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. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 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.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5
First things first
If you returned from the dead, who would you want to see first? What message would you want to deliver? In our reading, Paul shares the short version of the “Jesus diary” of accomplishments for human kind.
Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection put his followers into a tailspin about his person and mission. But Jesus returned to reveal himself to the apostles he personally trained over his three years of ministry. Jesus first appeared to Peter, the person who betrayed him. Then he appeared to the rest of the apostles who turned and ran from him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Which group would you fit? Would you be a “denier” or a “garden runner?” Who needed the most assurance of Christ’s forgiveness? Jesus chose to assure Peter that he was alive first. Perhaps it was because Peter felt responsible for letting his Savior down when Jesus needed his support.
“Of first importance”, Paul says, is this: “Christ died for our sins … was buried … was raised on the third day.” First things first, take your stand on those words! The one we hurt the most with our sins forgave us through his cross. Let that be your first thought every morning and last remembrance every night. With this understanding, may your appreciation grow for the one who makes YOU his first priority!
Prayer: Life-giving Lord, we praise you for giving us life at birth and then offering us second life through our baptism into faith. Your assurance of love through your death and resurrection constantly reminds us of your love for us and all humankind. Thank you for putting us first, so that through faith we can put you first in our lives and actions. Amen.