Who exactly were the eyewitnesses to Jesus' crucifixion?
The chief priests, scribes and elders, as found in Matthew 27:41
A centurion and Roman soldiers, as found in Matthew 27:54
Crowds of bystanders, as found in Matthew 27:37, Luke 23:48 and John 19:20
Simon of Cyrene, as found in Mark 15:21
Two criminals who were crucified with Jesus, as found in Luke 23:33
Many women including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph and wife of Clopas, Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee, as found in Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, John 19:26
Jesus’ mother, Mary, as found in John 19:26
The “disciple Jesus loved,” as found in John 19:26
Acquaintances of Jesus, as found in Luke 23:49
Joseph of Arimathea, as found in Matthew 27:57
And Nicodemus, as found in John 19:39
All of these people saw the Roman soldiers nail a flogged, severely beaten and bleeding Jesus to a cross.
All of these people were on the hill where Jesus' cross was raised.
Many, if not all of them, saw how the soldiers and bystanders mocked Jesus as He hung there, suffering and in terrible agony.
Many heard Him speak His very last words.
Many saw Him draw His last breath.
Many saw Him die.
Some saw a soldier pierce Jesus' side with a lance, and the blood and water that came gushing out of the open wound, proof that Jesus was truly dead.
Not long after that, not a few were involved in taking Jesus' dead body down from the cross, lifting that cruel crown of thorns off of His head, and extracting the nails which had been driven mercilessly into His hands and feet.
Some then wrapped Him up in a burial shroud, and carried His corpse into the waiting tomb and onto the cold slab where they laid Him.
Quite a few soldiers rolled a heavy stone back down to seal the tomb and guarded it day and night to ensure that no one could come in to steal Jesus' body.
All four Gospels contain the crucifixion story, with at least one of them written by a direct eyewitness.
All four Gospels tell how Jesus died from the eyewitness accounts of those who were there 2,000 years ago, people who were there to see the Son of God become the one Perfect Sacrifice which would restore man to His creator: to be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.
But all four Gospels also tell of how Jesus rose again from the dead after three days, just as He had promised. And how He walked and talked with them for 40 days after that, eating with them and teaching them His Word that they might teach it to others.
Ten days after Jesus returned to heaven from whence He came, the power of Jesus' death and resurrection, the very power of God, the Holy Spirit, filled Jesus' followers to overflowing and turned former cowards into fearless evangelists. It was these eyewitnesses who would "turn the world around" (Acts 17:6) with the message of love and forgiveness that is the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Then along came a man who claimed that none of this ever happened. A man who told his followers that Jesus was never crucified. A man who claimed that God had sent him with another message and that they should follow him instead of Jesus. That man's name was Muhammad.
But was Muhammad an eyewitness?
Was he at the cross when Jesus was crucified?
Was he anywhere near the cross?
Was he anywhere near Jerusalem?
Was he anywhere near Israel at the time?
Because Muhammad hadn't even been born yet.
Muhammad wasn't born till over 500 years after Jesus' crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension!
And when he was finally born, it was in a place that was more than 1,200 kilometers away from Jerusalem. Muhammad never even came near Jerusalem all the years of his life.
So why should we believe what Muhammad said about Jesus or the cross when he was never an eyewitness to any of the events in the Bible?
Why should anyone believe the claims made by someone who never even met Jesus, or any of His apostles or disciples, or His disciples' disciples, or even His disciples' disciples' disciples? Claims made by someone who had only the words he said had been brought to him by an angel?
Putting it simply, we don't. Because it is irrational and illogical to believe the words of a man whose claims have never been substantiated over the documented and verified testimony of actual eyewitnesses and contemporaries of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We don't believe Muhammad because we who are followers of the Lord Jesus know Him. We are His sheep, and we know His voice. And we know that our Jesus did not fail to do the one thing the Messiah came to this earth to do:
With thanks to http://bibleq.net/answer/2467/ for the list of crucifixion witnesses.
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