The resurrection of Jesus is unbelievable. That is, people find it difficult to believe. I get it. It conflicts with logic and science. Simply put, dead people don’t rise from the grave. The truth is, I would doubt the resurrection of Jesus, too, if it was not for one piece of evidence.
Eyewitness Testimony for the Resurrection
First, Luke, the Gentile medical doctor, and historian, probably conducted interviews. He interviewed men and women who were still alive when Jesus rose from the dead. Luke writes about Jesus’ appearances:
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about God’s kingdom. Acts 1:3
So, over a forty-day period, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of his followers:
Peter – Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Two Disciples – Luke 24:13-35
Ten Disciples – John 20:19-25
Eleven Disciples – Mark 16:14; John 20:26-31
7 Disciples – John 21:1-25
All Apostles – Matthew 28:16-20 (At the commissioning on a mountain in Galilee)
500+ people – 1 Corinthians 15:6
James – 1 Corinthians 15:7
All Apostles – Acts 1:1-14 (At the ascension)
Paul – Acts 9:1-19
Women and The Resurrection
The above list is compelling. However, there is another eyewitness testimony that persuades me to believe that the Resurrection is true. The testimony of Mary Magdalene and Mary is even more convincing (Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). These women were the primary witnesses to the empty tomb. Then, they reported it to the rest of the disciples. Thus, they were the first preachers of this good news.
Women being eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus significantly strengthen the truth of it. Why? Because of two facts about the role of women in Jewish society:
- Women occupied a low rung on the Jewish social ladder. This is evident in rabbinic expressions:
Happy is he whose children are male, but woe to him whose children are female.
- Women’s testimonies were regarded as so worthless that they were not even permitted to serve as legal witnesses in a court of law. Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, quote the Talmud and Josephus, respectively, regarding the testimony of women:
But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex … since it is possible that they may not speak truth, either out of hope of gain or fear of punishment.
Any evidence which a woman gives is not valid (to offer)… This is equivalent to say that one who is Rabbinically accounted a robber is qualified to give the same evidence as a woman.
This makes the resurrection of Jesus even more believable. Why would the writers include the eyewitness testimony from someone who could hurt the credibility of their testimony? A fabricated resurrection story would have made men, in a male-dominated culture, the story’s heroes, not women.
We Can’t Dismiss the Resurrection.
But, the Gospels accurately portray women as the heroes of the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, we can believe the veracity of the Resurrection because of the testimony of these brave and faithful women.
Thus, let’s not dismiss Jesus’ post-death appearances to Mary and Mary Magdalene. Jesus’ resurrection was not a figment of their imagination. It wasn’t a mistake. They didn’t go to the wrong tomb. These women were not smoking the “buddah” or the “Ooh-Wee.” Jesus died an excruciating death. But, God raised him to life again. They saw, heard, and touched Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus happened. And we have eyewitnesses to prove it.
So, I am grateful for the testimony and witness of the brave women then and godly women now. Our response to their testimony about Jesus’ resurrection should not be “go home,” but one of awe, worship, and faith.
Turn Your Minutes into Moments
What testimony or evidence convinces you that the resurrection of Jesus is true?