Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
1 Corinthians 15:1-15
Two thousand years ago something happened. It’s undeniable. How else do you explain how a rural Jewish carpenter came to be worshipped and followed by billions of people all over the world? Yes, something happened. But what? According to the Apostle Paul, a resurrection, a rising…THE RISING happened! A man, claiming to be God was crucified, died, and was buried. However, three days later, He did not do what you and I would do, which is stay dead. No! Three days later He rose! And not in secret, not in silence, but He rose and appeared to over 500 people at once. Yes, something happened and this something changes everything.
I mean, just take a look at Paul. This guy made a living persecuting believers and trying to destroy the Church. He hated Jesus and hated his followers. The idea that a man – a man claiming to be God, no less – was raised from the dead, and thousands of people were following His teachings daily, drove Paul insane. That is, until Paul came face to face with the resurrected Jesus. (See Acts 9:1-6)
He was stunned, literally stopped in his tracks. And while it humbled him, he couldn’t have been more thankful to have been wrong! Ironically, meeting Jesus, a man raised from the dead, showed Paul that he was actually the one who was dead.
Paul didn’t go from a persecutor of the Church to a church planter because he thought it would be a good career move, or because he thought the Gospel was just some inspiring story. Paul’s conversion came for no other reason than he experienced an event. Paul experienced The Rising.
Have you experienced the Rising for yourself? If so, when, and how has your life changed as a result?