Sunday Devotional: The two witnesses of the Resurrected Christ

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, say, exploring the abiding mystery of 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. As examples:

  • 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. No doubt the percentage is much higher today, 16 years later.
  • At the 2017 Christmas midnight Mass, Fr. Fredo Olivero of the Church of San Rocco di Torino in the Archdiocese of Turin, Italy, substituted the syrupy Italian pop-religious tune “Dolce sentire” for the Creed, explaining, “Do you know why I do not say the Creed? Because I do not believe it. . . . After many years I understood that it was something I did not understand and that I could not accept. So let’s sing something else that says the essential things of life.” (Source: George Weigel in First Things)
  • Not to be outdone, Fr. Paolo Farinella of Genoa, Italy, announced in the leftist Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, that Christmas is just “a fairy tale from the nativity scene with lullabies and bagpipes, the exclusive support of a capitalist and consumerist economy”. (First Things)

Having studied some of the writings of modern Christologists, what I find curious is that, in their search for the historical Jesus, these theologians and scholars 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 resurrection of Lazarus from the dead;
  • 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.

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 assistance from 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 because of their refusal to heed an important concept in law for determining and establishing truth — that of percipient witness. The quest for the Christ Jesus is right there, in the personal testimonies, lives and deaths of His apostles and disciples.

See also:

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

~Eowyn

27 responses to “Sunday Devotional: The two witnesses of the Resurrected Christ

  1. Had I been born a Buddhist – I would-have been-raised in the culture and religion of Buddhism; had I been born an Arab – I would have been raised in the culture and religion of the Quran: had I been born a Hindu – I would have been raised in the culture and religion of Hinduism!!!
    Though I was born into The Culture and Religion of Christianity – unlike Herrod Agrippa, the Edomite – I did not have to become “a Christian,” – I was born as “a racial Christian!!! I possessed full autonomy – to or not to – fulfill my inherent Christian Responsibilities – High Rider

    Ron Stauffer

    Laurel Ms

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  2. Jesus Christ IS the “Third Temple” The veil of the Second Temple was torn(destroyed) on Good Friday and Jesus Resurrected/REBUILT the Temple IN THREE DAYS.
    Jesus the Lamb of God was the final sacrifice and is the final Temple.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do some homework. “Jesus Christ” is a fictional composite and the narrative is a construct of the Flavian family, intended to justify their domination and social engineering of the Roman world. http://www.caesarsmessiah.com/

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    • You are deceived. There is more evidence of Jesus Christ as an historical fact than any other historical figure. He was seen by more than 500 people – eye witnesses – at one time after His resurrection.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I believe that there is more evidence that Jesus Christ existed than there is that Alexander the Great existed. Historically and Biblically, there has been more people whose lives have been touched, in one way or another by Christ, than by any other figure in history. Two thousand years of attempts to hide his existence have failed, and he continues to grow ever stronger.

        Liked by 5 people

    • Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world HAVE MERCY ON THOSE THAT DOUBT YOUR EXISTENCE, because they have an empty heart and an obscure mind, as for me THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, amen.

      Liked by 5 people

    • I am familiar with this guys work. And if you really study it, there are holes and inconsistencies in his his thesis. So while it may be true that one can assert that there were political machinations behind the scenes to take control of a burgeoning new religion, to say that the whole thing was made up is an absolute leap and in my opinion. If you are going to read this kind of stuff ( and I have) you have to read it with a critical eye and not take everything in without question.

      And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
      1 Corinthians 15:14

      Liked by 5 people

    • I feel sorry for you.

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    • SaiGirl; Jesus is not a fictional character. You’ve been thoroughly deceived. You’ve swallowed a deception like a fish swallowing a worm on a hook, and you are indeed hooked.

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    • I pray you (SaiGirl) don’t believe what you have said. I don’t need any homework to have FAITH in Jesus (Yahshua), for eight years ago when I broke my back in two places, then six weeks later re-broke it, that night the Holy Spirit came over me to pray with 100% FAITH! I would be healed in Jesus’s name. As I was praying in His name, the heat of God’s Holy Spirit entered my back. When the heat left me it took the pain with it, and I was healed, even though my MRI showed a chunk, like a bite out of my spine. The real miracle part was what was left on my left jaw, three letters in block form that looks like a white tattoo. It took three years before the Holy Spirit revealed to me the letters are Hebrew. Which then our Father had me meeting Jews that know Hebrew, and so far three have told me the letters say our Father’s name. I was also brought back from death in 1972 when my helicopter was shot down in Vietnam. I entered the light, and my life’s review was shown to me before I was returned to my body that was trapped when the helicopter rolled over on my leg. What is fascinating is, I have enlarged some of my old pictures of me in my nomex flight suit, it was so hot we would unzip the shirt down a ways, where back then a lot of the guys wore hippie beads, there hanging around my neck, that I had forgotten about was the gold cross that I had bought when I arrived in the country… CROSS=JESUS…just saying, watch out for those lying wolves in sheep’s clothing…it’s not worth eternity in hell!….https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013623758357

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  4. The two “Witnesses” are LITERAL witnesses to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. God is not a God of HALF-Measures. Anyone that thinks that Revelation is just calling someone who never met and knew Jesus, a “witness”, is in blunt and un-PC terms, an idiot. 12 apostles will sit next on 12 thrones next to Jesus for a reason. These are who were given the Golden Oil/ HOLY SPIRIT to distribute at will, and CHOSEN to spread the Gospel, because they were WITNESSES, and they ALL died for Jesus. Anyone who thinks that Enoch, Elijah or Moses are the two “witnesses”, the truth has been kept from your eyes. Anyone who thinks that the apostles could not be resurrected faster than Moses or Elijah, never read their Bible. Or that God would suffer Elijah or Moses to die again, never being “witnesses” of Jesus. The Apostles were given POWER to raise the DEAD. Elijah and Moses were NEVER given the power to distribute the Holy Spirit or perform the miracles that Jesus did, nor were they ever intended to. They never lived and breathed and died WITH Jesus. Are your eyes open yet, or do you still listen to Perry Stone and others that exalt themselves with PROGRAMS given them by others? The Two Witnesses MUST be two Apostles. James and John, the “Sons of Thunder”, the inner circle of Jesus who WITNESSED everything, even the transfiguration, would be my guess. They would sit on thrones next to Jesus. Moses and Elijah do not sit on thrones next to Jesus, as far as scripture says. There are TWELVE thrones, according to scripture. Peter was married and denied Jesus, so this eliminates him from a throne directly to Jesus left or right, in my view. This only leaves James and john, the “first and last”. John is obvious, that he sits on a throne on the right hand of Jesus. It is why he was called anointed and beloved. That defines WHO he is. He was given the Revelation also. His place on Jesus’ right hand is obvious. “If I will that he tarry til I come, what is that to thee? Feed my Sheep”. John has to be the other,and had to have been raised from the dead, which power they possessed. His ministry was far from over. What? Is is more of a miracle for Moses to be raised from the dead, or James? Get REAL with it. A WITNESS of Jesus, is a REAL Witness.

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    • I somehow doubt that you’ve been the chosen vessel of Spirit given revelation as to the eschatological unfolding. One correction – Moses did die, but ELIJAH DID NOT. Neither did Enoch. I don’t profess to be all knowing nor the vessel of unfolding revelation, but I do know scripture tells us, “it is given unto man once to die” and seeing as 2 men didn’t die who are we to say Enoch and Elijah won’t be sent back to be the 2 witnesses who’re killed? I wouldn’t rule out any possibility but my faith doesn’t revolve around being omniscient or having Father YHVH reveal everything down to the minutest detail to me. The apostles were never given the power to distribute the Holy Spirit – Yeshua said before He left, that HE would send the Holy Spirit to lead all believers into all truth so that they’d have no need any man should teach them. We’re told all power in heaven and earth (all creation) is given to Yeshua – not to men- and by believing in faith, any believer can pray for Him to fill / baptise believers in the Holy Spirit.This “guess” of yours, then has no bearing on your postulations about the witnesses, the apostles, or eschatology.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gitardood;
        Your assumptions about Elijah and Enoch have no basis in fact or in the scriptural record. All indications are that they DID in fact die and are awaiting resurrection. “No flesh can enter heaven”. IF one is to understand a scripture, it must be understood that that scripture does not disagree, or conflict with ANY OTHER scripture in the slightest.

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        • Did I say anything about them entering heaven in the flesh? Show me where. Your “indications” are just presumptions and assumptions. When one ASSumes they tend to make an ass. Scripture doesn’t elaborate on the mechanics of their entry but it also doesn’t preclude them being changed from mortal bodies to immortal bodies as Paul states all righteous will be in 1 Corinthians 15. It also doesn’t name the two witnesses – maybe it’s YHVH’s pleasure to keep it secret – He also knows how people can take these types of enigmas that aren’t essential to their salvation and want to argue them endlessly

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          • Have much of a temper? What’s your problem here? You would have been flunked out of debate 101 for getting angry in any debate.

            You make assumptions given you apparently, by false religion. In the scriptural scholar world, they didn’t go to heaven.

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            • @Mike and gitardood:

              Your argument has NOTHING to do with the point and thesis of my post — which is that we have PERCIPIENT WITNESSES of Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ. The bickering between you two actually is a distraction from my post’s thesis — and I do not appreciate it.

              This is a privately-owned blog and we have every right to choose what readers’ comments to post or not post. Henceforth, your protraction of this pointless and tiresome argument will be deleted. And if either of you persist, you will be banned from FOTM.

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            • no one is angry – so again you flunk because you like to jump to conclusions and make assumptions …

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  5. Dr. E, thank you for publishing Luke 24:13-35.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Correction – “James”, John’s brother has to be the other witness besides John.

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  7. The mystery of the Incarnation and the power of the Resurrection are the central points of Christianity. If these “Christologists” need convincing I doubt it will come from manufacturing stories.

    Anyone who has ever experienced the power of sacraments can attest to the Resurrection being more than mere words can describe. The World is forever changed by it. We are limited in our ability to experience and understand it, but it is more real than anything else.

    To understand or experience it requires faith. It doesn’t depend on the holiness of the recipient, it only depends on faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dr.Eowyn,
    I have told you, I attended a small Bible college in the early 80’s, here in Michigan, that has now merged with Grand Rapids Baptist college to form Cornerstone University. Even as far back as my time there, Bible colleges were a sad thing. Of course, many professors were very good, and taught the Bible as the inspired word of God. Mostly they were the older ones. The younger ones tended to try to get students to do what they liked to call “think for yourself, or stretch our understanding” of the Bible. Unfortunately, what this ended up doing was to turn out Pastor’s who did not have a deep love or respect for the word of God, or a belief in it’s infallibility.

    Now, we are reaping what has been sewn. The proliferation of liberal churches has been going on for decades, and the flight of people away from fundamental churches that preach the Gospel is an epidemic. Young people are leaving the church as soon as they get out from under their parents control, if not sooner.

    One small gleam of light that I see is that some young people are coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, in spite of the failure of some of the churches. When I look into what is going on in the world of evangelism, I see that people are still sharing the Gospel, and that it is having an impact, not just in foreign lands, but here in our own nation, as well. I believe that it is going to be through the youth of our nation that many will be saved before the final battle.

    I often see people write or hear people talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus. I have never said it, but sometimes I want to tell them, that nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are to have a personal relationship with Jesus. We are told that we are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are told that we are to obey, that we are to preach, to spread the good news of Christ, and many other things. But when I see this relationship thing, I immediately am cautious, as I have seen many times this kind of thing in what I call The Social Gospel.

    The Social Gospel is where people use the local church more as a club than as a place to worship God. A church can also be considered a hospital for the saints, or a place to call sinners to repentance. I have been in a few types of churches, with various friends, in my life. I was in a Pentecostal type that was extreme, where people were running around and waving ribbons, shouting, etc. A preacher there came to me and tried to get me to speak in tongues, even though I am no a charismatic believer. But the place that I think I have felt the most out of place is at one of the social gospel types of churches. I won’t name the denomination, as my intent is not to offend, but to encourage. You see, at least in the Pentecostal the people were seeking God. In the social gospel churches, I actually believe that people think that they are seeking God, but in fact are seeking self, or at least, to fulfill a hole within themselves, without having to give up their own sinful nature.

    We often talk about salvation, but don’t want to talk about repentance. We do unbelievers a disservice if we don’t tell them the entire Gospel. Certainly, Jesus died to pay for all of our sins. But we must turn from our sinful ways to God. From Satan and his wickedness to God and His forgiveness. And remembering that this is not working for our salvation, it is still a process that is important. A willingness to turn our back on our old life, if you will. And I think that in the Social Gospel I think that is forgotten. Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. As always, thank you for your Sunday devotional. It never fails to inspire and provoke. My hope is that we all remember that our nation is ever in need of prayer, which is important and useful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jesus actually Rose from the Dead in historical time. He Rose from the Dead PHYSICALLY. And He had a GLORIFIED body, one that became immune to any further suffering, one that became immune to any further death. And His Body had the ability to surmount the barriers of physical time and space; Hence he was able to appear in the upper room AT WILL, he became able to pass through walls and the dimensions of the physical Universe.
    Thanks to recent discoveries of quantum physics, many scientists today agree there are multiple dimensions—at least as many as 17 of them—and we have knowledge of the physical realm we did not have one generation or 25 years ago. I have heard this from Dr. Ted Broer on his appearances on Hagmann & Hagmann’s You Tube show.
    Thus, Christianity is the One and Only Religion that was based upon HISTORICAL FACT, that FACT being Christ Our Lord’s actual Resurrection. The testimony and transformed lives of His Percipient Witnesses attest to this. And when the first generation witnessed the lives and testimonies of these Witnesses, they, too, became not only witnesses, but participants in this Great and Glorious Mystery: We DO NOT die like dogs in a ditch; We pass from this Life and go to Judgment, and onto either Glory or Damnation!

    THIS is the meaning of Life. THIS is what all of human History revolves around, and not all the Voltarian atheism and Cultural Marxism and Satanism can abolish this Great Mystery! The more martyrs they make, the more they bury their own case!
    That Great Day of Judgment, whereby Christ Our Lord Shall Return to Judge the Living and the Dead WILL HAPPEN, and it WILL BE the LAST AND FINAL WORD, ending History and to His Kingdom there shall be NO END!
    Blessed be God Forever!

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  10. It is Jesus’ SACRIFICE, not his resurrection, that is the most profound event in the history of man. The death of the Christ pays for what Adam caused to happen to man, through Satan’s deception. Satan is STILL deceiving man using religions, entertainment, peer pressure, false teachers, false translations of God’s word, government, and everything else to do with his system of things. Satan is the ruler of the world at present. That will end in the final battle.

    Jesus stated that the day of a man’s birth is nothing to be concerned with. He has accomplished nothing yet. The day of his death is to be memorialized. Just as Jesus birth is of no consequence, but his death is the most important event in human history.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Awesome devotional Dr. Eowyn!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I watched RISEN a few months back and thought it was a wonderful film. Recently I went to see “Paul Apostle of Christ” and thought it was excellent and very moving. Also very real.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Sunday Devotional: The two witnesses of the Resurrected Christ — Fellowship of the Minds | Gitardood's Weblog

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