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He rose—and there were many eyewitnesses!

November 4, 2023

Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

3 I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, 4 he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. 5 He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, 6 and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me, as if I were born at the wrong time.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus ended the parable about not pushing your way to the best seats at a feast by saying that if you deferred to others, “you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.” As we saw yesterday, not everyone who heard Jesus would have agreed with that. 1 Corinthians 15 was the first witness written about Jesus’ resurrection. Paul shared as “most important” the witness he’d “received,” and then described how meeting the living Jesus transformed him. He said if it weren’t true that Jesus overcame death, Christian faith was worthless. Scholar C. H. Dodd wrote, “The Resurrection of Jesus is not a belief that grew up within the church; it is the belief around which the church itself grew up, and the ‘given’ upon which its faith was based.” *

  • Jewish or Roman authorities could have easily stopped early Christian preaching: just display Jesus’ dead body. They had all the police and military power to find the body. They didn’t because they couldn’t—Jesus was alive! How can Paul’s confident mention of hundreds of eyewitnesses (still living as he wrote) deepen your trust in the reality of Jesus’ resurrection? What difference does it make to you that Jesus is alive today? “There are two ways to look at human history. One way is to focus on the wars and violence, the squalor, the pain and tragedy and death…. If I take Easter as the starting point, the one incontrovertible fact about how God treats those whom he loves, then human history becomes the contradiction and Easter a preview of ultimate reality. Hope then flows like lava beneath the crust of daily life.” ** Which view do you choose: history as a hopeless story of violence and pain, or as a sad (but passing) stop on the way to God’s ultimate victory won by Jesus’ resurrection?

Lord Jesus, you are my Lord and my God. You are my Creator and my Redeemer. Because you live, I too will live forever. I thank you and I praise you today. Amen.

GPS Insights

Sheree Reece

Sheree Reece

Sheree Reece joined the Resurrection staff in 1999 but took 7 years off to homeschool her now 3 adult children. She returned in 2011 to mix her love for Jesus with her love for those on the margins by joining the Global Impact team. Meeting incredible leaders from around the globe bringing about personal and community transformation has been life-changing. Oh, and if anyone says something can’t be done, she says, “challenge accepted.” (Her version of Nelson Mandela’s “It always seems impossible until it’s done” or the Bible’s version--“nothing is impossible with God”–Luke 1:37)

Often it’s easy to get caught up in this life. We are so distracted by our calendars, the news, meeting our basic needs, social media, and even following popstar romances with the hometown hero.

Many years ago, I gave my life to Jesus. And when I say that, I don’t mean just that I mentally decided he was my Lord and Savior, but that He was who would rule my life physically. How I live my life, the profession I choose, the things I do would all depend upon what I felt Him calling me to do.

This is ultimately how I ended up doing the hardest job I’ve ever done… homeschool my kids. You may read that and think being a rocket scientist or brain surgeon is more difficult, but I’d like to respectfully disagree with you. In those professions, you get time to think, time to talk to other adults, and time for yourself. As a homeschooling mom, the only time I had to myself was when I was in bed sleeping. (As most moms know, even going to the bathroom is not sacred self-time. Kids have an innate ability to know when a mom disappears and then they immediately need something that cannot wait even a second to be resolved. They must speak to you right now.) And looking back, I would not change one difficult moment I was able to spend with my children for anything in the world. But alas, I digress.

Living our lives in the here and now is important but it’s easy to forget what comes next. Jesus rose from the dead. We must be present with the people in front of us but also remember Jesus came back to life. We must remember this especially on days when we wonder if this world can be any more hopeless. Earthquakes in Afghanistan, wars in Ukraine & Israel/Palestine, civil unrest in the Congo, mass shootings in the US, fires in Maui, cyclones in Malawi, global pandemics, cholera in Haiti, and the list goes on and on. I work in our global ministry often responding on behalf of our generous congregation to these many crises, and sometimes I forget that this earth & these problems are all temporary. I forget that for a few short years (100 if I’m lucky) God is calling us to share His light and love on this earth. That for maybe 36,500 days we are called to give others hope when they feel hopeless. If we’re lucky, for 876,000 hours we are called to be a friend to someone who is hurting. And hopefully, for 52,560,000 minutes, we need to listen for understanding instead of talking to convince someone we are right. That’s it. After that, we get to bask in God’s glory, sing hallelujah, and live in immeasurable love, peace, and joy as we spend eternity together in a place more beautiful and majestic than we can even begin to imagine.

How many days, hours, minutes do you have left to do whatever it is God is calling you to do before He calls you home and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? This life and all of its troubles may seem long, but just like homeschooling, it will pass by in the blink of an eye. One day, you will look back and think it was worth every difficult moment.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* C. H. Dodd, The Founder of Christianity. London: The MacMillan Company, 1970, p. 103.
** Phillip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Publishing Company, 1995, pp. 219-220.