Devo for November 18

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  • Magnumguy
    started a topic Devo for November 18

    Devo for November 18

    Why We Can Be Confident in the Eyewitness Accounts in the Gospels

    Eyewitness testimony can be compelling and convincing. When a witness has had ample opportunity to observe a crime, when there’s no bias or ulterior motives, when the witness is truthful and fair, the climactic act of pointing out a defendant in a courtroom can be enough to doom that person to prison or worse.

    And eyewitness testimony is just as crucial in investigating historical matters—even the issue of whether the Christmas manger really contained the unique Son of God.

    But what eyewitness accounts do we possess? Do we have the testimony of anyone who personally interacted with Jesus, who listened to his teachings, who saw his miracles, who witnessed his death, and who encountered him after his alleged resurrection? Do we have any records from first-century “journalists” who interviewed eyewitnesses, asked tough questions, and faithfully recorded what they scrupulously determined to be true?

    Craig Blomberg is widely considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on the biographies of Jesus, which are called the four gospels. He received his doctorate in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scotland, later serving as a senior research fellow for Tyndale House at Cambridge University in England, where he was part of an elite group of international scholars that produced a series of acclaimed works on Jesus. He is currently a professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary.

    As he settled into a high-back chair in his office, cup of coffee in hand, I too sipped some coffee to ward off the Colorado chill. Because I sensed Blomberg was a get-to-the-point kind of guy, I decided to start my interview by cutting to the core of the issue.

    “Tell me this,” I said with an edge of challenge in my voice, “is it really possible to be an intelligent, critically thinking person and still believe that the four gospels were written by the people whose names have been attached to them?”

    Blomberg set his coffee cup on the edge of his desk and looked intently at me. “The answer is yes,” he said with conviction.

    “What specific evidence do you have that they are the authors of the Gospels?”

    Blomberg leaned forward. “Again, the oldest and probably most significant testimony comes from Papias, who in about AD 125 specifically affirmed that Mark had carefully and accurately recorded Peter’s eyewitness observations. In fact, he said Mark ‘made no mistake’ and did not include ‘any false statement.’ And Papias said Matthew had preserved the teachings of Jesus as well.

    “Then Irenaeus, writing about AD 180, confirmed the traditional authorship. In fact, here—,” he said, reaching for a book. He flipped it open and read Irenaeus’ words:

    Matthew published his own Gospel among the
    Hebrews in their own tongue, when Peter and
    Paul were preaching the Gospel in Rome and
    founding the church there. After their departure,
    Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself
    handed down to us in writing the substance
    of Peter’s preaching. Luke, the follower of Paul,
    set down in a book the Gospel preached by his
    teacher. Then John, the disciple of the Lord, who
    also leaned on his breast, himself produced his
    Gospel while he was living at Ephesus in Asia.

    I looked up from the notes I was taking. “Okay, let me clarify this,” I said. “If we can have confidence that the gospels were written by the disciples Matthew and John; by Mark, the companion of the disciple Peter; and by Luke, the historian, companion of Paul, and sort of a first-century journalist, we can be assured that the events they record are based on either direct or indirect eyewitness testimony.”

    As I was speaking, Blomberg was mentally sifting my words. When I finished, he nodded.

    “Exactly,” he said crisply.


    Investigating Faith by Lee Strobel /




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