Summary: This is an Explanation of witnessing and how the disciples became witnesses.
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:36-49
Message: “You Are Witnesses”
Text: “You are witnesses of these things” (v. 48)
What is a witness?
This is what the American Heritage Dictionary says:
A witness is:
a. One who has seen or heard something
b. One who furnishes evidence
c. Anything that serves as evidence; sign
a. Let’s look at the first definition and relate it to the Easter Season (One who has seen or heard something)
Jesus and the disciples had been together for 3 years.
The disciples as well as many other people heard the teachings of Jesus and saw many of the miracles that he performed.
Those people who saw and heard Jesus were witnesses to the fact that he was real.
The ride on the donkey into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday was read.
There were many people along the way to witness the event.
They saw this with their own eyes.
When Jesus told Peter and John to make preparation for the Passover, he gave them explicit direction on how to do this.
Upon entering the city, Peter and John met the man carrying the jar of water and followed him to a house where there was a room furnished for the Passover.
You see, Peter and John were witnesses to all that Jesus told them.
At the Passover meal, the disciples were witnesses to the words of Jesus concerning the meaning of the bread and the cup.
The disciples heard Jesus say that someone sitting at the table would betray him.
The disciples present heard Jesus say to Peter: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:34).
Jesus then decided to go to the Mount of Olives where he could pray to the Father.
The disciples follow him, but as Jesus went a short distance to pray, the disciples fell asleep and did not witness his prayers.
As Jesus was praying and the disciples were sleeping, an angel appeared and witnessed the prayers of Jesus.
Then a crowd appeared in the garden.
Leading the crowd was Judas, the betrayer.
The disciples witnessed the moment of betrayal.
All who were present at this time saw one of Jesus’ followers sever or cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest.
The people saw what had taken place, so they were witnesses to this event.
Next, all the witnesses saw Jesus touch the man’s ear and heal him.
All present saw with their very own eyes what was taking place, so they were first hand witnesses.
They did not get the information second-hand.
They were not told by someone else concerning these events, they saw the events take place.
The disciples saw the various trials Jesus went through.
There were 5 trials (actually hearings) witnessed by the disciples and numerous other people.
a. Trial before Annas
b. Trial before Caiaphas
c. Trial before the Sanhedrin (council)
d. Trial before Pilate
e. Trial before Herod
f. Trial before Pilate (last effort to avoid condemnation)
Peter denied Jesus three times and then the rooster crowed.
Numerous people followed Jesus as he was being let away to be crucified.
These were all witness to what was taking place.
There were present.
They saw the events with their own eyes.
They truly were witnesses.
Jesus followers, including his mother, watched as Jesus was nailed to the Cross.
They witnessed the raising of the Cross placed between two criminals being crucified.
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”
When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.
But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
THESE PEOPLE SAW WITH THEIR OWN EYES.
THEY WERE WITNESSES.
b. Let’s look at the second definition of a witness (one who furnishes evidence).
Did Jesus furnish any evidence that he was still alive?
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus furnished evidence that he was alive by appearing to Mary.