Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:05 AM

Infallible Proofs

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:05 AM
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:05 AM

He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts1:3)

Eyewitnesses to the post resurrection appearances of Jesus provide the most compelling evidence of all that He was indeed alive after being executed on the cross. These “infallible proofs” include His appearance before more than five hundred people, overwhelming evidence that would stand up in any court. The New Testament reports ten such appearances (although there were probably many more) over a period of forty days beginning on the morning of the resurrection and continuing until His ascension into heaven. Following His resurrection, Jesus appeared:

1. To Mary Magdalene in the early morning hours of the first day of the week. (Mark 16:9–11; John 20:14–18)

2. To a group of women that same morning. (Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 24:1–7)

3. To the apostle Peter that afternoon. (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)

4. To Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus later in the afternoon. (Mark 16:12–13; Luke 24:13–33)

5. To ten of the apostles, excluding Thomas, plus a group of others that evening. (Luke 24:36–43; John 20:19–24)

6. To all eleven apostles eight days later. (John 20:26–29)

7. To a group of disciples on the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:4–14)

8. To a group of more than five hundred on a mountain in Galilee. (Matthew 28:16–20; 1 Corinthians 15:6)

9. To James under unknown circumstances. (1 Corinthians 15:7)

10. To the apostles prior to the ascension on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. (Luke 24:50–52; Acts 1:4–8)

One of the greatest confirmations of the validity of the eyewitnesses comes from the pen of the apostle Paul. In writing to the Corinthian church less than thirty years after the events in question, Paul reminds them that the majority of the more than five hundred witnesses who saw the post resurrection Jesus were still alive and could be questioned if necessary:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep [died]. (1 Corinthians 15:3–6)

 Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, professor of history at Miami University, explains it well:

What gives a special authority to the list [of witnesses] as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, “If you do not believe me, you can ask them.” Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.[1]

[1] LaHaye, T. (2009). Jesus. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.

« back