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1 Corinthians
15:1-8

 
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 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.(ESV)

The Living Christ Speaks
Thursday of Easter 2
7 April 2016
The resurrected Lord stands behind the Word of God. He who lives lives still to speak to His Church so that she might know Him rightly. She knows Him as the crucified One who is risen. He rises not primarily for His own sake, but for ours. Though death cannot hold Him, His resurrection tells us about ourselves, our life, and our purpose in life. He is the firstfruits of those who sleep (1Co 15:20), who brings into life who follow through word and water. Our purpose is to have perfect fellowship with Christ who gives life.
 
Because we are the risen people following in the pattern of the first-risen Lord, we also share together in the gifts of the Spirit, given still through the risen Lord's speaking to His Church. He continues to speak, giving His children life and forgiveness by His Word. "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (Jn 6:63). Because He still speaks, He still gives life. The Spirit of life sent by Christ is also conveyed in the Word of God. It gives all because it is not a mere man's word, but God's own speaking. To find the resurrected Lord, then, we search the Scripture, for they testify about Him.

 

Martin Luther

"Paul extols and exalts the testimony of Scripture (1Co 15:1-4) and the external Word as he emphasizes and repeats the phrase 'in accordance with the Scripture.' To be sure, he does not do this without reason. He does this in the first place to resist the mad spirits who disdain Scripture and the external message and in place of this seek other secret revelation. And today every place is also teeming with such spirits, confused by the devil, who regard Scripture a dead letter and boast of nothing but the Spirit, although these people retain neither Word nor Spirit. But here you notice how Paul presents Scripture as his strongest proof, for there is no other enduring way of preserving our doctrine and our faith than the physical or written Word, poured into letters and preached orally by him or others; for here we find it stated clearly: 'Scripture! Scripture!'
 
"But Scripture is not all spirit, about which they drivel, saying that the Spirit alone must do it and that Scripture is a dead letter which cannot impart life. But the fact of the matter is that, although the letter by itself does not impart life, yet it must be present, and it must be heard or received. And the Holy Spirit must work through this in the heart, and the heart must be preserved in the faith through and in the Word against the devil and every trial. Otherwise, where this is surrendered, Christ and the Spirit will soon be lost. Therefore do not boast so much of the Spirit if you do not have the revealed external Word; for this is surely not a good spirit but the vile devil from hell. The Holy Spirit, as you know, has deposited His wisdom and counsel and all mysteries into the Word and revealed these in Scripture, so that no one can excuse himself. Nor must anyone seek or search for something else or learn or acquire something better or more sublime than what Scripture teaches of Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior, who died and rose for us." 

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians, 15.3-7
 
Prayer
Lord Christ, You live to give Yourself through the Word to the Church. Grant that through Your living Word I might live; trusting in no greater guide. Amen.
 
For Hannah Horstmeyer and her family, who were bereaved of her father, Mark, that our gracious Lord would grant them faith and confidence in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come
 
For the faculty and staff of Westfield House, Cambridge, that God the Lord would strengthen them in their callings
 
For all Christians, that they might rejoice in the life of Christ, not just for one day a year, but live in the Easter light every day
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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