“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.“ [1 Corinthians 15:3-8]
We often focus on so many secondary issues when it comes to following Jesus. We think on so many secondary issues when it come to our lives, but ultimately one thing matters. “For I passed on to you as of first importance”.… FIRST importance. He is saying, other church matters are important, doing this and doing that matters, but here is WHAT IS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE:
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins! We were guilty because of sin, yet Christ came and took the punishment on our behalf. He was buried and raised on the third day. Christ was buried and then he came back to life!! He was crucified and then by the power of God’s spirit, He was raised to life. This proves to us that all of God’s wrath against sin was poured out and that through relationship with Jesus, we will be raised to life.
Paul here is taking all of the secondary issues that we put so much emphasis on and he is saying, only one thing is of the utmost importance, Jesus Christ and him crucified. Paul says this earlier in his letter in chapter 2. “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Paul is reminding us that we must only know one truth, and that is that the Christ Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
Take a minute and make a list of things that you have put above God. Think of things that you have given time to instead of God. Think of ways you have cared more about things other than God. What are secondary church issues that you have found yourself thinking or more than the Gospel? Now take that list and rip it up. Declare that all of these things fall at the foot of the cross. Jesus died to tear down division amongst us in the body. We are called to be unified and build our lives on one principle, and that principle is what Jesus Christ did for us. One time I saw a quote from Charles Spurgeon, the theologian, he said, “I can summarize my theology in four words, Jesus died for me.”
If you are doubting the power of the cross to transform our lives then simply look at the life of Paul. Paul was stoning Christians to death and hated everything about them, yet he encountered Jesus and look at who he became; he ended up writing over half of the new testament! How could he go from the person he was to who he became? Only one explanation, the Gospel is true.
If you are reading this, and you have put so many other things on a platform rather than simply Jesus and what He has done for us, ask God that he would make Jesus the desire and delight of your heart. Ask God that He would show you what is of first importance, which is Himself.
God, I pray that I would be gripped by the Gospel. I pray that I would never take for granted what Christ did on the cross. Thank you for loving me so much God! I pray that I would understand just how deep your love is for me. Amen.