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Hello Friends!

In I Corinthians 2:3, the Apostle Paul described his ministry in the Corinthian church by saying, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

At the end of the same letter, Paul drove home the reality of the resurrection by declaring, “If Christ has not been raise, your faith is futile… and we are of all people most to be pitied. But, in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.” (I Corinthians 15:17-20)

Those “bookends” around I Corinthians point to the great mystery that drives our Christian faith. I was once asked whether Jesus’ crucifixion or his resurrection was more important, but Paul makes it clear that the two cannot be separated. Without the resurrection, Jesus’ death on the cross would only have proven that he was the fraud and blasphemer that his enemies said he was. Without his agonizing death on the cross, the resurrection would have been a façade, a kind of play-acting with no significance.

The amazing truth is that Jesus’ crucifixion was both the greatest sin ever committed and the necessary means for God to forgive and save sinners. The resurrection did not overturn or reject Jesus’ death, but validated it and affirmed that it was not God’s curse upon him, but God’s mission for him.

This is the astounding, life-altering truth that is re-told each year during Holy Week and it’s great, of course; that so many people worship on Easter, but that provides only half of the story. If we have not stood at the foot of the cross, the wonder of the empty tomb is hard to perceive, just as the cross would be only depressing if we did not follow the women to Jesus’ tomb and rejoice at its miraculous emptiness.

If you have not joined in the whole cycle weekly worship; I urge you to enter into it fully this year. If that has been your practice, I urge you to continue it. As we walk with Jesus through His life and into the wonder of our salvation, we not only hear this good news, but experience it. We receive it not as mere information, but enter into it. It is not only another rehearsal of an old story, but the true way through which God works by the Holy Spirit to give us faith and new life. What a gift! What a privilege! So, I hope to see you in church!

In His Grip,

Pastor Mark             


 

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