They saw Him!!


 Paul reminding the church in Corinth of the whole key to their faith – the resurrection of Christ.  
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  Paul is always exhorting the believers to stay in the Gospel of Jesus, to not forget how it is they are saved. 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.   The resurrection of the Messiah was predicted in the Old Testament scriptures, and for Paul that is the most important witness.  Two examples of the foretelling are – “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah‬ ‭53:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  This one even specifies the Christ will himself be the sin offering for His people.   Also, the OT says – “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬, predicting the death and resurrection on the third day.  This one refers to the raising of us, further predicting our joining in the suffering, death and resurrection through our faith and our sacraments of baptism and communion.  
 
These (and many more) predictions in the Old Testament are more key for Paul, but probably not for us.  We are much more interested in verification and knowledge than faith and belief, so maybe these next verses were included for our future age.  First, in the above passage, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.   The resurrected Christ was actually witnessed in His resurrected body.  They didn’t simply take it on faith.  When they were first told, they didn’t even believe.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  He appeared to more than 500 people at one time, many of whom were alive when Paul wrote this!  In other words, many of the people who would read this (or, more likely, hear it read), would possibly actually know some of these witnesses personally.  They could talk directly to them and know that this happened.  It was not just a rumor, myth or ancient story.

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.   James, half brother of Jesus, refused to believe until he actually rose from the dead until he himself saw Him.  He appeared to all 12 apostles.  Paul doesn’t even mention the 125 in the book of Acts.  Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.   And, finally, he appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road, bringing about the conversion of the church’s biggest opponent.  It was this appearance that set the tone for what God was really doing – bringing salvation to the entire world, not just the Jewish world.  Saul of Tarsus was not just in opposition, he was waging a religious war against those who believed Jesus was the Messiah.  Persecuting, arresting, stoning, he was going to end “The Way”.  Instead, he met the resurrected Christ and became the greatest of the Apostles.  

There are many theories and stories that attempt to discredit and disprove the resurrection of Jesus.  Some say His body was stolen, some say he never actually died on the cross, some say the wrong man was hanged on the cross.  Some try to claim these hundreds of people all had the same hallucination overs and over, at different places and different times.  None of these theories stands up to any logical reasoning.

The resurrection happened.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead, appeared to hundreds of people in different places at different times.   The only real question is – what does it mean?  It means we had better pay close attention to what He said…



“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:1-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/1co.15.1-11.esv

John Lewis

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