1 Corinthians 15:6-8 (ESV) — 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.
The resurrection of Christ is the epicenter of the Christian faith. If Christ isn’t risen from the dead, there is no Christianity. Muhammad died, but Islam still exists. Buddha died, but Buddhism still exists. But if Jesus would have remained dead in a grave, then Christianity would not exist. Why? Because the basis of the Christian faith is that Jesus’ death paid for sins, and the evidence of that atonement is that He rose from the dead, demonstrating not only His victory over sin, but its consequences of death.
Our passage today provides us some of the evidence of His resurrection. We read Paul’s account of Jesus’ appearing to His disciples. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:6-8, “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.”
Paul writes about Jesus’ physical appearance to over five hundred brothers at one time. This means that Jesus interacted with a large group of people after His death. They saw Him. Those people were still alive at the time of Paul’s writing the letter to Corinth. Why does Paul give this detail? So the readers of the letter could go find these people and ask them if they wanted to. This is an important detail because the readers of this letter had never even met Jesus. They heard about His life, death, and resurrection, and they believed. But they had not been eyewitnesses. Paul is helping them realize that the people who did see Him are still alive.
He continues adding to the list of appearances. James, His half-brother, saw Him. This led to his conversion. Then Paul also saw Him. Paul did not follow Jesus before seeing Him. He persecuted the church for its belief in Christ. But when Paul met Jesus on the road it changed everything. He met the resurrected Jesus and encountered His power. His life changed forever. These words were written to help the Corinthian church know that their beliefs were not myths or fantasies. They were rooted and grounded in history.
Jesus lived, died, and rose again.
His appearances validate
the claims of the gospel.
We can believe them still today.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is the resurrection so central to Christianity?
- What do these appearances of Jesus do for the believers in Corinth?
- How can we be confident today of Jesus' resurrection? Why is it an important doctrine to remind ourselves of regularly?
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