My favorite Easter Scripture passage isn’t found in one of the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. It’s found in a letter that the Apostle Paul, the first great missionary of the church, wrote to a church he had started in the Greek city of Corinth. In the Bible, this first century letter is called “first (1) Corinthians.”
In the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul shares a list of people who witnessed the resurrected Jesus (including himself). Then he boldly confronts the idea already circulating in the first-generation church that resurrection from the dead was just for Jesus, but not really for anybody else. My favorite Easter passage comes at the end of all that.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57, NRSV)
Paul is openly taunting death! He is doing this not because of anything he can do about death. No, Paul is comfortable taunting death because of what God has done in raising Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul knows what we need to know: that resurrection is a God thing… that resurrection isn’t just about God raising Jesus from the dead that first Easter Sunday… that God’s resurrection power is available for what is dead in life here, now and forever!
This Easter season, as it was for Paul, so may it be for you and me!