Eyewitness Accounts of Jesus Sighting

Eyewitness Accounts of Jesus Sighting

The Christian faith rests squarely on Jesus is rising from the dead. According to the Apostle Paul, if this is not true, “we are to be pitied more than all men” (I Corinthians 15:19) for spreading such a falsehood and misleading so many people. Can we rely on the account in the Bible of the resurrection? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” There are many reasons why we can rely on the account. Here are just a few:

Authenticity of the Account

The account in the Bible just rings true. If you were going to rewrite the account to embellish it, wouldn’t you start with disciple leaders, like Peter or John, and write about their meeting the risen Christ?  But no, the account of who met the resurrected Jesus starts with a former demoniac, Mary Magdalene, and lists Mary the mother of James and Salome, two women who we aren’t even sure who they are. Why even mention them? Women were inconsequential in the 1st Century, barely above the status of property. According to Josephus, their testimony was considered worthless in a court of law.

Now, consider what newspaperman Henry Stanley wrote after his famous eight month search in Africa for the missing missionary, David Livingstone. He found Livingstone in Ujiji, a small village on the shore of Lake Tanganyika on November 10, 1871. He writes, “…I came in front of the semicircle of Arabs, in the front of which stood the white man with the gray beard…. walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?’(1).  He didn’t write, “…I came in front of the semicircle of Arabs. There was Rahib, and Hassan, the father of Ali, and Ahmad, the uncle of Abdullah…” He goes right to the quick. He doesn’t provide inconsequential details.

Multiple Eye Witness Attestations

Dr. Gary Habermas, distinguished professor at Liberty University provides the following list of people to which Jesus appeared:

In a court case usually one or two witnesses are required. Here we have over 500 witnesses most of whom were still alive when the account was written. In addition we have Paul, who was most certainly a hostile witness and chief opponent of Christianity, reporting that Jesus appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15: 8)(2).

Site of the Tomb

According to Dr. William Lane Craig there are no other competing burial traditions about Jesus, and most New Testament scholars today agree that Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb (Mark 15:43-47). Joseph was in fact a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Why would somebody make up something so implausible and refutable if it were not true? In addition, the site of the tomb was well known. Mary Magdalene and several other women knew where it was. It was certainly known to the Romans who posted a guard there (Matthew 27: 62-66). Since Joseph of Arimathea was a prominent man, many people probably knew where it was. Therefore it is highly unlikely that people went to wrong tomb!(3)

The account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Bible is reliable. The account rings true and appears not to have been embellished because of the inconsequential details that appear. There are multiple eyewitness accounts that were written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses and certainly could have been refuted. There is the empty tomb itself owned by a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, a most implausible owner, and certainly an account that would not have been recorded if not true. Therefore, the facts would indicate that the tomb was empty and that Jesus had risen from the dead. Now it’s up to you.

To Read More

Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus(Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1998)

References

  1. “Stanley Finds Livingstone, 1871″, EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2004)
  2. Lee Strobel, The Case For Christ (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1998), 234.
  3. Ibid, 210.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Vinode says:

    Todd, once again a great teaching blog. Jesus knew what his anedga was yet, faithfully, lovingly and calmly went about changing the lives of others. He KNEW what was in store for him, yet, never fretted or worried about the inevitable act of self and sacrifice he had to endure for US. Because of his horrendous death on a cross, he absorbed our sins so we may experience eternity in Heaven with Him. Thank You for having an affect on all of us who read your blog. You are our teacher and we know that God is with you every step of the way=-)

  2. Elmer says:

    I woke up this morning and wcemoeld Easter my first thought being Christ has risen! what an amazing gift of starting over. Then I came here.I can’t describe the feelings that came over me as I read this entry and my eyes fell on the pictures. I don’t know if this makes sense, but somehow I felt a sense of calm.

  3. Berro says:

    I started the week fidning out that my Dad needed to have heart surgery. I ended the week fidning out that they discovered Leukemia cells in Dad’s blood work. I’ve been praying and believing for months that God would heal my Dad. So, where’s God in all this? He’s the peace that came after the initial shock and He’s the one who whispered to my trembling heart, You are not without hope. I am in control. I’ll be with you all the way. That peace and hope can only come from Jesus.

  4. Logu says:

    what a powerful teosmitny!! no one is out of HIS reach!!! I still find myself saying that if God can take a broken vessel like me and make it useful, beautiful even, He can do it for ANYONE….amazing grace…..and I thank Him that He doesn’t leave us how He finds us, but He picks us up out of the muck and myre, cleans us up, restores us, and we become useful tools in His hands…..thank you for sharing this story!!!

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