#DailyDevotion Our Faith Is Based On Eye Witness Accounts
1Co 15:6-11 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. (7) Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. (8) Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (9) For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (10) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (11) Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Our Christian faith is no myth or fairytale. It wasn’t fabricated months, years, decades or centuries after the founder of our faith Jesus Christ had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. No, it is a very historical faith, founded by a very real, in time, historical person known at a time of recognized historical figures. Now the resurrection of Jesus is another historical fact. It is also an article of our faith. Now it is a fact because we have witnesses to the fact. It is an article of faith because we believe their witness.
So we have Peter and then the twelve who had seen the risen
Lord Jesus Christ and then the twelve. The empty tomb still stands as a witness
to this day. But that is not all. We have five hundred other witnesses, most of
whom were still alive at the time Paul writes this. Yes, if anyone in Corinth
had any doubts, they could have asked for the names of any of these five
hundred and could have gotten eye witness accounts from any of them, Jesus is
risen from the grave.
Then there was the Lord’s brother James and others who were also called apostles (the term seems to be pretty fluid). Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ, after he had ascended bodily into heaven appeared to Paul and taught Paul. He too is a witness to the resurrection of Jesus, even though Paul once persecuted the very church he is not spreading. Such is the basis of our faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Then the grace of God worked in Paul to spread the good news of the resurrection to the Jews and to the Gentiles. Paul, while it seems like he is bragging, worked harder then all of the apostles to spread the good news. He founded numerous congregations throughout the Roman empire. The message, the foundation, the good news that Paul spread was Jesus of Nazareth was dead but is not raised from the dead at the right hand of God. He preached as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection God’s wrath has been put aside, the wrath the we deserve, and now he gives to us the gift of eternal life.
If death has now been conquered by this Jesus, Jesus is the Lord, the author of life. He forgives us our sins. He has taken away our guilt and our shame. He now gives that life he has in himself to each and every one of us, for free. Through the waters of baptism we are joined to his suffering and death. We are joined to his burial and resurrection. By his grace the grace the worked in Paul now works in you to give you new life now and forever. When Christ returns, he promises that the resurrected body he now has we too will be raised with and if we are alive at the time will be changed into and we will live with the Lord forever in his glory.
Gracious God, almighty Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead and offer to us the grace and faith to believe this. You give us the gift of new life now and the resurrection from the dead as a free gift. Continue to give us this grace and faith that we may endure to the end and receive the reward of our faith, the resurrection unto eternal life in your presence. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.