It’s the resurrection, stupid
1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
1 Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 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.
3 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, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards 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. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
Let’s remind ourselves why we believe in Jesus, to borrow part of a phrase from President Clinton, it’s the resurrection stupid! This is the story that has captivated believers and non believers down through the ages. If Jesus of Nazareth really rose from the dead then something amazing is happening in our world. Could God be renovating his creation?
The Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians argued that Jesus was ushering in God’s new creation. The first man Adam messed things up, the new Adam has come to clean things up and by the Spirit of God at work in the lives of messed up people turn them around into what can only be described as new creations.
Now that’s a lot to think about but there is one practical implication if we believe this to be true, we will inevitably begin to explore what it means to live and grow in the power of the Spirit, since it is the Spirit at work in us bringing us to a new birth, others are bound to see the changes.
I spoke with the renovator
She didn’t know much about resurrection
But she told me
She didn’t paint over the varnish
She stripped the furniture back
To the bare wood
Then dismantled every piece
Cleaning and renewing
As she went along.
Then she put two undercoats of paint on every piece
Before screwing it together again
It’s the paint you can’t see that makes the finish.
Once it’s back together again, she continued,
I usually give it five coats of paint
Sanding each coat down
Before applying the last
It takes time
It’s a process
Turning an old piece of furniture
Into a new creation
Perhaps It could be like a resurrection? she said
As I walked away I thought to myself
She knows more theology than she thinks she does.
Perhaps you’ve planted resurrection seeds in all our souls?