What do Christ’s disciples have in common with witnesses to a gang related homicide?

What do the disciples of Jesus have in common with witnesses to a gang related homicide? Yet more noteworthy, why does it matter today?

Follow the trail of logic to see if you agree or disagree with my assessment.

Gang related homicide

If a good citizen witnessed a gang related homicide, and went into hiding fearing death would occur if he dared to open his mouth, would anyone blame him? Typically not.

A prosecutor would be thrilled if the same witness came forward with information regarding the crime, and although he was previously terrified, agreed to testify. With nothing to gain and ultimately his life to lose, there isn’t a juror who would discount his testimony.

gang related homicide

(Office of Public Affairs, US Marshals Service)

Corroborating witnesses

If several others corroborated the same story, would they be credible?

What if that same witness, along with several others were later slaughtered? Would it add or detract from their credibility?

The disciples plight

That best describes the plight of the disciples. They witnessed powerful religious and government leaders execute Jesus without merit. The disciples disappeared from public view after Jesus was arrested. Peter denied he knew Christ, and John was the only disciple present at the crucifixion. Afterward, they all quietly returned to the life they knew before Christ. No one was proclaiming anything!

But after Jesus arose and appeared to the disciples before ascending to heaven, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. They told what they knew to be true even though a humiliating death was sure to occur.

While jihadists are willing to die for a faith they “think” is true, the disciples died for a belief they knew to be true. They did not willingly die for a lie.


Premature death was certain

After providing testimony, and over a short period of time, the disciples were slaughtered.

  • Peter was crucified
  • Andrew was crucified
  • James, the son of Zebedee, was killed by the sword
  • John, the son of Zebedee, died as an exile on the island of Patmos
  • Philip was crucified
  • Bartholomew was crucified
  • Thomas was killed by a spear
  • Matthew was killed by a sword
  • James, son of Alpheus, was crucified
  • Thaddeus was killed by arrows
  • Simon the Zealot, was crucified

(Photo courtesy Brenna Hodge)

If you assume the Bible is a myth, and the disciples mythical, consider this:

The historicity of Scripture is rock solid.

There are more than 20,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts in existence. The Iliad, second to the New Testament in manuscript authority, has only 643 manuscripts in existence. And Aristotle, who would be unchallenged by any credible college professor, has only 49 manuscripts in existence.[1]

If the authors of Scripture were questioned on the witness stand today, they would be deemed credible. Furthermore, they eventually died for telling their stories.


[1] Josh and Sean McDowell, More Than a Carpenter, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2009)

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