Of First Importance

The Apostle 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…  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Some years ago, Mary and I were able to enjoy a holiday in Israel. That holiday reminded me that the events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are rooted in space and time. We saw the garden of Gethsemane where he suffered in anticipation of his great sacrifice for us. We walked the

Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering that led to Calvary. We saw where the mount of crucifixion might have been and the place of the garden tomb.

Personally, I felt closest to Christ, not in the great city of Jerusalem, but in Galilee where he grew up, where he taught in the synagogues and on the hillsides, and where he appeared to his disciples following the resurrection. My most profound sense of the presence of God was in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. That great place of worship marks the occasion when the angel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to a son, Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)

In a Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown and Linus are standing next to each other, staring at a star-filled sky. “Would you like to see a falling star?” Charlie Brown asks Linus. “Sure…” Linus responds. “Then again, I don’t know,” he adds, after some thought. “I’d hate to have it fall just on my account.”

In the book Parables of Peanuts, Robert L. Short reminds us a star did fall on our account. God came down to us as Jesus: like a lamb led to slaughter, He died on our account. He died so that we might know God’s love and forgiveness, and he rose again to conquer death forever. I am more amazed than ever at the grace of Jesus, who gave himself for us on the cross.  And I am more convinced than ever of the truth of his resurrection and its life-changing power.

 

Love in Christ,

 

Rev. James