and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.1 Corinthians 15:5(NASB)
Paul reiterated the gospel of Christ crucified, buried and resurrected, in the closing chapters of first Corinthians, together with a comprehensive treatise on the certainty of our bodily resurrection and the assurance we have in Him that we too have life immortal, and will rise from the grave, in the twinkling of an eye, on the day of Christ.
Without the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christian faith would be in vain, for the gospel dictates that Christ died, was buried, and rose again according to the Scripture, and Paul started to name the many eye-witnesses who met with Jesus following His glorious resurrection from the dead.
He reminded them that Jesus had appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, and that many were still alive and living among them, although some had already "fallen asleep". Paul included James, Christ's own unbelieving sibling, who was brought face to face with the Truth when His older brother came to him as his resurrected Lord, and no doubt showed him the nail print in His hands and wound in His side, so he would no longer doubt, but believe.
We read that all the apostles were eye-witnesses to His resurrection, and Paul even included himself in that long list of believers, who had seen the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Christ, for we read - "last of all, He also appeared to me". However, the first person Paul placed on the list of eye-witnesses was Peter, the big fisherman who denied His Lord three times.
Paul reminded the Corinthians of his former teachings on salvation, lest they forget- "For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve".
Judas was not one of the twelve mentioned in this list for he went out and hanged himself and Matthais was chosen, by the eleven to take his place, but Peter was the first to be placed on Paul's list, as chief eye-witnesses of Christ's glorious resurrection from the dead. Cephas, who had been given the name "Peter" by the Lord Jesus, was the first name on Paul's list of eye-witnesses of the resurrection.
Peter's place on the list of eye-witnesses to the resurrection was no random choice. Peter was the disciple who was given the keys of the kingdom when Jesus met him on the shores of Galilee and instructed him, three times, to feed my sheep and feed my lambs. Peter was the one who stood up on that day of Pentecost and declared to Israel: "Jesus, the Nazarene, through Whom God did miracles, wonders, and signs was crucified by wicked men, but God raised Him up".
Peter reminded them that the Lord Jesus, Whom lawless people nailed to a cross and killed, was resurrected from the dead - ending the power and pain of death for all who would believe, because it was not possible for the eternal Son of God to be held by death. "God has resurrected this Jesus", was Peter's clear testimony on that day of Pentecost. "and we are all witnesses of this".
Peter was the one who opened the gospel to the Samaritans in Acts 8 and he brought the gospel to Gentile believers in Act 10. Only after Peter turned the "Keys of the Kingdom", which were entrusted to Him by Christ - first Jews in Jerusalem; then Samaritans in Samaria and finally Gentiles in Caesarea were brought into the kingdom. Only then did the gospel begin to go forth to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Although Peter was chosen to start the world-wide ministry of Christ and was the one God chose to open the door to Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles, we are all ministers of reconciliation who are called, by God, to carry out the good work that God has prepared each of us to do.
May we be faithful in our calling and tell forth the good news that Christ died for our sin according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again according to Scripture.
Heavenly Father, thank You that despite being despised by the Jews; rejected by Gentiles and, crucified on the cross, You purposed to bring believing Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles into Your family. Thank You for sending Your only begotten Son to be the propitiation for our sins and that Jesus is fully God and fully Man. Thank You He was born a descendent of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David - knowing Salvation is through the Jews - and Jesus of Nazareth is the one and only Saviour of all. Thank You that in Your grace You used the apostle Peter to officially 'unlock' the good news of the gospel to all people, tongues and nations, and used Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles. May I be ready and willing to share the gospel message with whosoever I come in contact today - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.