The Righter Report

The New Testament – Eyewitness Accounts and Testimony

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Many arguments have been made that eyewitness testimony is unreliable. In some cases that’s true. However, our prisons are full of criminals who, at one time or another, were identified by eyewitnesses who were deemed credible by juries of their peers. If you run across someone who contends that eyewitness accounts are never trustworthy, then advise them the next time their husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, or father comes home to be sure to run a DNA analysis on them (just to be sure).

Others say that recorded eyewitness accounts are nothing more than hearsay. If one wants to make that argument then they should know that much of what we know from antiquity is derived from hearsay. Historians and other early, contemporary personalities often record historical accounts from other sources. If one wants to throw out “hearsay” then the better part of our collegiate history books would have to have vast sections ripped out of them. It would be extremely unfair to have one standard for non-Biblical, 1st century accounts and another one just for the New Testament.

The disciples lived with Jesus for three and one-half years. They very likely knew him as well as anyone could know a very close, personal friend. To say they were deluded or mistaken leaves the burden of proof for those charges on the accuser, instead of on the writers of the New Testament.

With this in mind, the following are just some of the numerous eyewitness accounts contained in the Gospels and Epistles.

Luke 24:30-34: – When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Luke 24:36-39: While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

John 20:16-18: Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

John 20:19-20: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

John 20:26-28: A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

1 Corinthians 15:3 –8: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: 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 Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…

Acts 1:1 –4: In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

1 John 4:14 – And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

2 Peter 1:16 – We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Luke 1:1-4: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Matthew 28:5–9: The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Further reference:

The Truthfulness of the Eyewitness Accounts as Presented in the Bible

God bless…

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September 16, 2007 - Posted by | Theology

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