Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Resurrection Verified by Eyewitnesses

“He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
1 Corinthians 15:5–7

Paul also builds a case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by giving the evidence of eyewitnesses. The testimony of eyewitnesses has long been considered one of the strongest and most reliable forms of evidence.
The first person Christ appeared to after His resurrection was the apostle Peter. Now, remember, Peter had denied the Lord three times just a few days earlier. Yet Jesus had selected Peter to be the leader of the apostles, so it made sense that the first person He appeared to was Peter. That appearance transformed Peter forever. It gave Peter the courage to be a bold defender of the Christian faith, to be willing to give his life for Christ. How do you explain the metamorphosis that occurred in Peter? The only way to describe it is that he had seen the resurrected Christ.
The resurrected Jesus appeared not only to Peter but also to “the twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:5). That’s a reference to the apostles. Now, when Christ rose from the dead, technically there weren’t twelve apostles; there were only eleven. Remember, Judas had hanged himself and Matthias had yet to be selected. But “the twelve” was the title they went by.
After that, Jesus appeared to “more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain”—that is, they were alive at the time Paul was writing—“but some have fallen asleep”—that is, they had died (v. 6). Jesus Christ appeared to five hundred people at one time. We don’t know the circumstances of that appearance, but Paul said those people to whom He appeared are well known. Some of them were still alive, so the Corinthians could talk to them if they wanted to get firsthand testimony.
Do you ever stand in the supermarket line and look at those tabloid magazines? I’ll confess, some of them grab my attention every now and then. You’ll read these fantastic headlines, like someone spotted Elvis at a Walmart or at McDonald’s. Has anybody ever fallen for that? Does anybody really believe Elvis is alive? There are people who hope he is alive. But if it came down to it, would anybody be willing to give their life for that fact? On the other hand, what if five hundred people all said, “We saw Elvis Presley. We saw him here.” And not only that, these five hundred people were willing to say, “We believe this so much, we are willing to die for this.” Now, that would cause you to think again about whether Elvis Presley was alive, wouldn’t it?
Here were five hundred people who said that they believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ was alive. Not only that, but the resurrected Jesus also appeared to James, his half-brother. James didn’t believe his half brother was the Lord until Jesus appeared to him in His resurrected body. Then James became one of the leaders of the early church and wrote the epistle we have in our New Testament.
The resurrection of Jesus is proven by the testimony of the many eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after He rose from the dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment