Skeptics: No One Saw the Resurrection
Some skeptics say that the disciples never eyewitnessed the resurrection itself. This is a fair point. It is always desirable to have a witness that can say that he saw the crime being committed. However, another form of direct evidence, intermediate direct evidence, can be used to answer this concern of skeptics. Intermediate direct evidence is often used in criminal cases. Sometimes, eyewitnesses provide testimony that does not prove the entire crime.
For instance, a witness may not have observed a suspect commit the heist of a particular car. However, if a witness observes the suspect driving the stolen car, this fact, along with other evidence, could lead a jury to convict this particular suspect of stealing the car. If additional witnesses come forward who provide other evidence, then this intermediate direct evidence can be used to establish that the suspect committed the crime.
Let’s say a second witness sees the same suspect loitering near the car with a crowbar before she hears the sound of breaking glass. She goes to call the police and when she returns to the window, the car is gone. Both witnesses did not observe the car actually being stolen but they did witness the suspect doing things that would be consistent with him stealing the car. An inference can be made that the suspect stole the car.
Intermediate Direct Evidence and the Resurrection
In a similar way, there is intermediate direct evidence reported in the Gospel accounts that can lead us to the conclusion that Jesus Christ arose from the dead. In fact, there was an eyewitness who wrote about the death and burial of Jesus Christ (John). There were also eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus Christ who wrote about it (Matthew, John, Paul). We have these accounts in authenticated documents today that were written within only decades from the events they describe. Moreover, the resurrected Jesus Christ was witnessed twelve times by numerous persons in different scenarios. This strengthening of evidence displays the evidential principle of corroboration.
Resurrection Investigators: Mark and Luke
Looking at the resurrection accounts of Mark and Luke, we have two investigators who interviewed witnesses of the resurrection. They were in a position to talk to eyewitnesses by virtue of their close relationships with them. We know from documents outside of the New Testament that Luke was a close associate of Paul and that Mark was closely associated with Peter (Peter also calls Mark “my son” in 1 Peter 5:13). In certain instances, police reports are allowed into court proceedings to augment the understanding of a certain facet of a case. The accounts of Mark and Luke are in line with this sort of investigative reporting. They are historical investigative reports taken from actual witnesses to the resurrection and surrounding events.