false witnesses?05-12-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet
The Evangel is a message. It is not a philosophy, not a religion, not a political program or even a moral life teaching. The Evangel is the message, namely, that the One, in the Hebrew Bible announced as Son of David, was raised from among the dead (Rom.1:1-4; 2Tim.2:8). His birth was special and his life, as well. His preaching, for a number of years, in Galilee and Judea, attracted much attention and evoked much resistance. Already at the age of 33, He was handed over by the Jewish authorities to the Romans to be crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem. All of that was most remarkable. But the special fact which makes the difference, is that the tomb in which the crucified One was laid, after three days turned out to be empty! The heavy stone in front of the tomb was rolled away and Jesus was no longer there. Please note: friend and foe agreed on this fact: the tomb was empty.
On the initiative of the Jewish authorities, the story was spread that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body of their Master (Mat.28:15). Would this version be true, then this means that the apostles were downright false witnesses (1Cor.15:15). False because they were guilty of both, theft and a deliberate lie. Do you realize how black and white the choice is by the testimony of the New Testament? It is either the truth or pure deception. More options are not there. But how credible is the accusation that the apostles would have been false witnesses? Do think about it for a moment. Would the disciples, at all, have been able to pass by the Roman guard and roll away the heavy, sealed stone? Were the disciples not much too desperate to even consider such a theft? Do theft and malicious falsehood agree with the moral profile that we know of the disciples? Would these powerful and joyful witnesses knowingly have told a lie? In any case, is it not obvious that they, themselves, firmly believed what they preached? Would the entire company of disciples be willing endure reviling, persecution and torture, all for the sake of a deliberate lie? And would they even have been willing to cheerfully die for this lie? Is it not altogether too absurd to assume this?