Easter 2024 - "He Appeared Also To Me"



Well, it's Easter, how about that?

We should do the Presbyterian Easter Cheer---He is Risen! (He is Risen, Indeed!)

Presbyterians cheering---that's something that only happens on special occasions, am I right? You should take a picture. 

First, I want to acknowledge the story we tell today because I'm not preaching from that story today, but I will discuss resurrection a lot.  

The story so far... 

There's a reason we tell this story over and over. We need to hear it, be reminded of the stories that define our faith tradition, and constantly read them with fresh eyes. 

Resurrection---it's an impossible thing. 

This aspect of the Christian faith really hangs up some people. Many things hang people up, but this one is pretty big because it's the central thing that those of us who call ourselves Christians claim is foundational.  

The idea that someone could be dead for three days and then rise again is kind of impossible. 

Or is it? 

Think about it: a universal rhythm of dying and rising is embedded in... well, everything.  

We also seem OK with the idea that other realities, histories, and universes might exist.  Quantum physics teaches us the possibility that there are even universes in the very matter that we experience around us. 

So what if there is much more to this story of Resurrection?  

Look, I won't preach an entire sermon about all the reasons I believe the Resurrection is possible. Instead, I'm going to take a different route.  

The passage of Scripture we will read today was written by the Apostle Paul—before any of the Gospels.  

He’s writing to people who are struggling with the concept of resurrection and who are also struggling to believe that someone who persecuted Christians could be one.  

But Paul had an encounter with the Risen Christ that changed him… 

In fact, he had two of them. 

A bit about Paul

So here's what I want to focus on today. The Resurrection isn't something that took place; it's something that is taking place all around us, within us, through us, and all the time.  

GOD IS STILL IN THE RESURRECTION BUSINESS, AND BUSINESS IS GOOD 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

1 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[a]: 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,[b] 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.

First, the Bible was not the foundation of the Christian faith.  There was no Bible when Paul was writing.  In fact, it was completely formed in the 600s.

The Bible isn't the foundation of the Christian faith even now; it's the Resurrection, just as Paul taught. 

"Of first importance" highlighting the concept of Resurrection as foundational. 

Paul quotes what scholars believe to be an early Christian creed that early Christians would have recited. 

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.
As one "untimely born" ektroma abnormal, no chance of survial

"But by the grace of God, I am what I am" - He used to try to kill Christians, which is a pretty big turnaround. 

Paul was not out to prove the resurrection but to relate his experience and share what he had “received.” 


How Do We Experience the Resurrection Today? 
1. “He appeared also to me…” Our own experiences and stories
2. “But by the grace of God…” Grace that brings us back to life 
3. “This is what we preach…” We share the hope that there is more

GOD IS STILL IN THE RESURRECTION BUSINESS AND BUSINESS IS GOOD 

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