April 24, 2017


1 Corinthians 15:1-20

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

—  1 Corinthians 15:14

A friend of mine enjoys three-dimensional wooden puzzles. He says the key is to find the “lynchpin,” one piece that unlocks the pieces and allows him to solve the puzzle.

This same friend calls 1 Corinthians 15:14 “the lynchpin of the gospel.” As Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

Without the resurrection, we have nothing on which to build our faith. All we have is a famous person who taught noble ideas about life and an ethical system on which to build our society. But that’s just for this life. Without the resurrection, we have no hope for surviving death. And if that’s the case, then why bother believing in Jesus?

Paul goes on, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” And in the first sermon of the New Testament church, Peter preached, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we all are witnesses of it” (Acts 2:32). Paul wrote that the resurrected Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time.”

As we look back on Easter, we are called not only to profess our faith that Jesus was raised but also to understand that this is the lynchpin of our faith. Everything hangs together on Christ’s resurrection!

Lord Jesus, your resurrection is the lynchpin of our faith, our reason for living, our hope for eternal life. Keep us firmly fixed to the fact that you are raised from the dead. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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