1CORINTHIANS 15:1-11 (NIV – UK)
The resurrection of Christ
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve 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 to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
OF FIRST IMPORTANCE
Paul now moves on to remind us of the Gospel – the whole of chapter 15 is centred on the good news that Jesus is risen!
Having journeyed with Paul through his letter, we might be struggling to catch our breath. He has covered a vast amount of ground on a variety of different topics – topics of high importance. But Paul wants to make clear now, at the end of his letter, what really is the central message he wants them to hear – what is of ‘first importance’ (v. 3). Not mildly important, but of first importance – life or death importance: ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’ (v. 3-4).
As Paul says, this is of first importance – it is non-negotiable – because this is the Gospel of our salvation and unless we believe this, we believe in vain (v. 2). Paul appeals to us to hold the Gospel of Jesus as of first importance in our lives.
Question: Do you hold the Gospel of Jesus as of first importance in your life?