Sunday Devotional: The percipient witnesses

John 21:1-14

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

There is an important concept in law which is critical to the testimony and determination of truth.

That concept is “percipient witness.”

According to the Law Dictionary, a percipient witness is “A witness who testifies about things that the witness actually saw, heard or otherwise experienced.” Attorneys call the percipient witness “often the most important person on the crucial issue”.

The apostles and disciples were the percipient witnesses of the Jesus the Christ. Their accounts are contained in the four canonical Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, including the above passage from John 21 recounting the disciples seeing Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. Also known as the Sea of Galilee, the Sea of Tiberias is a large freshwater lake in northeast Israel, 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long, and 8.1 miles wide. At 705 ft. to 585 ft. below sea level, the Sea is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world, after the saltwater Dead Sea.

There are countless percipient witnesses of Jesus the Christ, but their testimonies are ignored by many.

And yet we believe 100% there was a person named Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher revered as the founder of Western political philosophy, although the time and place of his birth are unknown, and there are varying accounts of when and how he died. Even the origin of his name is unknown. As the Wikipedia entry admits:

Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about Plato’s early life and education…. The exact time and place of Plato’s birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens…between 429 and 423 BC…. The traditional date of Plato’s birth…428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius….

The fact that the philosopher in his maturity called himself Platon is indisputable, but the origin of this name remains mysterious…the name does not occur in Plato’s known family line….

According to Seneca, Plato died at the age of 81 on the same day he was born. The Suda indicates that he lived to 82 years, while Neanthes claims an age of 84. A variety of sources have given accounts of his death. One story, based on a mutilated manuscript, suggests Plato died in his bed…. Another tradition suggests Plato died at a wedding feast….  According to Tertullian, Plato simply died in his sleep.

“But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.” –John 12:37

“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.” –John 8:45

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


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1 year ago

And with Your Spirit, Amén. Dr. Eowyn, fascinating!

1 year ago

All the percipient witnesses of Jesus alive after the Resurrection were willing to die rather than recant their testimonies. This historic fact stands as strong evidence that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

1 year ago

Thanks Doc.
Hope you are well and maybe a little refreshed with spring here.

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
1 year ago

There is a true sweetness to realize that Christ called his disciples . . . “children.” The fact that he has so recently bled and died such a horrific death to save all mankind, shows that he has, and had at that time a rather “parental” love for them. If Jesus Christ had not loved us beyond what we can even imagine, I doubt that He could have endured all that was required of Him to make the Atonement for us. Thank you, Dr Eowyn, for yet another wonderful lesson from Our Savior’s life . . . let us all… Read more »

1 year ago
Reply to  Auntie Lulu

Yes, indeed. I always think of this time as Jesus preparing his disciples for the Holy Spirit. He is sending them forth. He is about to “enflame” them for their mission. I think of all of the countless martyrs who suffered for the faith. I am truly a believer in the Communion of Saints. I speak to them all the time. We are all still together you know? With all that how can we be sad? This segment of our sojourn, though precious, is short. We have so much time to dwell with those who’ve gone before and have yet… Read more »

1 year ago

I’m always struck by the idea of so many believers who never saw the Lord in life or in resurrected form. I think many of us do see Him whether we realize it or not. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have been touched by Him know how powerful that is. I have been re-reading “Confessions” by St. Augustine. I am amazed how much it resembles a discussion I had with a very holy bishop many years ago. At the time I was aware of his holiness although he certainly did not profess to be so. I was… Read more »