What is the Gospel? The word gospel means “good news”, but what is that good news? Is it that God loves us? Is it that He has a wonderful plan for our lives? Is it that He will help us through our tough times? While all of these are true of God, Paul in this chapter clearly defines what the Gospel is. It is the gospel that he preached to them, that they received and the gospel that they stand by and “By this gospel you are saved…” Paul writes: “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…” The GOSPEL is the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins! It is foundational!
The rest of the chapter is devoted to the truth of the resurrection – which is key to the “good news” of the Gospel! You can go to the graves of every founder of every other religion and, as my Dare 2 Share friends say, “Unless someone dug them up and sold them on E-Bay, they will still be there.” The tomb where Jesus was buried has been empty for nearly 2000 years. No one has ever found His body and no one ever will because HE IS ALIVE!
Paul writes that after Jesus rose from the dead that “He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers 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.” Acts 1:3 says “After his suffering, He showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” The Resurrection of Jesus was no flash in the pan, hey did this really happen kind of thing. Tons of peeps literally saw Jesus alive again and they saw Him as He hung out for over a month! It was real – He was dead, and now He’s alive.
Then Paul explains how important the resurrection is to our faith. Some denied the resurrection – the Sadducees (that’s why they’re “sad you see”….he, he). Anyway, Paul then gives some deductions: Ok, if there’s no resurrection, then Jesus is dead. And if Jesus is dead, then what I’m preaching to you is worthless and so is your faith. And we’re false witnesses. AND – Big one here – if Jesus is not alive, “Houston, we still have a sin problem!~” We’d still have a sin issue that somebody needs to pay for! Conclusion: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…” Easter is true! We serve a LIVING God!
Finally, Paul anticipates some questions concerning what our resurrection will be like: Our bodies will be real bodies but with one big difference – no sin. Now, how all of that works out, we have fewer details. But you’ll be you and I’ll be me, only without sin! Paul’s conclusion: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
*After today’s reading, could you explain what the Gospel is to a friend? Have you ever done this? Is there anything that is keeping you from doing this today? Go for it – and I will too!!!
*What close friend or relative do you know who has died recently? IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT that hey are looking over your should as you read this!~ You’d turn around and be totally freaked out that they are alive! That’s how it must have been for those who saw Jesus! AND THEN He hung out with them for a month! How would remembering this each day affect the way you live? The way you witness to others? Lord help us to daily remember Easter, to daily remember YOU ARE ALIVE!
*Verse 58 tells us that living for Jesus is not a waste. Want your life to count? Give up the things of this world for the treasures of heaven. Cool God Stuff!!!