Eye Witness Testimony

I might start a sermon by asking the question, “How many in this audience have actually been an eye-witness to Jesus Christ both before and after His resurrection from the dead?”  “Hold your hand up.”   Naturally no one will hold their hand up.   Then I might ask, “Then how do you know that Jesus was raised from the dead?”  Then let me ask this, “How many in the audience have been a first hand eye witness to Jesus Christ?”   Again, no one holds up their hand.   Then I ask, “Then how can you know that Jesus Christ exists?”

The Jury System

Then I might ask them to consider this simple illustration.   “Suppose you are sitting as a member of the jury in a murder trial, how can you convict the defendant in a murder case since you did not actually see the murder yourself?”   You might answer, “Well, I listen to the evidence, to the first hand testimony of those who were there, DNA, etc. and it is possible for me to know the truth beyond any reasonable doubt.”   Yes, that is true.

There is a difference between first and second hand testimony.  We know about Jesus by means of the first hand testimony of others and not because we ourselves are eye witnesses.   This has nothing to do with how we “feel” or some kind of “blind faith”.  This point needs to be driven home to people. 

Our Faith Comes From The Testimony of Others

The apostle John wrote this:  Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.'  Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'  Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:27-31).   Today our faith comes from written testimony.

Yes, Jesus pronounces a blessing upon those who believe on Him even though they have not seen Him.   Again when Jesus prayed to the Father for His apostles in the garden just before He was taken to be tried, He said: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their wordthat they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).  May I ask, how could future generations believe on Jesus?  Was it not by means of the word of the apostles, who were the actual eye witnesses?

We Can Know The Truth About Christ

The question is, “How can we know for sure that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God?”   There is only one way, and that is written testimony.  It is really, really important that we know some things for sure.  It is a matter of life and death.

This is the whole burden of John’s writing in 1 John.  It was so that those who read his epistle could know some things for sure.   He makes this plain in the beginning of this epistle.   He claims to be a first hand eye witness of Jesus Christ.  He writes:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete” (1 John 1:1-4).   This is exactly what John claims in the book of John.   The purpose of his writing is so that others may believe and enjoy fellowship with God, the same fellowship that he enjoys.  When I am able to bring someone to Christ, I can feel the same joy expressed by John.

You may believe in Jesus Christ because your family believes in Jesus Christ or that it is comforting to believe, but such a faith is not sufficient.  Many religions claim the same for what they believe.   But can you offer proof, actual evidence, as to your belief in Jesus Christ?  Sadly, many today cannot offer such proof and have no idea as to where such proof exists and how it can be established.

Growing Skepticism

There is growing skepticism in our society about the claims of Christianity.  Many have no problem ridiculing those who believe in Jesus Christ.  Some do not even believe that such a person even existed, or if he existed, that his life and teaching has been greatly exaggerated or twisted.   What these fail to understand is that the first hand eye witness testimony is very great if they were just willing to examine the evidence.   No only that, but these witnesses were willing to put their lives on the line. 

Today we have eye-witnesses to various controversial events, and often times these eye witnesses are not allowed to testify.  Sometimes even eye witnesses contradict
one another.   There are times when those who testify are bearing false witness, as in the trial of Jesus.   This is something that God especially hates (see Exo. 20:16; Pro. 6:19).  God made sure that this did not happen with reference to those who were eye witnesses of Jesus Christ by assuring, through the Holy Spirit, that their testimony would be consistent (see John 12:11-12).

There are many reasons that I have confidence in the Biblical record and its historical accuracy, but the primary reason that I believe that Jesus is Christ the son of the Living God has to do with the eye-witness testimony that has come down to us by the written word of God.   

My great fear today is that we in a time when many people no longer have the ability to weigh facts and evidence and are removed from reality.   Many do not know about Christ simply because they do not care.   Others, who claim to be Christians give no or little thought to the foundations of their faith.  Even so called preachers of the gospel give no attention to this leaving the congregation helpless in dealing the anti-Christian movement that is spreading throughout the country.

There are beautiful songs that goes well with this article.  They are titled,  “We Saw Thee Not”  and  “Were You There?”  

Lindy McDaniel, November, 2013

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The photo at the beginning of this article is of my wife Nancy and myself taken at the fall festival at the Dallas Arboretum.  They always have very beautiful displays of fall colors, flowers, pumpkins and gourd displays, trees and plants, etc.  You will notice that I am wearing a Cardinal cap.  Photo was taken by Nancy’s son Ty Clevenger.  I rooted for the Cardinals, but enjoyed watching the World Series. 

Our e-mail list continues to increase.  If you know others who would like to receive copies of these articles attached to e-mail, send e-mail address to lindymcdaniel77@Reagan.com.   I welcome your comments and questions regarding anything that I write.   In my next article, I plan to give a review of the Number 1best selling book, “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.   I am glad to see such great interest in reading about Jesus Christ, but I will also deal with some of my reservations about the book.   Some men in our congregation are meeting privately to discuss and analyze the book.


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