Journey into Joy Series — The Proclamation of the Appearances of the Resurrected Christ

Number 14 in a devotional series using as a resource the book, Journey Into Joy, by Andrew Walker.  This 14th devotional was added to the series to replace chapter 3 which we skipped.  It also serves as a conclusion.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

What key questions and unusual observations did you note as you read the passage? 

 

What is the content of the early Gospel that Paul preached according to this passage?

How does this content compare to the early preaching of Peter?  (Acts 2: 22-39; 3:13-20; 10:34-43)

What appearances that we have covered are mentioned by Paul and what appearances are not? 

Does Paul list any appearances that are not in our series or listed elsewhere?

How does Paul differentiate Christ’s appearance to him from the other post-resurrection appearances?

Why does Paul list these appearances?

What are their implications for understanding the passage?

What is the content of the early Gospel that Paul preached according to this passage?

Paul’s Gospel

Christ died v.3 The fact of Christ’s death and the circumstances of it were part of the early preaching
for our sins v.3 The interpretation of the meaning of Christ’s death came from Christ himself. He died for the forgiveness of our sins.
According to the Scriptures vv. 3,4 It was very important to the early preachers for their hearers to understand that what it happened was in accordance with the prophecies of earlier Scripture.
He was buried v. 4 The fact of his burial confirmed his death.
and raised the third day v.4 His resurrection was the earthshaking part of the news.
He appeared to many witnesses vv. 5-8 This news needed confirmation from the witnesses. So the record of the appearances of Christ to the wood this is was an important part of the early Gospel preaching.  In fact telling about his post-resurrection appearances was fundamental to being a witness to Christ.

 

How does this content compare to the early preaching of Peter?  (Acts 2: 22-39; 3:13-20; 10:34-43)

Paul’s points
1 Cor. 15:1-11
Peter in Acts 2 Peter in Acts 3  Peter in Acts 10
  V. 22 Jesus attested by miracles   v. 38 – doing good and healing
Christ died v. 23 v. 15 v. 39
for our sins v. 38 v. 19 v. 43
According to the Scriptures vv. 25-31 v. 18 v. 43
He was buried v. 31    
and raised the third day v. 24, 31, 32 v. 15 v. 40
He appeared to many witnesses v. 32 v. 15 Vv 41, 42
  Exalted v. 33 (Ascension) Healing came by faith in Jesus v. 16  
  Holy Spirit poured out v. 33 Jesus to return v.  20 Jesus appointed as Judge v. 42
  Jesus made Lord v. 36    
  v. 38 Holy Spirit promised to those who repent and believe    
       

 

What appearances that we have covered are mentioned by Paul and what appearances are not? 

Appearances covered in our series Mentioned by Paul
Mary Magdalena  
Two On the Road to Emmaus  
Disciples in the upper room Easter night v. 5
Thomas and the 12 the following week  
To the disciples on the shore of Galilee  
On the mountain in Galilee v. 6
The ascension v. 8

 

Commentators agree that the appearance which Paul mentions as occurring to 500 people is likely the same one that is referred to in Matthew 28 as the appearance on the mountain in Galilee.

Does Paul list any appearances that are not in our series or listed elsewhere?

The appearance to Peter listed by Paul is probably the one referred to in Luke 24:34. It has not been covered in our series because it is not detailed in the Gospels, only referred to.   The appearance to James mentioned by Paul is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. 

How does Paul differentiate Christ’s appearance to him from the other post-resurrection appearances?

Paul calls himself one “abnormally born.”   By this he makes a difference between the way Christ appeared to him and the way Christ appeared to the other apostles.   Christ’s appearance to Paul was indeed a spiritual experience, a vision.  It could not even be verified by those next to him.    Paul does not want his readers to think that Christ’s appearances to the other apostles were of that same character.  Those appearances were far more objective, physical and observable by anybody present.

Why does Paul list these appearances?

The key is not whether Paul listed certain appearances or did not list them, the important thing is that Paul also along with Peter considered the appearances of Christ as the central evidence of the resurrection and proclaimed them as such.   This is an important example for us to follow.

What is the role/significance of this event/passage in the Gospel story?

This chapter in first Corinthians is a defense of the certainty of the resurrection of Christ.  Paul’s defense covers many areas. One of the first and most fundamental points to be covered is the resurrection appearances of Christ. The eyewitness accounts are the basic data upon which our belief rests.  So Paul starts here.  

Paul goes on to talk about why this is so important.  “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Co 15:13-19 NIV).

If the proclamation of the appearances of Jesus Christ had this much importance in New Testament times, can it be less important today?   The answer is no! Today also we must help people understand the eyewitness accounts and the basic events of the post-resurrection appearances of the risen Christ.  Only then will they understand that the resurrection is not some spiritual myth, but an actual event.  Only then will they realize that the future hope of the resurrection is also not some spiritualized concept but a real and vital expectation of a future resurrection of those who trust in Christ. 

What inspirational “take home” impressed me?

 

I am thankful for the clear and multiple witness of the early apostles to the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am thankful that they understood that it was crucially important to tell us about the appearances of our Lord and Savior after his resurrection, even at the risk of their own lives for doing so.

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