By Antonius_Kloster_BW_15.jpg: Berthold Werner
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0
Oh, the doctrine He taught is worthy of attention, even by those who do not believe in His deity. That’s been true since He preached to people who were astonished at his doctrine (Matthew 7:28, Matthew 22:33, Mark 1:22, Mark 11:18, Luke 4:32) – note that only one of those indicates the fear in those who should have been expecting Him.
Paul was one of those who were working to put a stop to His preaching, stopping His doctrine. He felt strong enough that he would kill to keep this doctrine from spreading. It took meeting Jesus himself on the road to Damascus – after the resurrection. Paul understood that the resurrection proved every bit of the doctrine He taught.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:16-17)
Two verses later he explains how this prospect should impact Jesus’ followers:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
I know there are people who do not believe the resurrection is a fact. Those whose belief ends as this life ends, nothing remaining except accepted scientific theories that we are but accidental entities, matter that really does not matter. Or those who do not believe there could possibly be a Creator who loves His creation enough to provide for each individual and worship another or others without that love.
It’s that love that planned from the beginning of creation:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7-8)
Paul changed his mind after speaking directly with the risen Jesus. He no longer doubted the resurrection any more than the soldiers standing guard:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (Matthew 28:1-4)
The stone was not rolled back to allow Jesus to depart but to allow His followers to see that it was empty. He had risen. The resurrection was complete, as the angel pointed out:
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (Matthew 28:6)
He is risen. He is risen indeed! (Luke 24:34)