1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (NRSV)
Chapter 15Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, Verse 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you-unless you have come to believe in vain. Verse 3For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, Verse 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, Verse 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Verse 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Verse 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Verse 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. Verse 9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. Verse 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them-though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Verse 11Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
Even the apostle Paul had his doubts and expresses his unworthiness to stand in the presence of a God of such great mercy and grace. When Paul refers to himself as “one untimely born,” he uses harsh language to contrast his own worth in the presence of the wondrous gift of the God’s resurrection of Christ. But still he recognizes that by God’s grace he is able to stand with confidence in God’s presence. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain.” Paul puts his trust in God’s grace, not in his own self-assessment. That grace empowered him to pass on what he had first received: the great good news that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day. Death does not have the last word! Who passed this good news on to you? With whom can you share this life-changing news?
God of grace, in your wisdom you spread knowledge of your great love by the fragile witness of imperfect saints. Thank you for those who have spoken your love and mercy into our lives. Help us to cling to the good news that death does not have the last word, and help us to live according to that truth. Amen.