Summary: The 4th testimony of Christ’s resurrection listed was that of the apostle Paul himself. He was an unbeliever who was convinced that the imposter Jesus was dead. He radically changed from the worst of unbelievers to the strongest of believers.
[RESURRECTION REALITIES SERIES]
1 CORINTHIANS 15: 8-11
PAUL’S WITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION
[Acts 9:1–8, 17]
The first eleven verses of chapter 15 reviews the evidences for Jesus’ resurrection, [a truth the Corinthians already believed (vv. 1, 11)]. For it is on the foundation of the resurrection of Jesus that the hope of our resurrection is built. In verses 5-7 we looked at an impressive array of witnesses, most of whom were still living when 1 Corinthians was written.
The fourth major testimony of Christ’s resurrection listed was that of the apostle Paul himself. He was a special and unique witness of the risen Lord. Paul was an unbeliever who was solidly convinced that the imposter Jesus was dead. Paul radically changed from the worst of unbelievers to the strongest of believers. He testified before one and all that what changed him and his life was becoming an eyewitness to the Resurrected Lord of Life. The radical change in Paul’s life which brought him persecution, suffering, and a new purpose, is certain evidence that the Lord indeed had risen from the dead.
Let’s look this morning at:
I. THE TESTIMONY OF A SPECIAL WITNESS, 8-9.
II. THE TESTIMONY OF AMAZING GRACE, 10.
III. THE TESTIMONY OF THE COMMON MESSAGE, 11.
As one of the greatest witnesses of the resurrection, Paul must add himself in verse 8. And last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
Though there were many other resurrection appearance to many other people (Mt. 27:56; Jn. 20:14; Acts 18:9–10; 23:11; 2 Cor. 12:1–7), Paul now turns to himself. Paul’s most important credential to be an apostle was that he was an eyewitness to the risen Christ. As one abnormally or untimely born means that his was a special case. [Ektroma (untimely born) ordinarily referred to an abortion, miscarriage, or premature birth—a life unable to sustain itself. In Paul’s figure, the term could indicate hopelessness for life without divine intervention, and convey the idea that he was born without hope of meeting Christ. But the use of the term in the sense of an ill-timed birth, too early or too late, seems to fit Paul’s thought best. He came too late to have been one of the twelve.] Paul was not among the original apostles, all of whom had been disciples of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He was not among the five hundred other believers who had seen the resurrected Christ. Rather, he had for many years been an unbeliever and a chief persecutor of the church.
He was, however, last of all allowed to see the risen Christ. Paul testifies that by special divine provision, "He appeared to me also." The Lord’s appearance to Paul not only was post-crucifixion but post-ascension, making Paul’s testimony more unique still. It was not during the forty days in which He appeared to all the others but several years later. All the others to whom Christ appeared, except perhaps James, were believers, whereas Paul (then known as Saul) was a violent, hateful unbeliever when the Lord manifested Himself on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1–8; 17-18).