Of first importance
“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.” 1 Cor. 15:3-6a
As you read these words, Easter was observed about three weeks ago. It has been nearly eight weeks since the shutdowns as a result of the COVID-19 virus began. It is mid-March as I write these words. You know better than I can see ahead what has transpired over this time. Did schools reopen in April? Have restrictions on public gatherings over 50 been lifted? How close has COVID-19 come to you or your loved ones?
In times of prosperity or adversity, one constant theme runs through the Holy Scriptures. It shapes our thought, piety and eternal life. Of first importance is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus lives! He appeared to Peter, the twelve and then more than 500 at one time. Jesus lives and because He lives, you shall live also (John 14:19).
When you were baptized, you died with Jesus on the cross. You were buried with Him in the tomb and in an instant, you were resurrected with Jesus. All this is from God to you. Here you were named a child of God and an heir of life everlasting. Here you received,
an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:4-7
Hopefully all that the precautions regarding COVID-19 caused for you were a temporary shortage of household paper goods and having to eat takeout rather than dine-in at your favorite restaurant. Many workers have been unable to collect full paychecks, let alone customer tips.
Perhaps COVID-19 has been as bad or worse than was feared at the beginning. One hope remains sure. Jesus died, was buried and rose again for you. Your future is in His hands. He will bring you through the valley of the shadow of death into His eternal presence where there is joy and gladness forever.
This is of first importance.
Rev. Timothy Scharr