By Brooke Holt
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, 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 at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” - 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Have you ever taken something quite simple and made it into something quite complicated? Truth be told, I am not the most accomplished cook. Yet, instead of sticking to the basics of a recipe as I should, I tend to think I can add a little of this and maybe a little of that. With all my extras, I often end up with a more complicated recipe, a big mess, and a mediocre finished product. Frequently, I remind myself to stick to the basics and to trust the recipe.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers to remind them of the basics of their faith. They, too, had added some unhelpful things to the Gospel message Paul had preached to them. Like me in the kitchen, they were arrogant in assuming they could add or take away whatever felt right or more palatable to them.
Paul will remind them of the things of first importance in the Christian faith: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). They could forget everything else and focus on these essentials and thrive in their Christian faith. In fact, that is what Paul called them to do—throw off their understanding to embrace God’s truth and the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
And these were not just essentials to Paul but to all the apostles. The resurrection of Jesus was not an idea that circulated among them but a proven fact. Jesus appeared to Peter (Cephas), to the 12 disciples, to a larger group of 500 followers, to James, to all the apostles, and lastly to Paul. That many people would not have conspired to lie about a resurrection from the dead. Instead, their very lives were changed by that reality and truth. James was the supreme example of that. James was Jesus’ brother and like the rest of his brothers, James did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God until he encountered the resurrected Jesus. From there, everything changed. James became the primary leader in the church and gave the rest of his life to building the kingdom of God.
These essential truths were and are the foundation of the church!
Are there basic teachings of the Christian faith that you need to go back to today, to allow them to shape your faith, your understanding, and your hope? These things of first importance are true for you today! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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