Our scripture this morning is 1 Corinthians 15:1-10.
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which 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 according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
Paul was very focused in his teaching, always presenting the death and resurrection of Jesus as primary to our faith. In this passage he also details those who were witnesses to the risen Christ, including himself. He always seemed reluctant to call himself an apostle because of his former acts of persecution toward the church.
He is a prime example of our struggle, the guilt we often feel for not upholding the Gospel and failing to love one another as Jesus taught. However, he is also a model for repentance and accepting God’s forgiveness, going where he was sent as the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul was able to forgive himself as well, something we must do also.
He closes with the fact that it is not really his doing, but “the grace of God with me” that enables him to accomplish these things. We must understand that by claiming the name of Jesus, the grace of God dwells in us too, calling us to go in His name to share the Good News. We are all His beloved children, commissioned by Christ to make disciples of all nations.
Loving Lord, help us to let go of the things that hinder us from being the people You intend. Bless us to be Your representatives to all the world. Amen.