“And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:42-43)
As we see from the various readings for Easter Sunday, the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection rest upon the testimony of eyewitnesses, men and women who saw Jesus crucified, buried and who then saw Him alive again. Peter cited these testimonies when preaching the gospel to the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household (Acts 10) as did Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15).
Eyewitness testimonies were powerful evidence of the resurrection of Jesus for it was an event which far exceeded the world view of most if not all people, even today. A person can easily dismiss such stories as fantasy because they were unbelievable, until one is confronted by the eyewitnesses. These witnesses were unlikely to lie with boldness or concoct fantastic tales of events totally beyond the scope of their worldview because they were simple people, humble and meek, not well-educated. In addition, theIr testimony did not put them in a good light for they admitted they had been extremely fearful following Jesus’ horrible death. They testified that they had completely misunderstood Jesus, his teachings and His mission. If they had been lying they would not have admitted to such stupidity and weakness but would have put a “spin” on the story to make themselves look good, much like many people do today.
When we present the gospel to an unbeliever we can tell them of the testimonies presented in the scripture. More than that, we can tell them of our own testimony. We can tell them of how faith in Christ has changed us and how that faith sustains us through the trials and difficulties of life. We can also tell them of the grace and mercy of Almighty God who grants forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice of Christ for imperfect and unworthy people. Only through Christ are we made right with God.