For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3–4
Of all the teachings about faith and Jesus that Paul tried communicate to the churches he was in relationship with, the most critically important had to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus lives! Life is eternal! Everything has changed! That was the heart and soul of Paul’s message to the early Christians. Service to the poor, healing of the sick, working for social justice and equity all flowed from a belief that we don’t need to cling too tightly to this life. When we embrace the truth that life is eternal, we find we can loosen our grip on our possessions, on our desires, and on our compulsive need to always be safe. Resurrection can allow us the courage to move from a position of self-interest to a place of genuine interest in the needs and well-being of others. Paul believed that death did not have ultimate claim on us, which meant that Jesus could. We were created for life not death, hope not fear, love not hate, and joy not sorrow. This truth was of first importance to Paul, and he hoped it would be of first importance for us as well.
What is of first importance to you?
Lord, it is an incredible belief that is supposed to ground our faith. You live. Resurrection is real. Death does not win. While I know such a belief should change me and change the world . . . I am slow to be moved . . . and perhaps even slower to fully believe. I want to believe. I want to live without fear. I want to trust that life is eternal and that my relationship with You will endure forever. Help me to believe, help me to really live, and help me to claim that which is of first importance. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.