Appearances of Jesus // Jesus Appears to the 500 and to James

 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

One majorly important thing to have when I was writing a paper or doing a project in high school and college was to cite and verify my sources. Many court trials rely on good witnesses and verified forensic evidence in order to convince a jury to convict a criminal. So you can imagine how hard it would be for Paul to convince the Corinthians that, yes, the Resurrection actually happened. In today’s passage, he cites a list of people who witnessed the Resurrection.

As Saint Paul said:

“First he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.”

Paul is basically saying: “Ask these people. They witnessed the Resurrection. They got to see the Resurrected Christ.”

One question you might have is “Who is the “James” that Paul refers to?” From what I researched, Paul was not referring to James the son Zebedee, but to someone named James the Just. James the Just was not an apostle, but one of Jesus’ cousins. (Paul uses the Hebrew word “ach, which” referred to wide kinship connections or “brethren.”) The reason why Paul refers to this specific James was because he was present at the council of Jerusalem and known as leader of the Jewish Christians there. This means that somebody with high authority was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection. The point of this passage is that we can prove that the Resurrection happened, even today.

“But some people refuse to believe,” you might say. It’s true that right now, we live in a pretty hostile world. Sharing the truth of Jesus’  Resurrection isn’t something we can do aggressively because people will refuse to listen to someone who shouts things they don’t want to hear. Instead, we can share stories of other people whose lives have been changed through Christ. We can even share our own, even if we are Cradle Catholics.  

Your story may not seem like anything special, but like Paul, we are all “born abnormally.” None of us were around during the days of the early Church, but we are still witnesses to the Resurrected Christ because we participate in His legacy. We just need to figure out how the Resurrected Christ has affected our lives. 

Reflection: How do you think you can testify about the Resurrected Christ? How has the Resurrected Christ been a part of your life?

Action: Look up saints who were known for their evangelizing such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, and St. Ignatius of Loyola. What do you think you can learn from them?