We are witnesses

by Stan Mitchell

One of the greatest evidences of Christianity and its truths is the testimony of eyewitnesses. Christians claim that their Lord had been raised from the dead, held up under scrutiny, persecution and mockery.

While some may have folded and left the faith, no one crumbled under pressure and suggested the claims were a fraud. You might have thought that someone would say, “It was all a hoax! Let me show you where we put his body!”

But no one did.

  • Witnesses stood in line to say the opposite, however. “This Jesus,” Peter proclaimed, “God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses,” (Acts 2:32, ESV).
  • “We were witnesses of his majesty,” he would say much later (2 Peter 1:16).
  • “We cannot but speak of all we have seen and heard,” he and John explained to the Jewish authorities (Acts 4:20).

Which brings up a second question: How do we know their testimony is true? A false witness is not unheard of, you know.

I like the way an early church father Augustine put it:

“A child cannot know with absolute certainty who his father is unless he believes what his mother tells him. Such information cannot be discovered by reasoning, that is, merely from weighing of evidence. Instead, the child considers the reliability of the one who is speaking. Does his mother tend to be truthful? In those matters where he has been able to check her truthfulness, has she been demonstrated to be reliable?”

The same thing is true of early Christian witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. Though they exhibited courage in abundance, and commitment to what they believed, the other factor they possessed was integrity.

They were people of the highest moral and ethical quality. They spoke the truth and lived it out.

Everything we know about them says that they would be horrified at the thought of telling a falsehood. Like Augustine’s mother analogy, we can believe because we respect and trust the ones who spoke, and they in turn are worthy of such trust.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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