Today is the day we tell the story. We know it as the greatest story on earth. It is the story that changed the history of humanity, and the story that continues to change our lives every day as we relive and retell this story. It is the story of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is the Easter story, and we are an Easter people.
Ok, so you know the story. You know how Jesus, God Himself, was born as a poor little babe in a manger stall. You know how his parents had to run for dear life so King Herod could not find and kill him. You know how he grew in grace and knowledge and that he found favor with God and humankind. You know that he called disciples to follow him and that they traveled around the countryside. You know that Jesus taught with power and authority, fed the hungry, healed the sick and worked miracles.
And you know that he suffered and died a horrible death on the cross, taking all our sin and shame on his body so that we can have eternal life with him and share in his glory.
And you know that miracle of all miracles, Jesus was raised from the dead and lives and reigns over all creation forevermore.
Yes, that’s the Easter story – the greatest story ever told.
So if we know it so well, why do we have to tell it again and again?
You know the folks in that big bustling Greek city of Corinth could have been asking themselves this same question. They knew the story as well as you and I do. But something was happening.
You see, the church in Corinth was smack in the middle of a busy and robust Greek culture. Greeks were generally philosophical and cynical about life. They didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. Because this mindset was so prevalent, folks in the Corinthian church began to forget, or even worse, became confused about this most important part of our Christian faith.
So they needed to be reminded; they needed to have a few major points cleared up. They needed to hear the Easter story again. And Paul wrote them to tell it.
You know, I can’t help but think that we find ourselves in the same situation as the Corinthian church. Our own culture thirsts after knowledge, and philosophical points of view. And don’t we, too, especially when life becomes particularly difficult, begin to have second thoughts or doubts about what this resurrection stuff is really all about.
Thank God for Paul and all his writings that have been preserved down through the ages.
Paul gave the church folks in Corinth 3 proofs the Easter story is for real – these proofs put us in good stead yet again.
Proof #1— (vv. 1–2) their salvation. Paul had come to Corinth and preached the message of the Gospel, and their faith had transformed their lives. Christ’s resurrection was a really important part of their faith. After all, a dead Savior cannot save anybody. Just like us, Paul’s readers had received the Word, trusted Christ, been saved, and were now standing on that Word as the assurance of their salvation. Standing firm in the faith is proof that their faith was genuine and not empty.
Proof #2—(vv. 3–4) the Old Testament Scriptures When Paul wrote “according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3) he was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures. Much of the sacrificial system in the Old Testament pointed to the sacrifice of Christ as our substitute and Savior. The annual Day of Atonement (Lev. 16) and prophecies like Isaiah 53 would also come to mind. Christ’s life, death and resurrection have fulfilled the prophetic word of God in the Old Testament.
Our New Testament scriptures continue to attest to the reality and truth of Christ’s resurrection. “Christ died... He was buried... He rose again... These are the basic historical facts on which the Gospel stands (1 Cor. 15:3–5). “Christ died for our sins” That’s the why of the Easter story; the how, where and when are the historical facts. It really happened and was recorded in history
And Proof #3—(vv. 5–11Christ was seen by witnesses). On the cross, Jesus was exposed to the eyes of unbelievers; but after the Resurrection, He was seen by believers who could be witnesses of His resurrection (Acts 1:22; 2:32; 3:15; 5:32). Peter saw Him and so did the disciples collectively. James was a half brother of the Lord who became a believer after the Lord appeared to him (John 7:5; Acts 1:14). The 500 plus brethren all saw Him at the same time (1 Cor. 15:6), so it could not have been a hallucination or a deception.
And one of the greatest witnesses of the Resurrection was Paul himself, for as an unbeliever he was soundly convinced that Jesus was dead. The radical change in his life—a change which brought him persecution and suffering—is certainly evidence that the Lord had indeed been raised from the dead. Paul made it clear that his salvation was purely an act of God’s grace; but that grace worked in and through him as he served the Lord. 
And that’s where Paul’s Easter story converges with our own. As we live the story, standing firm in our faith, believing the Scriptures, believing the first hand witness accounts of the early church folks actually seeing Christ in his resurrected body, we too must tell the story. That is the challenge of Easter.
How will you and I tell the story? There are many ways to tell it – through words, through actions. It doesn’t matter how you tell it as much as that you tell it. As you tell it, God will be in it. I hadn’t really thought that could be true until I heard this true story:
In Tewin churchyard, a short distance from King’s Cross Station, in England, stands a great four-trunked tree growing out of a grave. Its presence there has given rise to much speculation among the residents of that section. The grave from which it grows is that of Lady Anne Grimston.
Is the tree a monument to a woman’s disbelief or did it happen to grow there merely by chance? Nobody knows.
Lady Anne Grimston did not believe in life after death. When she lay dying in her palatial home, she said to a friend, “I shall live again as surely as a tree will grow from my body.”
She was buried in a marble tomb. The grave was marked by a large marble slab, and surrounded by an iron railing. Years later the marble slab was found to be moved a little. Then it cracked, and through the crack a small tree grew.
The tree continued to grow, tilting the stone and breaking the marble masonry until today it has surrounded the tomb with its roots, and has torn the railing out of the ground with its massive trunk. The tree at Lady Anne Grimston’s grave is one of the largest in England. —Pastor’s Manual
That true story tells me that God will tell the Easter story whether we are willing or not. But I can’t help but feel so sad that Lady Anne missed the real joy that telling the Easter story would have brought her and to those whom she might have told.
Oh Church, let us enter into the true joy of Easter and tell the story again and again and again. Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Christ is risen indeed!
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (1 Co 15:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). #5028 “A Tree Out Of Her Grave,” Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.