Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Jesus' Miracles Part 1
Eyewitness testimony is a legal term, which means that people provide a description of what they have witnessed, such as a road accident or during a robbery, and this testimony is important to juries in their decision-making process. Yet, many falsely accused individuals have served long prison sentences and were only freed when The Innocence Project got involved. How could these injustices have happened with eyewitness testimony provided? Research has demonstrated that eyewitness testimony is not always reliable. One reason for this is that during traumatic events the focus of the witnesses may be on different elements of the experience. For example, several years ago one of our neighbours stopped taking her medications for paranoid schizophrenia, banged on our door several times, offered to bash my face in, and knock my teeth out. She also stalked our sons and me. I was so terrified that I didn't even recognize this was a neighbour, who lived two doors down from us! I couldn't have given any information about what she looked like or what she was wearing—those details seemed insignificant to the scary situation I found myself in! Then, I saw her go into a town home on the property and reported the address to the office manager. A case of mistaken identity: that turned out to be the home of her sister. The sister nearly got evicted, based on the eyewitness testimony I had provided.
There are other reasons for differences in eyewitness reports of the same event. I'm providing this glimpse into eyewitness testimony, because one of the questions that commonly arises about the accounts of Jesus' miracles, that are recorded in the Gospels, is how can the eyewitnesses (i.e., the Apostles) have different written accounts of the same miracles that they witnessed? I believe that eyewitness testimony plays a factor, because of the perspectives of the individual Apostles. For example, Luke was a doctor, so it's likely that his view of the miracles would tie into what he knew of the workings of the human body and the understanding that cures did not suddenly happen to people who had been afflicted with such conditions as blindness, palsy, or paralysis for their lifetime.
Tomorrow we will continue exploring the categories of Jesus' miracles and His purposes for performing them.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer