1 Corinthians 15:16-20 - For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Jesus have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Well, Daily Devotioners, since we were last together, the Italian police have broken up a drug gang which needed some quick cash. Deciding to expand its horizons, the gang elected to steal the body of Enzo Ferrari from its tomb in Modena, Italy.
For those who don't know, Ferrari designed and built cars ... very expensive cars.
The gang thought the Ferrari family and company would pay a bundle to have Ferrari's remains returned. Sadly, at least for the thieves, just as the plan was being put into motion, the officers closed in and shut things down. More than 34 people were arrested in the Ferrari caper.
Ferrari is neither the first, nor will he be the last, corpse considered valuable enough to steal.
Historians say no less than five separate and unsuccessful plots to steal the body of President Abraham Lincoln were uncovered.
In March of 1978, the body of the actor Charlie Chaplin was taken, and his family was told to fork over half a million dollars to get it back. Chaplin's widow refused because she thought her husband would have found the idea of paying a ransom for a dead body, "laughable."
All in all, it goes to prove a dead body can be a valuable thing.
Two thousand years ago in Jerusalem I imagine the high priests and the members of the Sanhedrin would have paid dearly for the body of the crucified Christ. If they had been able to point to Jesus' corpse and say, "Here He is," they could have shut down the Christian church right then and there.
Today, it is not much different. Think about it:
1. All around the world there are governments that are jealous of Jesus. They want their people to put their trust in the nation's leaders, not the risen Redeemer.
2. All of us would agree there is more than one global religion that would be downright giddy if they could put Jesus' body on display, if they could undermine the faith of Jesus' billions of followers.
3. Then, of course, there are the many modern thinkers who would love nothing more than to have their doubts about the resurrection of God's Son proven to be right.
I am pleased to report all their longings will never be more than wishful thinking. St. Paul said it rightly: "In fact, Christ has been raised from the dead." Not in imagination, but in fact. And because Jesus' resurrection is a fact we can be certain that all who believe on Him will not perish but have forgiveness and everlasting life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in spite of what millions might hope and long for, I give thanks that, in fact, Jesus has risen and, in fact, I am saved. For this I praise Your Name. Amen.
The story upon which this Daily Devotion is based was written by Alex Johnson for NBC News on March 29, 2017. The website where the parent article can be found is: href=www.nbcnews.com/news/world/italian-cops-arrest-34-race-foil-plot-steal-enzo-ferrari-n740356?cid=eml_onsite
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries