul could personally attest to the veracity of the resurrection because of His own encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. The resurrection is a glorious facet of the gospel . . . attested to by people who saw the risen Christ!
This gospel is why we celebrate communion together. We remember all that Jesus the Risen Christ has done, we bask in the life He has given us and we celebrate the promise of eternity with Him as we celebrate communion. Perhaps you celebrated with us last evening. If not, will you join us today at 11am or 6pm?
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