Sunday, 1 March 2015
After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:7
“After that” means after the appearance of Christ first to Cephas, then to the twelve, and then to the five hundred-plus brethren mentioned in the preceding verse. At some time after these appearances, He was also “seen by James.” This is not James the brother of John, who was already dead by the time Paul wrote this letter. Rather, it is James, the son of Mary and Joseph; the half-brother of the Lord and the leader of the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15. He is also the author of the book of James.
Paul notes the following in Galatians 1:18, 19 –
“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.”
It was probably during this time, when Paul explained his commission to the apostles, that James also told Paul that he had likewise been visited by the Lord after the resurrection. Because of this, he was qualified as an apostle. Like Peter’s testimony concerning Paul’s apostolic authority, Paul gives the same concerning James here. In other words, the Bible weaves together a solid tapestry which provides us all the assurance that we need to consider it reliable as a witness for the things of God.
Finally Paul notes, “then by all the apostles.” All who were considered apostles beyond the Twelve are who this is speaking of. When the visit occurred isn’t noted, nor is a specific number given. One speculation is that it is referring to the time of the ascension on the Mount of Olives. It is possible that these last mentioned might have been with Jesus at the ascension, thus appearing to them this one final time which is noted now by Paul.
Life application: Paul’s careful detailing of who saw Christ after the resurrection is given to bolster our faith. We have every assurance that the account is true and accurate. And so remember where these words are, and be prepared to defend your faith if it is challenged by a naysayer.
Heavenly Father, a lot of Your people have lost their lives at the hands of wicked people lately. And with the uncaring attitude of our leadership, it’s inevitable that these things will only increase in the days ahead. Should I be faced with an untimely demise because of my faith in You, I pray for strength to go out proclaiming my undying trust in the truth of Your word and in the Person of Jesus my Lord. Amen.