1 Corinthians 15:5
and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve.
Sermons
The Gospel Which Paul PreachedE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Difficulties in the Way of Disbelief in the Resurrection of ChristProf. Christlieb.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
How Ought the Gospel to be PreachedJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
No-Resurrection ImpossibleG. Matheson, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
Paul's GospelA. Maclaren, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
The Apostolic GospelD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
The Certainty of the GospelJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
The Gospel Which Paul PreachedJ. Cochrane, A.M.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
The Resurrection of ChristF. W. Robertson, M.A.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
The Resurrection of ChristM. Dods, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:1-12
The Exposition and Defence of the ResurrectionJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
Veritable Death and Veritable ResurrectionR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 15:4, 5
Appearances of the Risen RedeemerD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Death as SleepTennyson.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Fallen Asleep1 Corinthians 15:5-8
More than Five Hundred WitnessesJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Seen of JamesJ. W. Burn.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Sleep the Time of GrowthS. T. Coleridge.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
The Appearances of Christ After His ResurrectionJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
The Character and Death of the SaintsW. Hodson.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
The Evidence for the ResurrectionC. Hodge, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
The Infallible Proofs of Our Lord's ResurrectionJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
What the Sight of the Risen Christ Makes Life and DeathA. Maclaren, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Apostolic Testimony to Christ's Resurrection, and Testimony of OthersC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 15:5-11
A prominent feature of Christ's plan was to train the apostles to be his witnesses. Conceive what this involved: on their part, a discipline of the senses as inlets of the mind, close and patient attention, constant revisals of impressions, contentedness under mystery, boldness of statement, heroism in adhering to testimony. Along with these qualities, an experience of the truth in Christ as a transforming power was to impart a peculiar character to all they affirmed, so that Christ Jesus, living, dying, risen, exalted, glorified, was to be seen in them as well as through them. On the part of Christ, what condescension and sympathy, what painstaking, what persistent efforts, were necessary to make these rude Galileans competent to the duties of testifiers! "Ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." To be messengers was not enough; they were to be witnesses also, for the "Holy Ghost shall come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." These men felt that they were Christ's chosen witnesses, and that their testimony was the chief agency employed by the Spirit to save the world. It was natural, then, for St. Paul to begin his argument on the resurrection of the body by calling attention to the fact that the risen Christ "was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve." For the space of forty days he manifested himself at intervals to their senses, and during this intermediate period - a special dispensation to the disciples, differing widely from all that went before or came after - their education as witnesses, and particularly as witnesses of his resurrection, was carried on to the verge of completeness at Pentecost. In fact, Pentecost was the forty days consummated. And was this great training merely in the historical fact that he had risen? Forty days were not needed for this. Twenty-four hours after he had reappeared, all the twelve, except St. Thomas, were firm believers of the fact. But they were to feel the connection between his resurrection and death as spiritual truths of the highest moment, truths of the Divine government, truths of holy sentiment, and thus fitted for the full dispensation of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?" The heart, the burning heart, the heart of saving faith, - this is the distinctive type of experience now, and, for the first time, Christian emotion as to its essential quality is brought into notice. St. Paul enumerates the witnesses: St. Peter, the twelve, the five hundred brethren, St. James; and adds, "all the apostles." Then he mentions himself: "Last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." Could he speak of this in the way simply of historical summation? Not he; memory was too active, feeling too acute, humility and gratitude too profound, for a bare logical statement. In an instant, the devout soul hastens to acknowledge what it never lost an opportunity of expressing - its sense of God's mercy in calling him, a persecutor of the Church of God, to the apostleship. "By the grace of God" - words often abused since he used them, but most sacred and glorious as he uttered them - "by the grace of God I am what I am." That grace had not been bestowed in vain; nor does he hesitate to say that be had "laboured more abundantly than they all," and then "I" sinks out of sight, and it is all of grace. Notice the stages of the idea: born untimely; least of the apostles because he was guilty of persecution; the only man among them who stood against this dark background, but the light in the foreground is the more resplendent for that; not ashamed to confess his utter unworthiness in order to magnify the grace of God, and this grace deserving the entire honour of the more abundant labour. What an insight into the man! If, as we suppose, the hours when this chapter was written were extraordinary even in his wonderful mental history; if there was a fuller and closer interblending of his faculties than he had ever experienced; if human knowledge and culture then brought to inspiration their largest and richest tribute, and if inspiration brought to them its mightiest quickening; - what could be more striking than the fact that in this very period of exaltation, when intellect was in the splendid array both of its endowments and acquisitions, and when the power of speech had suddenly possessed itself of new facilities of expression, he cannot proceed without pausing to bow his heart in adoration before the God of grace! Uppermost, indeed, was the thought of him who had "died for our sins," and the glory of Christ risen as personal to him and his apostleship was the grace shown to him as a persecutor of the Church of God. And we who read his glowing words, what finer privilege can the unfoldings of the human soul in literature give us, what privilege so fine as this in which the apostle of the Gentiles, rising above the levels of all common experience, speaks from a height which would be the abode of silence save that humility would offer its homage to the grace of Christ! The nobility of the man displays itself here; for, though labouring "more abundantly than they all," yet he claims no more than to be one of the witnessing company of the apostles. After all, it is not the individual testimony of St. Peter, St. James, St. Paul, but the concurrent and united evidence, that is the important fact. Years intervened between the forty days and the scene on the road to Damascus, and he comes with his later testimony to join the group of the earlier witnesses. "Whether it were I or they" - we are all agreed as to the appearance of the risen Lord - "so we preach, and so ye believed." - L.







And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.
I. THE WITNESSES were —

1. Numerous.

2. Competent in respect of their acquaintance with Christ, their intelligence, their opportunities of seeing Him.

3. Honest.

II. THEIR EVIDENCE.

1. Was immediately given.

2. Where the facts occurred.

3. Harmonious.

4. Constantly repeated.

5. Openly given while hundreds of them were alive.

6. Steadily maintained even unto death.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

As the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact, it is to be proved by historical evidence. The apostle therefore appeals to the testimony of competent witnesses. Confidence in such testimony is not founded on experience, but on the constitution of our nature. We are so constituted that we cannot refuse assent to the testimony of good men to a fact fairly within their knowledge. To render such testimony irresistible it is necessary —

1. That the fact to be proved should be of a nature to admit of being certainly known.

2. That adequate opportunity be afforded to the witnesses to ascertain its nature, and to be satisfied of its verity.

3. That the witnesses be of sound mind and discretion.

4. That they be men of integrity. If these conditions be fulfilled, human testimony establishes the truth of a fact beyond reasonable doubt. If, however, in addition to these grounds of confidence, the witnesses give their testimony at the expense of great personal sacrifice, or confirm it with their blood; if, moreover, the occurrence of the fact in question had been predicted centuries before it came to pass; if it had produced effects not otherwise to be accounted for, effects extending to all ages and nations; if the system of doctrine with which that fact is connected so as to be implied in it, commends itself as true to the reason and conscience of men; and if God confirms not only the testimony of the original witnesses to the fact, but also the truth of the doctrines of which that fact is the necessary basis, by the demonstration of His Spirit, then it is insanity and wickedness to doubt it. All these considerations concur in proof of the resurrection of Christ, and render it the best authenticated event in the history of the world.

(C. Hodge, D.D.)

I. TO WHOM PERMITTED.

1. To individuals.

2. To the twelve.

3. To a large body of disciples.

4. To the faith of every true believer.

II. WITH WHAT DESIGN.

1. To confirm the truth.

2. Establish the faith of the disciples.

3. Subdue opposition as in the case of Paul.

4. Comfort and assure His people.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

After that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain,... but some are fallen asleep
I. THE FACT.

1. Not elsewhere recorded.

2. Must have been well known.

3. Was widely published when it could easily have been disproved.

4. Was never disputed.

II. ITS IMPORTANCE.

1. The witnesses of the resurrection were sufficiently numerous and diverse in point of intelligence, etc., to supply the severest test of its reality.

2. To afford ample means of investigation.

3. To satisfy the most persistent unbelief.

III. ITS LESSONS.

1. Christ is the living Redeemer.

2. Reveals Himself to many or few.

3. Manifests Himself to His own as He does not unto the world.

4. Shall finally be revealed when every eye shall see Him.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

We have here —

I. A MIGHTY PROOF OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. Two or three witnesses, intellectually and morally competent, would be regarded in a court of justice as sufficient to establish any fact, but here are "five hundred." To suppose that they were all deceived would be to suppose one of the most stupendous miracles ever wrought. Mark, Paul states this fact when the "greater part" were still alive. Would any man, under such circumstances, dare to have made the assertion had it not been an indisputable fact?

II. AN INTERESTING VIEW OF THE DEPARTURE OF GOOD MEN FROM THE WORLD. "Some are fallen asleep." Sleep does not include extinction; must exclude suffering. Sleep is —

1. A welcome rest. Sleep is refreshing. The work of a Christian here is hard work, the work of cultivation, building, battling, voyaging. Sleep reinvigorates the system, gives new tone to the frame, new vigour to the limb. The holy dead renew their strength in eternity.

2. An anticipation of waking. Men yield themselves to repose with the hope of morning; a morning in which they will go forth to the joys and duties of life with a new zest and energy. Who dreads sleep? No good man need dread death.

III. A SUGGESTIVE EVENT IN THE EXPERIENCE OF THE APOSTLE (ver. 8). When did Paul see Christ? When Christ was in heaven (Acts 9:5). Then, though in heaven —

1. He is cognisant of the movements of individual men. He knew all about Saul of Tarsus.

2. He can reveal Himself to men on earth.

3. His love for sinners is unabated. He spoke to Saul the persecutor, the "chief of sinners."

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE OF WHOM IT MAY BE SAID WHEN THEY DIE,"THEY ARE FALLEN ASLEEP." "Brethren," and not on account of a natural relationship, but of a spiritual union. They were brethren, because they had been united to "the Elder Brother," "the First-born among many brethren"; and their union to Him was the foundation of their union to each other. As brethren, there was a sameness in their principles — in their hopes — in their consolations — in their rejoicing when they beheld a risen Saviour.

II. THE STATE OF SUCH PERSONS AFTER DEATH. Sleep denotes —

1. Their rest. The time of sleep is the time of rest so sweet to the labouring man. The believer's life here is compared to a day; his departure home to a night. Hence the exhortation, "Work while it is called day, for the night cometh when no man can work." Every description of Christian character conveys the idea of labour. He has to run, to fight, to wrestle, etc.; and death is as the commencing of repose when the labour of the day is done.

2. Their safety. We could not go to rest at night if we knew that a robber would invade our dwelling-place, or a fire consume it, or a wind prostrate it, or a murderer attempt our lives. It is when we have barred our houses against intruders, and committed ourselves to the protection of our Creator, that we close our eyes in hope that we shall both lay ourselves down and sleep in peace and safety. The figure illustrates the perfect safety of those who have entered into peace. It is then that the believer enters into regions which will never be ruffled, and into glories which will never be obscured, and upon joys which will never be interrupted. For no enemy can harass there, no care oppress, no affliction try. And it is a precious remembrance, that the body is safe too. The body of the saint in the tomb is a precious deposit. Christ will rescue it from the darkness and the disgrace of the tomb, and will invest it with honour and immortality.

3. Their resurrection. When we sleep at night, it is with a hope of waking again in the morning.Conclusion: Let this subject —

1. Comfort us concerning our departed friends.

2. Comfort us under our present trials.

3. Excite inquiries whether, if we die at this moment, it would be a sleep in Christ Jesus.

(W. Hodson.)

Consider

I. WHAT LIFE MAY BECOME TO THOSE WHO SEE THE RISEN CHRIST. The word "remain'' not only tells us that the survivors were living, but the kind of life they lived. It is the same expression as "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" Now, "that saying went abroad amongst the brethren," and it may have been floating in Paul's memory, and have determined his selection of this expression. So, then, the sight of a risen Christ —

1. Will make life calm and tranquil. Fancy one of these after that vision going home. How small and unworthy to disturb the heart in which the memory of that vision was burning would seem the things that otherwise would have been important and distracting! Our faith in the risen Christ ought to do the same thing for us. If we build our nests amidst the tossing branches of the world's trees, they will sway with every wind, and perhaps be blown away from their hold altogether. But we may build our nests in the clefts of the rock, like the doves, and be quiet, as they are. They who see Christ need not be troubled. The ship that is empty is tossed upon the ocean, that which is well laden is steady. The heart that has Christ for a passenger need not fear being rocked by any storm. Make Him your scale of importance, and nothing will be too small to demand and be worthy of the best efforts of your work, but nothing will be too great to sweep you away from the serenity of your faith.

2. Will lead to patient persistence in duty. The risen Christ is —(1) The Pattern for the men who will not be turned aside from the path of duty by any obstacles, dangers, or threats.(2) The example of glory following upon faithfulness.(3) The helper of them that put their trust in Him. By patient continuance in well-doing let us commit the keeping of our souls to Him and abide in the calling wherewith we are called.

3. Leads to a life of calm expectancy. That vision sent these five hundred men home to make all the rest of their lives one patient expectation of the return of the Lord. These primitive Christians expected that Jesus Christ would come speedily. That expectation was disappointed in so far as the date was concerned, but after nineteen centuries it still remains true that all vigorous and vital Christian life must have in it the onward look. He has come, He will come; He has gone, He will come back. And for us life ought to be a confident expectance that when Be shall be manifested we also shall be manifested with Him in glory.

II. WHAT DEATH BECOMES TO THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD. The Christian reason for calling death a sleep embraces a great deal more than the heathen reason for doing so, inasmuch as to most others who have used the word, death has been a sleep that knew no waking, whereas the Christian reason for employing the symbol is that it makes our waking sure. The New Testament scarcely ever employs the words dying and death for the act or for the state. it keeps those grim words for the reality, the separation of the soul from God. But the reason why Christianity uses metaphors for death, is the opposite of the reason why the world uses them. The world is so afraid of dying that it durst not name the grim, ugly thing. The Christian faith is so little afraid of death, that it, does not think such a trivial matter worth calling by the name, but only names it "falling asleep." Even when the circumstances of that dropping off to slumber are painful and violent, the Bible still employs the term. Is it not striking that the first martyr dying a bloody death should have been said to fall asleep? If that be true of such a death, no physical pains of any kind make the sweet word inappropriate for any. We have here not only the designation of the act of dying, but that of the condition of the dead. They are fallen asleep, and they continue asleep. There lies in the figure the idea of —

1. Repose. "They rest from their labours." In that sleep there are folded round the sleepers the arms of the Christ on whose bosom they rest, as an infant does on its first and happiest home, its mother's breast.

2. Continuous and conscious existence. It has been argued from this metaphor that the space between death and the resurrection is a period of unconsciousness, but the analogies seem to me to be in the opposite direction. A sleeping man does not cease to know himself to be, or to be himself. That consciousness of personal identity survives dreams sufficiently show us. And therefore they that sleep know themselves to be, and know where they rest.

3. Waking. Sleep is a parenthesis. If the night comes, the morning comes. They shall be satisfied when they awake with His likeness. Conclusion: Now, then, the risen Christ is the only ground of such hope, and faith in Him is the only state of mind which is entitled to cherish it. Nothing proves immortality except that open grave. Every other foundation is too weak to bear the weight of such a superstructure. The old Greek architects were often careless of the solidity of the soil on which they built their temple, and so many of them have fallen in ruins. The temple of immortality can be built only upon the rock of that proclamation, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.

(A. Maclaren, D.D.)

Yes, the companions of Jesus died one by one. Consider the great value of such men and of all good men to the Church, and the loss caused by their removal. Yet no word of lamentation is used. It is not said that they have perished, or passed into the land of shades, but that "they are fallen asleep." The spirit is with Jesus in glory: the body rests till His appearing. "Fallen asleep" suggests a very different idea from that which distressed the minds of the heathen when they thought of death.

I. THE FIGURE HERE USED.

1. An act of the most natural kind: "fallen asleep."

(1)It is the fit ending of a weary day.

(2)It is not painful, but the end of pain.

(3)It is so desirable that, if denied, we should pray for it.

(4)It is most sweet when the place of our sleep is Jesus.

2. A state of which rest is the main ingredient.

3. A position of safety from a thousand dangers, such as beset the pilgrim, the worker, the warrior.

4. A condition by no means destructive.

(1)Neither destroys existence, nor even injures it.

(2)Should not be viewed as an evil.

5. A posture full of hope.

(1)We shall awake from this sleep.

(2)We shall awake without difficulty.

(3)We shall arise greatly refreshed.

II. THE THOUGHTS AROUSED BY THAT FIGURE.

1. How did we treat those that are now asleep?

(1)Did we value their living presence, work, and testimony?

(2)Ought we not to be more kind to those who are yet alive?

2. How can we make up for the loss caused by their sleep?

(1)Should we not fill their vacant places?

(2)Should we not profit by their examples?

3. How fit that we should also be prepared to, fall asleep!

(1)Is our house in order?

(2)Is our heart in order?

(3)Is our Christian work in order?

4. How much better that the faithful should fall asleep than that the wicked should die in their sins!

5. How patiently should we bear up under the labours and sufferings of the day, since there remaineth a rest for the people of God!

III. THE HOPES CONFIRMED BY THAT FIGURE.

1. The sleepers are yet ours, even as those in the house who are asleep are numbered with the rest of the inhabitants.

(1)They have the same life in them which dwells in us.

(2)They are part of the same family. "We are seven."

(3)They make up one church. "One church above, beneath."

2. The sleepers will yet awake.

(1)Their Father's voice will arouse thrum.

(2)They shall be awake indeed: full of health and energy.

(3)They shall have new clothes to dress in.

(4)They shall not again fall asleep.

3. The sleepers and ourselves will enjoy sweet fellowship.

(1)Sleep does not destroy the love of brothers and sisters now.

(2)We shall arise as one unbroken family, saved in the Lord.Conclusion:

1. Let us not hopelessly sorrow over those asleep.

2. Let us not ourselves sleep till bed-time comes.

3. Let us not fear to sleep in such good company.

God's finger touched him, and he slept.

(Tennyson.)

Physiologists hold that it is during sleep chiefly that we grow; what may we not hope of such a sleep in such a bosom?

(S. T. Coleridge.)

After that He was seen of James
Words soon read and soon forgotten, but conveying to the thoughtful reader a world of instruction. "All Scripture... is profitable," etc. These incidental allusions are meant to challenge inquiry.

I. WHO WAS JAMES? "The Lord's brother" (Galatians 1:19). Whether the son of Mary, or the son of Joseph by a former wife, or our Lord's first cousin, it is impossible to say with certainty. All we can say is that the relationship was very close. The incident is illustrative of Christ's mindfulness of His brethren according to the flesh. The touching incident on the Cross is paralleled here. In His humiliation He did not forget His mother. In His glory He did not forget His brethren. Nor does He now (Hebrews 4:13-15).

II. WHEN DID CHRIST APPEAR TO JAMES? Placed where this brief account of the incident is, we should infer that it occurred during the forty days, and Acts 1:14 confirms this. The appearance was therefore —

1. Early.

2. Tangible.

III. WHY DID CHRIST APPEAR TO JAMES? To convict and remove his unbelief. Christ appeared to three types of unbelievers.

1. To Thomas the pious sceptic.

2. To Paul the inveterate disbeliever.

3. To James the scoffing unbeliever (John 7:3-5) — the hardest of all, as experience shows, to convince.In each case, however, unbelief gave way to faith. Faith is the faculty which grasps the meaning of the vision of Christ; but the appearance of Christ is necessary to quicken the faith which apprehends it. Christ now appears to unbelievers in His Word, providence, etc. Lord, open their eyes!

IV. WHAT EFFECT DID THE APPEARANCE OF CHRIST HAVE ON JAMES? This we can estimate by what James afterwards became.

1. President of the Church at Jerusalem.

2. The chairman of the Apostolic Synod.

3. The writer of the most practical Epistle of the New Testament.The vision of Christ is the inspiration of all Christian usefulness. The original disciples (John 1) and Paul saw Christ for themselves, hence were able to describe Him to others and to lead others to Him.

V. WHAT IS THE EVIDENTIAL VALUE OF THIS APPEARANCE? James was called the Just, by Jews as well as Christians. No man was less likely to deceive or be deceived.

(J. W. Burn.)

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