Witness to the ResurrectionQUESTION: Did anyone serve as witness to the resurrection?ANSWER:
Eyewitness testimony of the resurrection, as recorded in the New Testament, is the basis of faith in Jesus as Christ. In John 15:27 and Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His apostles that they were to be witnesses. Peter speaks to the others in Acts 1 of David's prophecy that God swore He would bring forth Christ and raise Him up. Peter said (Acts 2:31-32) he saw Jesus before the resurrection and "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact." (Also read Acts 3:15,4:33, 10:39-41.)
However, the apostles were not the only ones who saw the risen Jesus. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James were the first (Mark 16). Paul lists several witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Among Jesus' disciples, there were 500 other witnesses. And the Jewish Law of Moses required at least two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6).
"This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Jesus spoke these words in Luke 24:44.
So how credible were all the "witnesses" claiming to have actually seen the resurrected Son of God? Their accounts have withstood the test of time (over 2000 years). Many of them were put to death since they could not renounce their testimonies of His resurrection. But are these recorded testimonies enough? Yes, but in addition, Jesus promised after His ascension this: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses. . ." (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit came in His place to bear witness to all flesh.
It is through the Holy Spirit that believers know within that all reported, recorded, and spiritually revealed about Jesus is true. Proverbs 1:22-23 says "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you." And in Proverbs 3:5, it says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
To believe and follow Jesus requires faith. Though there were many, many eyewitness accounts of His death, resurrection, and ascension, those living 2000 years later are operating in faith. How does one acquire faith? Romans 10:17 says, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Read the word, the accounts of His arrival, His resurrection, and His coming return.
Allow the Holy Spirit to bear witness within. Doing that and the event of Jesus' promised return is the greatest evidences of proof. By having faith in Jesus and allowing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we too can be a witness to others of His resurrection.