Saturday, February 13, 2016

Of First Importance

When the people of Corinth read Paul's letter that we know as I Corinthians, he was no stranger to them.  He had been with them, loved them, preached to them, and led them to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.  Paul was the one who enabled these new converts to bond together in the fellowship of the church.  In what we know as the Resurrection Chapter (I Cor. 15), we hear him saying to them, "For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received:  that Christ died for our sins..."  He could have started at another place.  He could have reminded them of the Bethlehem, or had they had the hymnals of today, he could have had them sing, "Tell me the stories of Jesus...scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,.."  but instead he started with the cross.

The cross still makes for a good starting place.  While we are more apt to want to sing "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" than "The Old Rugged Cross,"  it is also true that what we might want or prefer is not always what we really need.  Some years ago a popular movie about Jesus ran the theatres and the masses raced out to see it.  It portrayed the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus with such realism that many wanted to turn their eyes away.  However, the truth of the matter is that when we turn our eyes toward Jesus, we inevitably must see what we He went through on the cross for our sakes.

The resurrection is, as the scripture says, the central part of our faith, but there would be no resurrection on Sunday had there not been a crucifixion on Friday.  It is a mistake to rush by Friday to get to Sunday.  It may be a more pleasure filled place to stand, but unless we truly see and deal with what Jesus did on Friday, we will surely go on living as if sin is not such a big deal.  Sin is a big deal. When un-confessed it is the one thing which can separate us from God.  Is there any bigger deal?

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