And that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:5–8)
Today’s big question: what could be better than seeing the risen Lord?
In our previous devotional, we saw that Paul proclaimed the gospel message was all about Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection. Because some people in the Corinthian church had denied the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:12), Paul set out in this chapter to explain the absolute fundamental importance of believing in the Resurrection of Christ and the future “resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21–22).
Luke stated that Jesus showed Himself alive by “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). In today’s passage, Paul told his readers that many people had seen Jesus alive again after His Crucifixion. Peter (Cephas) and the rest of the disciples had seen Him. Even “doubting” Thomas was convinced when he saw Jesus and he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). More than 500 people had seen Him at one time, and many of those people were still alive when Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
Seeing the resurrected Lord convinced Paul of the truth and was likely the event leading to the conversion of James. James was a half-brother of Jesus who eventually became a leader of the early church. Paul was an enemy of the church and a tremendous persecutor of believers, but after encountering the risen Christ, he became a great missionary to the Gentiles and wrote much of the New Testament.
Can you even imagine how incredible it would have been to see the resurrected Christ? The disciples ran in fear when Jesus was arrested, and their hopes were dashed when He was crucified and buried. Imagine the elation when they saw Him alive again just a few days later. It’s no wonder they fearlessly proclaimed the gospel in the midst of persecution and in the face of death.
What an extraordinary blessing these early believers experienced. However, do you realize believers today have an even greater blessing? After Thomas declared Jesus is God, the Lord replied, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Jesus stated we are blessed because we believe even though we have not seen Him. Yet our faith will someday become sight. May we have the same confidence and boldness in proclaiming the good news—Jesus died for our sins and conquered the grave!
Today’s big idea: blessed are those who believe in the Lord without having seen Him.
What to pray: worship the risen Lord.