The unlikley witness
By Aubrey Vaughan, Aug 21 2013 09:20AM
The garden tomb in Jerusalem is believed to be by many to be the garden and sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea & the possible site of the resurrection of Jesus.
An Unlikely Eye Witness.
Easter has come and gone and for Christians it is a time when we celebrate the death & resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection is pivotal to the Christians faith, it is the centre piece alongside the death of Christ, this is the Gospel we proclaim, as Christians. If you remove the resurrection you will have a dead Religion. The Bible says, 1Cor 15:14 if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. And 1Cor 15:17 if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
So it’s not surprising that over the last two millennia many individuals have sought to disprove the resurrection, yet as a result of careful & honest examination many have actually come to a personal & reasoned faith. One such man was sceptic journalist Albert Henry Ross (1881 -1950) known under his pen pseudonym as Frank Morison. He was sceptical regarding the resurrection of Jesus, so set out to analyse the sources & to write a short paper entitled Jesus – the Last Phase to demonstrate the apparent myth. In compiling his notes, he came to be convinced of the truth of the resurrection, and set out his reasoning in the book ‘ Who moved the stone?’ You can get it from Amazon, why not have a read?
Other notable individuals who believed in a historical resurrection was Roman historian & author Theodore Mommsen (1187 -1903) who wrote, “the resurrection is the best attested fact of history.”
Or Lord Charles Darling who deputised as Lord Chief justice (1914-18) said, “In favour of the resurrection there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring a verdict that the resurrection account is true.
But the Bible has not given us journalists, historians or Judges, but he has given us the most unlikely characters to be the first eye witnesses to the resurrection and this is one of the reasons why I believe that this historical narrative of the resurrection can be trusted.
The first eye witnesses on the scene was a group of women, too me this points to credibility because if the Bible was a fabricated book there is no way they would put women as the first eye witnesses. In the 1st century , in the middle east during Roman rule, a woman’s testimony wasn’t credible, they were 2nd class citizens in society akin to slaves. In Jewish & Gentile law a women’s testimony was inadmissible in a court of law. So if the Bible is fabricated why would they have used a group of women as credible witnesses at all?
But this gets worse because the first woman spoken as a credible witness is Mary Magdalene , now you might not know your Bible but you may know something about her in particular. The gospels actually mention her 19 times and it doesn’t really say a great deal about her (a lot is conjecture) but it does tell us that Jesus had delivered her from seven demons (Luke 8:1-3) so to say the least this women had mixed with unsavoury characters and would be characterised today as a women with mental health issues, in those days she would have been a social outcast. But Jesus brought deliverance and a new direction to her life. She was a transformed women.
But others still thought different of her on another occasion in ( Luke 7:36-50) It tells us that in a Pharisees house that an unnamed women approaches Jesus wiping Jesus feet with her hair using her tears & fragrant oil, it is believed this is Mary Magdalene. The owner of the house points out to Jesus that if Jesus was a prophet he would know this women is a terrible sinner.
Would you place such a person as an eye witness to the resurrection, the first to the scene, not just a women, who evidence in a court of law is inadmissible, a social outcast, a terrible sinner, if you were to fabricate such a story, would you not put some reputable pillar of society as a witness, maybe a Roman historian, an academic, a Jewish teacher? Think about it.....
It was Napoleon Bonaparte who said, “History is written by the winners.” But when it comes to the Bible & the resurrection, the Bible’s history was written by forgiven sinners, who were eye witnesses, testifying to the victorious truth Jesus is Alive!
Pastor Aubrey Vaughan