"God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him." Acts 2:24
Jules Verne gave free play to his imagination when he wrote his novel "Journey to the Center of the Earth." To get to the center of things--to the heart and core of matters in life--is the concern of many people, sometimes for selfish reasons.
Isaiah deplores the greed of people who put themselves at the center of their world, leaving no room for others. They "add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and [they] live alone in the land" (Isaiah 5:8).
There is a right way--and a right reason--for penetrating to the center of a situation. We find Jesus doing this when He tells His hearers not to get lost in trivia to the neglect of the weightier matters of God's Word. He Himself represents the very center of God's revelation for our salvation. The same Isaiah points to Him as the redeeming Messiah, saying, "The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
The twelve apostles kept the sin-atoning, risen Christ and His cross at the center of their preaching. Saint Peter did this in his Pentecost sermon. At the heart of Saint John's testimony is this: God loved us and sent His Son as "the atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 2:2).
Certainly the thirteenth apostle, Saint Paul, knew what was the heart and core of the Gospel he proclaimed, writing to the Corinthians, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). The time came when he as a prisoner was taken on a journey to the center of the world: Rome, the imperial capital. There he "preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ," as Saint Luke states at the end of the book of Acts (28:31).
We are at the center of the Gospel when we believe, teach, and confess with Saint Paul: "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24).
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, keep me close to Christ, the heart of the Gospel, throughout my life's journey. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)