Going Deeper 04.02.2021

The second reading for Easter Sunday... 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

There have always been those who deny the historical truth of Jesus' death and resurrection.  And they are free to make that conclusion.  God has never forced His children to believe or to obey.  However, when the disbelievers want to ridicule those of us who believe that: Jesus was the Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a life of extraordinary service, did a lot of miracles/signs, offered authoritative teaching, suffered at the hands of the leaders of His own people, was crucified under the authority of Rome, died and was buried, and rose from the dead... we are led to see that ridicule as being quite ridiculous.  There is significant evidence for the truth of the Gospels.

And that includes Jesus' death and resurrection!

Some of the strongest evidence is found in this reading.  Paul's letter to the church in Corinth was written within a few decades of the events summarized above.  Notice that Paul lists here--and expands the list of names elsewhere-- some of the names of those who were eyewitnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus, pointing out that Jesus had appeared to more than five hundred people.  If these stories were doubted, these numerous eyewitnesses could have been consulted and the supposed legends debunked.  But instead, the Kingdom of God grew rapidly, based upon the testimony of those who had seen it all with their own eyes!

This is significant evidence!  Yet it is still not airtight.  People are free to disbelieve.  To believe continues to take faith.  But as we revisit these stories over the next few days, we do well to trust that they are indeed true and celebrate what this truth means.  After all, the mission of Jesus brought about our reconciliation with our Creator Father.  We are children of God... and that changes everything!!

With You in His Family,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"