Small incidentals in the Bible often have important significance. The example that I would like to write about is found in 1 Corinthians 15.8
Paul writes of himself “ last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also” Paul is referring to the story of Acts 9, when two years after the death of the Lord Jesus, he was converted by the intervention of God.
We have many reasons to believe that Jesus is alive again, risen from the dead. The angels said it was so. The Lord Jesus foretold his resurrection before it happened. Peter and the other disciples were prepared to die for their witness to having seen the risen Jesus Christ.
The witness of Paul is sometimes overlooked. A couple of years after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the dust of excitement had settled, and the heel of persecution by Jewish leadership had tried to stamp out the rumour of Jesus being risen from the dead. Saul ( as Paul was once called) was breathing out threatening against the Christians and was authorized to cast them into prison. No doubt Saul had many arguments against the resurrection story. However God had other plans. As Saul journeyed to Damascus, about midday he was struck down by a blinding light from heaven. A voice then said “Saul , Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul responds “who are you Lord?” The answer is simple yet sublime - “I am Jesus...”
Let us pause to ponder the implications of this answer.
1 The voice is from heaven
2 The voice is from a LIVING Jesus
3 This voice is from an all powerful person
4 Saul is not challenged by some philosophical persuasion, but a living person.
Such is the power of this intervention, Saul himself becomes a witness to the reality that Jesus once crucified, is now alive. He is changed from ‘hating’ (Titus3) to love, from persecuting Jesus to preaching Jesus as the Son of God. His bright career as an educated leader of the Jewish people had been shattered and his life work is to involve much suffering and rejection.
I trust some of you reading this, have picked up on the significance of this story ie that after this space of time, this voice from heaven with it’s corresponding power to change, is a brilliant witness that Jesus lives.
Many signs and wonders were also done in the done in the Name of the Lord Jesus, verifying that Jesus was alive and ascended. John the apostle, many years later , also gave a written account of having seen the Lord Jesus in person. Revelation chapter 1 is not a description of the man of Galilee. It is a description of Jesus the Christ, in glory, who is able to say of Himself “I was dead, behold I am alive forever more” (Revelation 1.17,18).
Many others have testified to the interruption of the Lord in their lives, all pointing to the truth that Jesus lives.
Saul/Paul wrote in his last letter ‘ at my first defence no one came to stand by me but all deserted me...but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me..” (2 Timothy 4.16) He knew the continuing nearness of the risen Lord.
I trust that the Lord Jesus is real in your life, so that beyond all the historical evidence, you can say ‘ He lives within my heart’
John McKee firstname.lastname@example.org