Week 12 Devo – FRIDAY

Passing on the Creed of Hope

The Resurrection narrative is found in all four Gospels (Matthew 27:62–28:20; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20–21; Acts 1:1–12) and the book of Acts. Therefore, if you ask Christians where to find the best evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection, most people will point you to the Gospels. The Gospel writers are excellent sources, but they are not the earliest sources for the Resurrection of Jesus.

The apostle Paul is our best and earliest source for understanding when Christians came to believe in the bodily Resurrection of Jesus. Paul also detailed why we can hope for our limitless resurrection bodies. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul passed on the most important and earliest Christian creed, a formal statement of Christian beliefs. He said:

For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. —1 Corinthians 15:3–7

Based on this Scripture, what do Christians believe about the Resurrection?

What creeds (more broadly defined, perhaps a mission statement or set of values) does your church or small group have?

The source material for this creed is the oldest in the New Testament. It stretches back to within weeks of the Resurrection event itself. The scholar James Dunn is “entirely confident” in stating that the tradition behind the composition of 1 Corinthians 15:3–4 was “formulated . . . within months of Jesus’ death.”

Do you ever need help remembering things you just did or learned? Why do you think the Corinthians needed to be reminded of basic facts about the Gospel? Why do we?

In what ways and places can you be reminded of the depth of the Gospel?

These early creeds preserved the Christian faith before the New Testament was written. The very first Christian generation did not have a Bible as we know it today. Therefore, these early creeds and hymns were extremely important in teaching the basics of the faith.

Paul didn’t invent this creed. How do we know that? He said, “I passed on to you as most important what I also received” (v. 3). Paul was passing on a tradition that predates his letter to the Corinthian church – what early Christians came to believe about the Resurrection and when they believed it. Paul received it from Peter, James and John (Galatians 1:18–20).

Paul passed it on because the Christian faith is meant to be passed on. The Resurrection isn’t something for us merely to ingest all the facts and hold on to ourselves; it is to be shared. Creeds are repeated and shared because they distill the essentials of faith into a memorable few words.

There’s no better way for us to end a study on the hope we have in the Resurrection today than by committing to do as Paul did and passing on the hope of the Resurrection to those who need it.

What is your most significant takeaway from our four weeks together studying the Resurrection?

Who in your life needs the hope that you have? End the study praying for them, and plan to share the hope of the Resurrection with them in the coming days.