I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriiptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriiptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
The new Christians were not to have any Gospels for twenty or more years, and the earliest would seem to be Mark's Gospel, written a year or so before Paul's letter to the Corinthians. But during this time stories were gathered together orally and passed down from the disciples to new converts.
In this little passage above, we have Paul's recollection of his understanding of the Resurrection. It's beginning to sound like a statement of faith - a Creed! The official Creeds were not to appear for hundreds of years, but it's likely that Paul was using his words above as a distinct statement of belief within a few years. He says quite clearly that Christ (ie the 'anointed one' - the Messiah) died, was buried, and rose again!
Today, some Christians want to dismiss the Resurrection, but ultimately it's a question of faith. For me it's also a question of how much can you dismiss from the Creed, before you're left with nothing?
may we learn
to think about what we say
when we recite our Creed in worship,
that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again
in accordance with the scriptures,
for the forgiveness of sins,
and may we continue to look for
the new life that is to come.