In 1 Corinthians 15, verse 3 (ESV), Paul emphasizes the importance of this particular section of his letter by saying, "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received" and then goes on to talk about the importance of the Resurrection of Jesus. I heard this today as part of an Easter message. It set me off taking notes and considering a couple other things that came across my desk and mind today.
Paul is emphasizing the idea that this concept of Christ's resurrection is absolutely central to the Gospel. Everything leads up to that singular event. It kicked down the door set on the two hinges of incarnation and crucifixion and forever changed the "rules". This concept equates Christ's death to the scriptural requirement for atonement under the Law. Yet it goes far beyond that temporal sacrifice that wouldn't last. It provides a permanent solution to the age old problem of persistent sin and death. It provides a completed substitutionary propitiation - a replacement of my life for that of Jesus. Paul basically "doubles down" on this statement in verse 14 where he pens a contrary statement that if the resurrection didn't happen, then all of life is vain (Solomon's chasing of the wind).
John Eldridge, in his book All Things New tells us that "Jesus Christ is the forerunner for the Great Renewal, “the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18). He died, as everyone has and will. But on the third day he was raised to life, leaving his grave clothes folded neatly in the tomb. (A very touching detail, I might add, as if to say, “And that’s that,” like a man putting away his flannel pajamas now that winter is past.) Easter morning Jesus walked out of the grave radiantly alive, restored, and everyone recognized him. The “new” Jesus is not someone or something else now; he is the Jesus they loved and knew. He walks with them, had meals with them—just like before. The most striking thing about the post-resurrection activities of Jesus is that they were so remarkably ordinary." I think that rather succinctly describes the one who the late Brennan Manning referred to so often as "Easter Man".
My Crooked Path means something more than a life lived well to me because I walk it beside the Easter Man, my Divine Brother Jesus. On a bright Easter morning, that ought to put a smile on my face in a very genuine way. The Resurrection ushers in the assurance of the Great Renewal. Easter Man, the ultimate "super hero" blew the doors off Death once and for all.
The traditional French Easter greeting, "L'amour de Dieu est folie!" rings true. That Love of God which looks like "folly" to those who choose not to believe looks like life to me. I can live with that ... I truly can.
He is Risen Indeed!!