Witnesses to the Resurrection
(1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
This lesson will deal with the some of the people who were witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that there are witnesses to this event is very important for us today because there are many who say that Jesus Christ was not resurrected from the dead. Just as there were false witnesses in Bible times there are false witnesses still today.
Witnesses to the resurrection are important for several reasons. First of all they verify that an event actually happened. Next they are more than 500 eyewitness accounts of the resurrection according to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Many of those witnesses were still alive when Paul wrote the book of 1 Corinthians. According to the Old Testament Law there had to be at least two witnesses to verify something and in the case of the resurrection we have way more than that. Last of all witnesses are important because they keep the truth alive. By writing down their accounts as we see in the word of God we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Witnesses :
Here we will give a list of the people who saw the resurrected Savior and try to put them into order for which theses events happened. Here it is important to note that the Gospel accounts of the resurrection are different but they do not contradict, they simply supplement one another.
- Mary Magdalene and other women went to the tomb of early on the first day of the week to anoint his body with spices. They found the stone rolled away and was told by an angel to go and tell the others (Matthew 28:12 ; Luke 24:10)
- When the Ladies find Peter and John and maybe others they tell them what they had seen. Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John return to the tomb and Peter and John see the tomb is empty (Luke 24:12 ; John 20:2-10). Peter and John leave and Mary stays behind. This is where she sees Jesus. Note here that he tells her not to touch him because he has not yet ascended to heaven. (John 20:2-18).
- The other women that were with Mary Magdalene originally are out telling the others and Jesus appears to them (Matthew 28:9). This has to be after he has appeared to Mary because they are allowed to touch him. Jesus had gone to heaven entered into the holy of holies and now returned to earth having completed the sacrifice for our sins. This is why they could touch him and Mary could not.
- That afternoon Jesus appears to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
- Sometime that afternoon he appeared unto Peter also separate from the others (1 Corinthians 15:5)
- He also appeared to James during this time also (1 Corinthians 15:7). Remember this could be James his brother not James the brother of John.
- Jesus appeared to the apostles with Timothy not present (John 20:19-25). Then he appeared unto them eight days later with Timothy present (John 20:24-29).
- At some point he was seen of 500 people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6).
- He was also seen of Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9 :1-16 ; 1 Corinthians 15:8).
With all the witness accounts verified and written down there is no reason that anyone should doubt that Jesus Christ was resurrected just as the word of God says he was.
The False Witnesses :
In Matthew 28:11-15 the soldiers who were given the task of guarding the tomb make up a story that the disciples came and took the body while they were sleeping. They were paid money by the chief priest to tell this lie to try and cover up the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected. Now there are some people who believed them but you have to ask yourself how could the disciples roll away the stone steal the body and not wake up the soldiers who by the way would be at risk of losing their own lives if the body was stolen. It is not that possible .
The truth is people did not want to believe the truth so they accepted the lie. Just like to day people refuse to believe the truth but yet they are so ready to believe the most ridiculous story. The fact is that Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected and the only way to heaven is through him.
Witnesses to the Resurrection : Handout
(1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
1) Why is it important that we have witnesses of the Resurrected Savior?
2) Give a brief description of the witnesses and when they saw the resurrected Savior.
3) Who were the false witnesses and what was their story?