Sunday Devotional: The two witnesses

Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Modern Christology, the systematic study (“ology”) of Jesus Christ, is a product of the Enlightenment, distinguished from the pre-modern variety in its purpose and intent. Instead of studying Christ as the object of religious devotion or faith (by exploring the Trinity — that three persons are in one God — or the hypostatic union — that Jesus has two natures, both God and man), modern Christology means to study Jesus as a figure in history, i.e., Jesus the man instead of Jesus the Christ.

Modern Christology’s historical reconstructions of Jesus have regularly been put forward as challenges to faith. In a speech in 1996, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that “The identification of only one historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, with . . . the living God, is now relegated as a relapse into myth. Jesus is consciously relativized as one religious leader among others.” The result is an erosion of faith even among the clergy. A survey in 2002 found that a third of the clergy in the Church of England doubted or outright disbelieved in the physical resurrection of Christ.

Having studied some of their writings, what I find curious is that, in their search for the historical Jesus, modern Christologists pay scant attention to an important concept in law which is critical to the testimony and determination of truth.

That concept is “percipient witness.”

According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, a percipient witness is “A witness who testifies about things she or he actually perceived. For example, an eyewitness.”

The apostles and disciples were the percipient witnesses of the historical Jesus. Their accounts are contained in the four canonical Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. And it is their behaviors, lives, and deaths that provide the most compelling testimony of not just Jesus the man, but Jesus the Christ.

This is what we know:

  • All the apostles, except the youngest named John, abandoned Jesus after he was taken away from the Garden of Gethsemane by Roman soldiers.
  • The apostle Simon Peter—on whom Jesus founded and to whom he entrusted his Church—thrice denied he even knew Jesus.
  • The apostles were understandably frightened by Jesus’ crucifixion, which was the Roman Empire’s cruelest form of execution reserved for the worst criminals. They were so frightened that they went into hiding.
  • On the third day after Jesus died, his body disappeared from the tomb.
  • After that, the apostles became completely transformed—from cowering to being fearless men; from illiterate fishermen to bold preachers in different languages (!) to crowds of strangers; from having abandoned their master and teacher to die alone on the cross to become martyrs for the faith.

Such a total transformation can only be accounted for and explained by their witnessing something extraordinary that happened in that brief interim between the crucifixion of Jesus and the disappearance of his body. What happened had to be something even more extraordinary than the miracles the apostles had witnessed in the three years of Jesus’ public ministry. Those miracles included:

  • The multiplication of a few fishes and loaves to feed thousands;
  • The healing of the blind, the lame, and the sick;
  • The casting of demons from the possessed;
  • Jesus walking on water;
  • Jesus calming a stormy sea;
  • Jesus reattaching the severed ear of a Roman soldier in Gethsemane;
  • Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

That super-extraordinary event was the Resurrection.

Only the risen Christ could have so convinced sane, rational men such as the two disciples in Luke 24, as to completely, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, transform them into men they were not. Only by seeing the risen Christ — by speaking, walking, and eating with Him and in the case of doubting Thomas, by touching the wounds of the risen Christ — could the apostles have changed overnight from being frightened little rabbits into fearless outspoken men whom no one could silence and who went to a martyr’s death, willingly and joyfully, for their risen Lord.

And so, in the end, modern Christologists’ quest for the historical Jesus remains ever sketchy and elusive. But the quest for the Christ Jesus is in the personal testimonies of the lives and deaths of the percipient witnesses, His apostles and disciples.

See also “New evidence dates Shroud of Turin to time of Christ” .

May the peace and joy of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,


11 responses to “Sunday Devotional: The two witnesses

  1. This is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus’, having resurrected, appearing to his disciples. Think of all the artists who were inspired by it, among them Caravaggio, who seems to have been transformed himself by the “super-extraordinary” event. Will we, too, be transformed when the time comes? When ordered to become chipped automatons, will we stand firmly against it and join the ranks of the Christian martyrs? Thanks for the splendid job of showing how it happened long ago. It can happen again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: KOMMONSENTSJANE – Sunday Devotional: The two witnesses — Fellowship of the Minds | kommonsentsjane

  3. YES! I believe we are all witnesses for Christ in our hearts!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think it’s significant Jesus appeared to the Women before his Male Disciples the Church hasn’t fully grasped yet!

    For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
    But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    And if you be Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Wherefore seeing we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
    Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
    You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
    To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and AM set down with my Father in his throne.
    He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

    I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I AM, there You may BE also.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “…modern Christology means to study Jesus as a figure in history, i.e., Jesus the man instead of Jesus the Christ.”

    You have to wonder whatsthematter with those people!

    The snot-nosed “intellectuals” of the “Enlightenment” (along with those of the “Higher Criticism” camp), past & present, are either devoid of faith altogether, or have ulterior motives (me thinks the latter for sure).

    One way they are “demoting” Christ from God-Man to simply Historical-Man, is via “dumbed-down” Bible translations.

    The other day I was using BibleGateway to search for a scripture (I forget which one exactly) which included “Son of Man” in it. Often I will then compare that verse in other translations. One “new” translation’s version of that verse jumped out at me, which I have NOT forgotten. Instead of using the traditional “SON OF MAN,” the “COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE” changed it to > > the “HUMAN ONE” !!! arghhhhh!

    Jesus came as the Son of God and the Son of Man (mankind). To simply say the HUMAN ONE totally removes His God-nature. Aren’t we all “Human Ones”? So it makes Him sound like He’s no different than the rest of us.

    Other people may not get freaked out by such “small” things, but I see it as a bad “omen,” that they are purposefully dumbing-down scripture that will fit the AntiChrist Agenda.

    Dumbed-down schools, dumbed-down churches, dumbed-down Bibles, dumbed-down Christians.

    Here are 84 verses where the “Common English Bible” (CEB) changed “SON OF MAN” to the “HUMAN ONE”:

    Here’s just one example. Does this creep-out anyone else?

    “Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Human One is?'” (Matthew 16:13).

    (I also noticed they changed “gates of hell” to “gates of the underworld.”)

    Here’s another creepy one:

    “As it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Human One.” (Matthew 24:37).

    Tsk Tsk! Don’t be messing with the Bible! (Personally, I always liked the literal word-for-word translations, even if the sentence structure doesn’t “flow as smoothly” as “modern” English speakers would prefer.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good grief. I’ll make sure to avoid Common English Bible like the plague.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So who made the CEB & why? From the info page at BibleGateway:

      –“It’s an ambitious new translation designed to read smoothly and naturally without compromising the accuracy of the Bible text.” [> that’s debatable!]

      –“A key goal of the translation team is to make the Bible accessible to a broad range of people…” [ > including pagans probably, who will never learn the difference]

      –“…it’s written at a comfortable level for nearly all English readers.” [> including non-English-speaking aliens, no doubt]

      –“…review the texts to ensure a smooth and natural reading experience.”

      “Easy readability…”

      WHY cannot people, from children upward, be ELEVATED in their reading skills rather than DUMBED-DOWNWARD? Why does everything have to be made “EASIER”? The whole idea of “growing up” is to learn MORE, not LESS. I’m vehemently against all this “dumbing down” “Made Easier” baloney. Teach people to be SMARTER, not DUMBER! Any kid can read a Bible as they already are. They do not need a SIMPLETON Version. Kids are NOT as “dumb” as grown-ups think.

      “…diverse team … over 120 scholars—men and women from 24 faith traditions in American, African, Asian, European and Latino communities.”

      Well, there you go, a nice dumbed-down “New World Order” Bible, published in our very own Nashville, TN.

      Here’s another tell-tale sign:

      “The CEB translation was funded by the Church Resources Development Corp … The Common English Bible Committee meets periodically and consists of denominational publishers from the following denominations:
      –Disciples of Christ (Chalice Press);
      –Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (Westminster John Knox Press);
      –Episcopal Church (Church Publishing Inc);
      –United Church of Christ (Pilgrim Press);
      –and United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press).”

      I’m not sure about all of those but the large “main stream” denominations of Episcopal, Presbyterian, & Methodist long ago sold out to the “World Council of Churches,” the “Alinsky-like” global group for near-apostate churches. They will trip over themselves to welcome the Antichrist, the “HUMAN ONE”! Wait & See!

      Thanks for the article!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Update 5/5/17: How did I miss it?! It has occurred to me this morning that the “HUMAN ONE” replacement for “SON OF MAN” in the CEB is due to the HOMO-LGBTQPXYZ Agenda, ie, “gender fluidity”! They do not want SON/MALE/MAN to be definitive since the road to Unisex/Androgyny is in full gear.

        It hit me when I read this paragraph just now (which has the same 4-out-of-5 churches as the CEB-Bible-“HUMAN ONE”-churches list further above):
        “The Institute for Welcoming [homos/lesbos, etc.] Resources currently works with the “welcoming church movement” in 30 Christian denominations including:
        –The Episcopal Church,
        –the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
        –the Presbyterian Church (USA),
        –the United Methodist Church,
        –and the United Church of Christ.”
        “Currently [2008], more than 3,100 congregations throughout the country have explicitly welcomed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to full inclusion, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which merged with the Institute for Welcoming Resources in 2006 in efforts to “increase the number of people of faith supporting equality for LGBT people.”

        That forum, “Blue Collar Saints.” I like that name. 🙂

        On that same forum page is a quote by Theosophist Alice Bailey from 1957 (Revelation of the Heirarchy) re what they had planned for the churches. Devils, Communists, & New Agers have definitely been busy since then.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Update: Somewhat similar to the above “SON OF MAN” being axed in that CEB Bible version:

    Seen today, 5/3/17, a video in Henry’s twitter feed by “The Truther Girls,” that YouTube’rs who use Christian terms in their titles &/or videos, are being blacklisted, losing ad revenue, etc.

    I watched the girl’s video & she told the story of one advertiser who WANTED her ads on another Christian YT channel but her ads never appeared. When she inquired of Google, they said it was because that channel had used the specific term “SON OF GOD”!

    The girl in the video also said it was learned that if the word CHRISTIAN was used in YT titles, that could also get you in hot water w/the Goog.

    Is Google afraid of “offending” Muslims or Jews with the “SON OF GOD” title? Or are they helping to “prepare ye the way” for the “HUMAN ONE”? Or are they simply being the evil anti-Christian brutes that we already know is lurking behind their far-reaching techno tentacles?

    “Signs of the times”!

    Liked by 1 person

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