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Jesus' resurrection central to the gospel’s good news

February 23, 2024
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Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 15:9-14

9 I’m the least important of the apostles. I don’t deserve to be called an apostle, because I harassed God’s church. 10 I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing. In fact, I have worked harder than all the others—that is, it wasn’t me but the grace of God that is with me. 11 So then, whether you heard the message from me or them, this is what we preach, and this is what you have believed.
12 So if the message that is preached says that Christ has been raised from the dead, then how can some of you say, “There’s no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there’s no resurrection of the dead, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. 14 If Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

NOTE: The GPS usually offers 5-10 verses of Scripture. If you’d like to dig deeper than that, Pastor Hamilton says, “Join me during Lent, as we focus on Paul’s messages, to read the 13 letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament–the earliest documents of our New Testament.” Click here to download our reading plan that will allow you to read all of Paul’s letters between now and Easter.

When you hear or read a message, there are two key questions: 1) is the messenger credible? and 2) is the message true? This matters today, and it was even more true in Paul’s day because they didn’t have modern technology. They couldn’t use the internet to “fact check.” When the Christians in Corinth heard today’s passage, they would have heard two things loud and clear: 1) Paul the Apostle was a credible messenger, and 2) without Jesus’ resurrection, other preaching and faith are pointless.

  • Paul referred to himself as the “least important” apostle. He went on to say he didn’t “deserve” to be an apostle. In fact, we know Paul may have been the most influential apostle of all. How did Paul’s humility show his awareness that God had turned him from the church’s #1 enemy to its #1 champion? There will never be another Paul, but God calls you to be a messenger today. In what ways can you be a “credible messenger” for Christ today with your thoughts, words, and actions?
  • People in Jesus’ day didn’t have modern science or technology, but they were not “dumber” than you. Paul knew rising from the dead sounded as crazy to people then as it does to many today (cf. Acts 17:31-32, 1 Corinthians 1:21-24). Yet he said, “If Christ hasn’t been raised… our preaching is useless and your faith is useless.” Have you reflected on how crucial it is that Jesus defeated death? How can the fact of Jesus’ resurrection give you renewed confidence for life’s challenges?
Prayer

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

GPS Insights

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook serves as the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

This is such an interesting passage for me to ponder alongside you today. Lately, it’s been heavy on my heart that so many of us tend to make ourselves smaller. We make ourselves smaller by believing we aren’t smart* (*insert any other hurtful descriptor here) enough, by believing others could do things better than us (just because they aren’t us), by falling prey to imposter syndrome, by comparing ourselves to everyone around us, by not living fully into who God created us to be and the unique calling he placed on our life.

So was that what the apostle Paul was doing when he said he was “the least important” of the apostles? Not really. “Apostle” was a weighty, important title in the early church. To be an apostle you had to have met the risen Christ, and Paul had (though later than the other apostles). I think today he might say he was the “least likely” apostle, because of his history of persecuting Christians before Jesus met him (if you don’t know the story, it’s in Acts 9:1-20). He was showing true Christian humility, but that did not mean making himself smaller. Being an apostle was a big deal!

But too many Christians think being humble means being small. We make ourselves smaller when we believe that others inherently deserve to take up more space than we do and that there is no possible way God might have tasked us to do great things, too. What has been breaking my heart lately is that so many of us feel this way because we’ve been told this. Over, and over, and over. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told to be quiet? That you don’t know what you’re talking about? That something is above your paygrade? That you needed to step aside and let someone else take over?

God calls us all to be humble servants of His kingdom but does not call you to be small. He calls you beloved. He calls you a messenger of the greatest news. He calls you chosen. He calls you a trusted child. Let’s step into that high calling. What would your life look like if you truly believed that you were called to use your voice and your talents, in your given place, to share the gospel? To shine the light of Christ? To point others toward Him? Christ made us in His image, so what if we allowed ourselves to be seen that way? What if we lifted one another up instead of tearing one another down along the way?

I think that if we all did these things, and allowed others to do them as well, this world would look so much kinder, so much more hope-filled, and so much more like God’s vision. Somehow, I’m pretty sure there would be plenty of space for each of us.

© 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.
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