1 Corinthians 15:5-8
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:…
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 —
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: