3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. 9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-9
I’ve always found this passage fascinating. If only we could hear from some of the 500 people who saw Jesus alive after his resurrection! We get to hear from some of them. Paul, Peter, and James give us Gospel-inspired words. Others do, as well. We can only imagine those who helped inspire writers like Mark and Luke who didn’t know Jesus personally but who were led by the Spirit and by eyewitness testimony. Did Jesus’s mother share her story? Did Mary Magdalene tell of her healing by Jesus to Luke? Did Lazarus talk about his walking out of the grave at Jesus’s command? The possibilities are exciting!
Over the past few weeks, we have been teaching through the book of Luke during our weekend worship gatherings. As a supplemental tool for discipleship, nearly 40 brothers and sisters from White Oak have contributed to a daily podcast. In these podcasts, men and women are reflecting on portions of their reading from the daily Luke reading plan provided by WOCC and sharing some of their insights and take aways from God’s Word. It is so refreshing and wonderful to hear from people from all walks of life, with shorter or longer histories as partners in ministry at White Oak, from young people… and from those who are slightly less young -- Each individual reflecting on God’s Word and then leading the listener to reflect with them and apply God’s truth to life.
This reminds me of these 500 witnesses to Jesus’s resurrection. I can only assume that these people were forever changed by the promises of God fulfilled before their eyes. I can only imagine what stories they told and/or acts of service they performed quietly behind the scenes or publicly before others. Because of our 40 White Oak people stepping out to share the Good News, I am reminded of the diversity of voices in Jesus’s Church. I am reminded of the multitude of gifts, talents, and experiences which serve Jesus’s Church. I am learning from them. I am being served by them. I also teach, influence, and serve my brothers and sisters.
I wonder how many of us (and our kids, our grandkids) need to remember that the Church of Jesus really is one body with many parts (1 Corinthians 12). Each and every one of us has a voice. Each and every one of us has talents and gifts to share to build up the body to full maturity in Christ. What if we viewed our connection to the Church body as the place and relational center for our voice to serve, lead, teach, and disciple? What if we saw our place in the church as the gathering where we used our hands to serve others?
The Spirit is at work in us as we glean from God’s Word the mysteries found in Jesus which he is revealing to us. Church isn’t the place where we do all our learning and growing. Disciples of Jesus seek those things in the ways in which we study, love, serve, and apply God’s Word through the power of Jesus in our personal time. The Church is the environment where each voice and body comes together for the mutual benefit of one another. We share what Christ has done and is doing in us with others.
There are, now, far more than 500 people who have experienced the resurrected Jesus! You’re probably one of them. Have you been sharing, serving, giving, and leading like it?
Catch the daily White Oak Luke podcast by clicking here.
Sharing with you,
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church