We just love proof, don’t we? It feels so good to be able to reference hard evidence, in order to back up what we say. And… don’t we also just love to demand proof from others, those who make claims? Unfortunately, we (Christians) are all to often accused of having a “blind faith,” or we are immediately dismissed when we share the Gospel because we can’t prove it, convince, or cause people to embrace it. Why? That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. However, we must remember that there actually were MANY witnesses to the resurrected Christ, and we must be ever encouraged and assured by such when we read scripture. For example, here is Peter sharing the fact that there were other people besides himself who not only saw Jesus after He had resurrected, but Peter and several others also ate and drank with Him…
Acts 10:34-43 (HCSB)
“Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him. He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all. You know the events that took place throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him. We ourselves are witnesses of everything He did in both the Judean country and in Jerusalem, yet they killed Him by hanging Him on a tree. God raised up this man on the third day and permitted Him to be seen, not by all the people, but by us, witnesses appointed beforehand by God, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to solemnly testify that He is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.””
Peter made it clear to the hearers that not only were he and several others witnesses to Jesus being alive, after He had died on the cross, but that Peter and several others also “ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.” Such was extremely significant. Why? Because, giving a testimony that they had ate and drank with Him shows that Jesus was not a ghost or a spirit, but that He had a real physical body after His resurrection. Such details give the encounters more teeth. It gives the hearer something more than just a possible sighting, which could be simply dismissed as a hallucination. (A common critique.) Paul also offers more than just a mere sighting. This is what he wrote to the church in Corinth…
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (HCSB)
“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,
then to the Twelve.
Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;
most of them are still alive,
but some have fallen asleep.
Then He appeared to James,then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one abnormally born,
He also appeared to me.”
Paul made it clear to the church in Corinth when he wrote to them, that “most” of the 500 that Christ appeared to, after He had rose from the dead, were “still alive.” Meaning, it was still possible to confirm all that had been learned from Paul about Christ’s resurrection, from those who actually witnessed it. In other words, such information could still be authenticated by the Corinthians, at the time that they had received Paul’s letter to them, by simply reaching out to the many witnesses who were still alive.
These accounts should give us encouragement, especially in this age of doubt in which we now live. Such recorded events are important for us to ponder and to meditate upon, in order to further strengthen our resolve and perseverance… as long as our Lord tarries.
John also offered additional encouragement, through the personal encounters he and others had experienced with Christ first hand. I pray that such blesses you…
1 John 1:1-3 (HCSB)
“What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have observed
and have touched with our hands,
concerning the Word of life —
that life was revealed,
and we have seen it
and we testify and declare to you
the eternal life that was with the Father
and was revealed to us —
what we have seen and heard
we also declare to you,
so that you may have fellowship along with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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