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March 14

1 Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you?—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
I Corinthians 15:1-4

Here the Apostle Paul, along with all the other Apostles, carefully roots the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the ancient prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures. The consistent, harmonious testimony of the Apostles is that Jesus died for our sins “according to the Scriptures” and that Jesus was raised from the dead “according to the Scriptures.” All this happened, they are saying, according to the eternal, predetermined, and preannounced plan of God for our salvation.  Jesus did not die then, a well-intentioned but helpless victim at the hands of Rome.

Jesus did not die in self-immolation as protest against the establishment. Jesus died “for our sins.” And Jesus died for our sins just as the Old Testament prophets had said he would and led us to expect. It was just as the prophet Isaiah foretold about Jesus eight centuries earlier: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Here is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, clear, unadulterated, without human admixture or dilution: Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead, according to the Old Testament Scriptures. This we believe.

The Gospel is not something for us to do, but something already done. The Gospel is not a demand, but a supply. The Gospel is not a command to try harder, or be better, but an invitation to rest in the Good News proclaimed to us.

The Scottish preacher Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) spoke the Gospel truth when he said: “Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another’s life, another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.”  Amen!

MEDITATION

Soaking in Scripture…
Today’s Andy Moments…

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