In this special time of Christmas, I just want to mention the ‘resurrection’ of Christ. He not only resurrected but He lives now and forever.
Luke tells us: Jesus was seen and heard by the apostles over the course of forty days; He even ate with them, demonstrating that He wasn’t a ghost (Luke 24:37–39).
Scripture mentions at least ten post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus, many of which are listed in 1 Corinthians. Jesus appeared separately to Paul, Peter, James, the rest of the apostles, and over five hundred brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:5–9). Most of these people were still alive when Paul wrote these words, implying that his readers could check with these witnesses if they didn’t take his word for it.
Conversion of Skeptical Witnesses—James and Paul
The Lord’s appearances to James and Paul are especially relevant to historians. Critics have often alleged that the original disciples were in such a malaise that they simply had hallucinations. This proposal is wracked with its own problems, and it still fails to account for Christ’s later appearances to James and Paul.
James was the half-brother of Jesus, and he remained a skeptic throughout the Lord’s earthly ministry (John 7:5). At one point, he and his kin claimed that Jesus was “out of His mind” (Mark 3:20–21). While on the Cross, Jesus entrusted the care of His mother to His disciple John rather than one of His half-brothers, indicating that James likely had not yet come to believe. Yet soon after Jesus ascended to heaven, James was counted among the believers (Acts 1:14), and became a leader in the Jerusalem church (Galatians 2:9). What could account for this dramatic change? In all likelihood, he was convicted of his unbelief and believed in Jesus after seeing Him alive following His execution.
Paul is just as formidable a witness to the Resurrection. He was not a blind follower but the early church’s most feared persecutor. Yet after confronting the risen Lord, Paul was transformed into perhaps the most influential Christian in history. He endured tremendous persecution, including imprisonments, floggings, beatings, and even stoning for his faith. The only plausible explanation for Paul’s changed life was his encounter with the risen Savior on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–9).
Principle of Embarrassment Modern historians recognize another fact that helps to authenticate the biblical accounts of the Resurrection: the “principle of embarrassment.” Why would writers of history invent details that do not seem to help their cause? For example, the first eyewitness of the risen Savior was not an important dignitary like Caiaphas, Pilate, or King Herod; nor was it a leading disciple like Peter or John. Instead, it was a woman. And not just any woman, but Mary Magdalene, a woman from whom Jesus had cast seven demons (Luke 8:2).
Why would the Gospels claim that Mary was the first witness when a woman’s testimony, let alone a former demoniac, was not highly valued in first-century Israel? Either the writers were quite foolish or exceedingly clever, or they wrote precisely what happened.
When we suffer in our life, I speak to Jesus-Christ, my friend and my Lord who died for my sins knowing that said : “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; John 11:25
Have a joyful Christmas!