Advent: Day 13
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first 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, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 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. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV)
In this Christmas season, where we are focusing on the birth narratives and the coming of Christ in the Incarnation, we turn to probably the earliest creed of the church. In it, Paul describes the elements of the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. He emphasizes the reality of the resurrection by presenting all the eye witnesses in the early church who were still alive. He is saying, literally, “If you don’t believe me go ask them, check it out!” The resurrection was central to the preaching of the early church. It was the back bone of their life and practice. The resurrection gave them assurance and hope. It gave them the power to lay down their lives!
My friends, Christmas is a wonderful time of year but we must never lose sight that the Jesus of Christmas is also the Jesus of the Cross and empty grave. In this Christmas season, let us rejoice that we have a Saviour who laid down His life, only to be raised again for us. Thank you Jesus!
Prayer: Jesus, as we focus on you in this Christmas season, help us to be mindful that your life lead to victory over death and the grave. By your resurrection, we have the hope of our resurrection. We look forward to that day, in our resurrected bodies, of living with you, enjoying you and glorifying you forever. In Jesus' name – Amen.