Moody Adams It is easy to make up a story if there are no living witnesses to deny it. You can say you were not driving a car that wrecked and killed four passengers. If there were no witnesses still alive, you might have a hard time convincing people. On the other hand, if there was a witness who could be questioned and could verify your story, it would be much more believable.
When Paul wrote about Christ being raised he made a point of saying that the greater part of the 500 people who had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ were still alive: And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:4-6).
Anyone who doubted His resurrection could go out and question Cephas, or any of the hundreds of witnesses. Live witnesses make the account of Jesus rising from the dead all the more believable.
Not only were there many live witnesses, but these witnesses had been absolute skeptics. There was massive skepticism about Christ’s resurrection. His marvelous teachings, fantastic miracles and His charismatic personality were not enough to convince the closest followers He had risen. When Mary Magdalene told the disciples that Jesus was alive they, “believed not” (Mark 16:11).
Luke records that they reacted to the announcement of the resurrection by labeling it as idle tales, and they believed them not (24:11).
John penned this statement in his gospel: For as yet they (the disciples) knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead (John 20:9).
But suddenly the skeptics became an army of convinced witnesses who declared that Jesus rose from the dead.
The apostle John was one very dogmatic witness. He said: That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (I John 1: 1, 2, 4).
Tim Chaffey wrote, “In one of His debates with the Pharisees, Jesus said, ‘It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true’ (John 8:17). This oft-repeated concept refers back to Deuteronomy 19:15—‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.’ This same idea is at the heart of the American judicial system. Witnesses appear in trials to help establish the truth of the matter.”