Paul kind of goes on and on today. He’s writing to the Church at Corinth. Apparently some members of the Corinthian Church are saying that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead. Of course, Paul has firsthand experience with the resurrected Christ so he takes the dissent pretty seriously.
Even in the first century, when there were still people alive who had seen Jesus and witnessed His death and resurrection, it wasn’t always easy to convince people of what they’d seen. You have to admit, to a non-believer it’s a pretty hard story to get your mind around.
So today, Paul is telling the Corinthians that they can’t have it both ways. If Jesus isn’t risen from the dead then you’re not going to be raised either. If there is no resurrection from the dead, then Jesus isn’t raised from the dead.
If Christ isn’t raised from the dead then Paul’s teaching is empty and so is the Corinthian’s faith. He repeats the whole thing a second time and tells them that if his teaching and the Corinthian’s faith are empty then the dead are just dead. That’s all.
But Paul’s not just speaking about Christ’s death and resurrection here. There are certain basic truths, articles of faith, that we must believe if we are to follow Christ. The first is that He’s the Son of God. That goes without saying.
The second is that He died and on the third day was risen. That’s what Paul’s talking about today. If you don’t believe it, you’re not a Christian. You may believe whole-hartedly in an all-powerful God and Creator, but to be a Christian, you have to believe in Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s non-negotiable.
There are other things that are also part of the deal. Some you have to believe. Others, not so much. Mary is Jesus’ mother. Joseph is His step-father. We must live by the Ten Commandments and the beatitudes and the Golden Rule. Those are all facts.
Other things, like the three kings who came bearing gifts for the infant Jesus, are a little different. We don’t know how many kings there were. There were three gifts, so most people believe that there were three kings. But, you don’t have to believe that if you don’t want to. All we know for sure is that there were more than one.
But, I’m getting off the track. The point that Paul’s making for us today is that Christ has risen from the dead. Obviously Paul couldn’t prove it and neither can I. No one can. We believe it because God has given us the gift of faith. We believe things that can’t be proven.
Sometimes it’s a challenge, especially when others are denying the things that we believe in. That’s when we need to pray that God gives us an even stronger faith.
Today is Friday and I have to say that for the first time since I retired I can actually say TGIF, than God it’s Friday. Thank you for your patience this week. Father will be back this weekend, hopefully rested and refreshed from the priests’ gathering at Lake of the Ozarks.
Next week, I’ll be gone on retreat. If you want to know the difference between a priest and a deacon, the priests go to Tan Tar A, I’m going to spend four days in the woods in Kentucky. On the other hand, the only person I’ll have to listen to next week is the Holy Spirit.
Seriously, I’m looking forward to a few days of peace and quiet. I’ll be praying for all of you while I’m gone and I hope you’ll pray for me. Have a great week!
Filed under: Church teaching |