The Eyewitnesses

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The New Testament didn’t just “appear out of nowhere”. And it wasn’t simply Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John giving an account of the life of Jesus. There is extensively verified, written history, aside from these four men, that supports the notion that a very remarkable person, Jesus, walked this earth for thirty-somewhat years. Although the gospel writers wrote most of their work from first-hand experience, Jesus made his mark on many ordinary people during his ministry. People (almost daily) witnessed his ministry, his miracles, and even his death. As the Son of God, he walked this earth with and among all of humanity that existed at that time. This is why I have used the concept of an eye-witness, in addition to his disciples.

Think about these facts for a minute:

*People were working in the inn and the stable at the birth of Jesus.
*There were people standing in the Jordan River watching John the Baptist at work.
*The Wedding at Cana was filled with participants and a wine steward.
*The “woman at the well” never wrote a Gospel, but she had an important face-to-face view of Jesus.
*People had come to a hall to listen to Jesus when men lowered a paralyzed man into the room. *Thousands of people listened to the Sermon on the Mount.
*Jesus, after all, fed more than 5,000 people- who were all eyewitnesses!
*Martha and Mary had servants at work in their home when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. *There were servers in the room the night of the famous Seder that became the “Last Supper”.

I began this project with one thought in mind”. 
What would it have been like to have witnessed Jesus during his lifetime? Initially, I focused on the Last Supper. I utilized a combination of both the Gospels and historical accounts to form the basis of the observation of a bystander or an eyewitness at such an event. By definition, a bystander is a person who is present at an event or an incident but does not, necessarily, take part.

This work was inspired by several of the writings of Jesuit Priest James Martin. In his book, “Learning to Pray”, William Collis, 2022, Martin devoted a full chapter to the gift of imagination. He discussed the “Ignatian Contemplation”. In short form, this encourages you to put yourself back into the biblical scene. That became an early seed for this work.

Some people, rightfully, might challenge the ten events that I chose to chronicle in this work. Many more events in his life impacted people. But each of these events was observed by a number, sometimes great numbers – sometimes very few, of people- besides the disciples who observed and wrote their accounts.

Again, it is my hope that the readers will put themselves in the place of an eyewitness in each one of these significant events. Hopefully, this can enable them to better appreciate the events of that time and sense the impact that our Lord and Savior, Jesus, had at that time as well as now.