Paul Declares his own Personal Eyewitness to the Resurrected Christ
1 Corinthians 15:8-11 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. KJV
Paul now speaks of himself being an eyewitness to our Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and as he so commonly does in all of his epistles or letters Paul counts himself as lowly and unworthy to have even had such a high, lofty, and wonderful privilege. In the Last study, we included 1 Corinthians 15:8 and this was a mistake because we will include it here to expound Paul’s words declaring his personal witness to our Resurrected Lord Jesus. Paul was so humbled, shocked, and in awe that our Lord Jesus Christ would save such a sinner as himself, he wrote this English phrase “one born out of due time” describing his birth into the family of God as an aberration or deviance from the norm and this English phrase is translated by the Greek word ektroma which means or speaks of an untimely birth or an abortive birth or abortion altogether or miscarriage. Paul felt so strongly about the unworthiness of his redemption that he referred so disparagingly or belittling or with such a negative opinion of his own new birth and Apostleship.
This is the one and only time this Greek word ektroma is ever used in the New Testament, but the Hebrew equivalent to this word nephel is used on four different occasions and the one most akin or similar to the strong point being made here by Paul is the Old Testament man of God Job as he bemoans or laments his condition to the point of cursing the day of his birth and he said, “Or as an hidden untimely birth (nephel same as ektroma) I had not been; as infants which never saw light” (Job 3:16). Here is what brother Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922) had to say about Paul’s choice of words in this verse, “Paul means that when Christ appeared to him and called him, he was - as compared with the disciples who had known and followed Him from the first, and whom he had been persecuting - no better than an unperfected fetus among living men.” This is exactly what the Apostle Paul wanted to convey to these Corinthian believers and to us his utter disgust of what he did to the beloved children of God before his conversion and I gather from these words that Paul never allowed himself to forget what horrible things he did to many Christians and it always kept him humbled, even here declaring that he too was an eyewitness to our Resurrected Lord Jesus.
Paul was visited by our Lord Jesus on several occasions that he documented for us in the Scripture, the first being at the time of his salvation on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:3-5), but also when he first came to Corinth and was rejected by the Jews there in the synagogue our Lord Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision and said these words, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). Our Lord Jesus even took Paul up into the Throne Room of Heaven after he was stoned to death at Lystra and then resurrected Paul from death and sent him on back into the mission field. Paul spent three (3) years in Arabia being taught personally by our Lord Jesus Christ all of the many revelations even the first eleven (11) Apostles were not privy to (Galatians 1:15-18) as even the Apostle Peter acknowledges of Paul in (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul although he had these personal revelations of our Lord Jesus Christ refers to himself as the least of the Apostles and this English word least is translated by the Greek word elachistos which means smallest or lowest in importance, rank, or excellence and he so declared himself to be so here and in his letter to the Galatians because of his persecution of the saints (Galatians 1:13-14).
Paul now with this new life so vibrantly within him wanting to make amends for his days, weeks, months, and years in Jewish Pharisee ignorance toiled and travailed more than all the other first Apostles that walked with our Lord Jesus Christ from the beginning of His earthly ministry, but he and they all taught and preached the same gospel as declared by him in (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It was always apparent by the works he performed as he was empowered by the grace of God. Paul when writing to brother Timothy probably summed it all up in great fashion with these words, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 12:16).
“Paul resembled such a birth, in the suddenness of his new birth, in that he was not matured for the apostolic function, as the others were, who had personal converse with our Lord. He was called to the office when such conversation was not to be had, he was out of time for it. He had not known nor followed the Lord, nor been formed in His family, as the others were, for this high and honourable function. This was in Paul’s account a very humbling circumstance.” Matthew Henry
“It is evident, however, that deeply as Paul might feel his unworthiness, and his unfitness to be called an apostle, yet that this did not render him an incompetent witness of what he had seen. He was unworthy; but he had no doubt that he had seen the Lord Jesus; and amidst all the expressions of his deep sense of his unfitness for his office, he never once intimates the slightest doubt that he had seen the Saviour. He felt himself fully qualified to testify to that; and with unwavering firmness he did testify to it to the end of life.” Albert Barnes
“Paul was so shaken by the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ to him on the Damascus road because he was devout in his Jewish Pharisee heritage and was certain that he was worshipping the One True God in truth, and after he encountered ‘The Truth Jesus Christ’ he was so overwhelmed with the magnitude of his sin, that he never allowed himself ever any since of privilege as an Apostle over the other believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…