Sadly the cross sits largely ignored most of the year. Decorating stages and baptisteries and steeples, the misrepresented symbol of Christianity. Some mistakenly think the cross is what sets us apart from other world religions. But, the power of the cross comes in what followed, the conquering of that death.
Many people died on crosses in Jesus' day, but no one accomplished what He did in doing so and rising again, proving He is God.
Each day should contain time of reflection on the sacrifice Christ paid on the cross, and each day should be lived in celebration of the victory He claimed over sin and death as He rose again on the third day.
Could I possibly narrow my focus to just one verse of this great chapter as I mull over the resurrection?
I actually heard two sermons on this chapter this week. They both compelled me to focus on different aspects of the resurrection. One reminded me of the great conviction of the disciples who all died a martyr's death for this doctrine. The other reminded me of all the great truths that hinge on my confidence in the resurrection.
To sum up I Corinthians 15, if Christ did not rise then:
- we have no hope of resurrection
- my spreading the gospel has no purpose
- our faith has no focal point
- our sins remain unpaid for (daily the guilt and shame multiply, unforgiven)
- my loved ones are not waiting for me in heaven
- we are pitiful
- we may as well live it up, because this life is all there is
- there is no eternal inheritance.
But, in fact HE IS RISEN, so:
- We also have this hope of resurrection if we place our trust in Him
- We have a driving purpose to not keep silent about the Good News
- Our faith has a living center
- Our sins are paid in full, we stand in His righteousness
- Heaven will be an amazing reunion of Christians (so many people I can't wait to meet again and for the first time in heaven)
- We are a new creation, as God has made us so
- We have a purpose in living (just as Mary knew as she sat at Jesus' feet)
- Eternal rewards await us at the end of this life.
And, we live with hope, purpose, determination. The chapter then ends this way:
55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
~I Corinthians 15:55-58~
HE IS RISEN INDEED!