[Paul speaking] "...unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: 'It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.' "
Thoughts for Today:When I was 8 years old, like many boys I developed a fascination with magic tricks. Watching a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat, or perform a card trick, fascinated me. My ultimate all-time hero was Harry Houdini. So you can probably guess who I picked, when in third grade my class was asked to write a biography about a famous person.
I found out a lot about the man -- his background, his famous illusions and escapes, and one thing I found particularly interesting: throughout his career Harry Houdini spent a lot of time exposing mediums and psychics as frauds. Just prior to his death he became so concerned these con artists would try to contact him beyond the grave (using his death to further deceive the public), that he gave his wife 10 code words to repeat to verify his identity. Although seances continue to this day on the anniversary of his death, no one has ever been able to say the code words correctly. In this way, Houdini was able to continue debunking spiritualists beyond the grave.
In our passage today, Paul references his belief in resurrection and the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is unique in this well-documented historical event. He is the only person to not only make the claim ("Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days" - John 2:19), but also do it ("Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." - John 20:26-27). No myths, superstitions, illusions or magic tricks -- just the indisputable evidence of life after death. Houdini's death debunked claims of contact with the spirit word; Christ's death and resurrection proved His life, purpose and identity. Are you living as someone who knows the truth?
Questions to Ponder:Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:12-14, "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." I believe in the resurrection of the dead, do you? How significant is this to your view of life on this earth? Sometimes our bodies can seem so real, tangible and permanent, yet we know this world to be an illusion. Which world will you live for today, the one that will pass away or the one that is eternal?