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. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

 

It was such a blessing for me to walk through the season of Lent, posting devotions each morning that had been written by people from Faith Lutheran Church. Young people and older people. Men and women. Newcomers and old-timers. Each day I felt a little rush of encouragement, not merely from what they wrote, but from the opportunity to see the people I serve sharing their faith with others.

 

That is how the church came to be. The explosion of the resurrection sent shock waves down through history which continue to work their way through people’s lives. That is what the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians. Jesus appeared and then continued to appear through eye-witnesses and then through I-witnesses, people who had been so captured by the Holy Spirit working through the witness of others that they too found themselves caught up in the story.

 

I don’t remember when I read 1 Corinthians 15 for the first time, but I will never forget how these words hit me somewhere along the way, “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.” Those words made Paul real for me because those words describe my life. And I’ve come to learn that I would rather be the least of the followers of Jesus then to be blindly doing life on my own.

 

Let us pray: Dear Lord, continue appearing to us. Continue coming to us through the words and deeds of those following you. Number us among those willing to carry your message to others in the new lives that you have given to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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