It appears that Paul intends to use the testimony of many eyewitnesses to prove the historical truth of the Resurrection. Amongst these witnesses he names Peter, the disciples, and more than 500 other followers of Christ. Despite his previous persecution of Christians, Paul includes himself in the list of witnesses who were blessed to see the resurrected Lord. Resurrection from the dead is not easy to believe for many people, hence the need for eyewitnesses to corroborate the facts. Our loving God, knowing our doubts, supplies hundreds of witnesses.
Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is a central pillar of Christian faith. Each time we recite the words of the Nicene Creed, we acknowledge our belief that “on the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures.”* During the celebration of Holy Communion, we repeat the words “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”** As Christians, we live in the hope and belief that we, like Christ, will be resurrected into the kingdom of God because God has promised that we will.
Today’s passage reminds us of the sacred moment in time when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, that crucial moment when we decide to become followers of Jesus and we promise to “hold firmly to the word” (niv). In our everyday lives, how do we transmit these sacred words of life? How comfortable are we in telling our family, our work colleagues, or our friends the good news that Jesus lives, is crucified, dies for our sins, and is raised from the grave after three days?
What evangelism program has your congregation undertaken in the last five years?
*umh, 880. **“A Service of Word and Table I,” umh, 10.
Loving God, give me the courage and the words to be your witness this day. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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