“Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? (1 Corinthians 9:1).”
Samuel James Seymour (center)
“All of a sudden a shot rang out…and someone screamed. I saw him slumped forward in his seat.” An eyewitness is invaluable for proof, especially when that eyewitness is part of an historic murder. On February 9, 1956, Samuel Seymour was 96 years old when he appeared on the television show, “I’ve Got A Secret.” He was just such a witness.
Five-year-old Seymour went to the theater in Washington, D.C. on April 14thand saw Abraham Lincoln murdered by John Wilkes Booth. The last surviving eyewitness to this tragedy, he sat in the balcony across from the Presidential Box and saw Lincoln arrive, waving and smiling.
The murder scene
After the shot rang out, he was confused by all the commotion and concerned about Booth who tumbled “over the balcony rail and landed on the stage,” and broke his leg. What luck to be there to see history, albeit horrible, but…imagine if…Lincoln came back to life and spoke to Seymour! Would you still believe his story or think he’s a liar?
At 96 a televison star
Saul of Tarsus, also known as Paul the Apostle, did just that when he met and talked with a murdered Jew from Nazareth (The Book of Acts, chapter 9). Paul was an expert teacher on Judaism, and before this remarkable encounter, he imprisoned Jews and murdered them for saying Jesus was alive and their Messiah.
Consider how Paul’s encounter with a dead man transformed his life’s direction, and if you’d do this for a lie:
- He lost everything, endured hardships, ridicule, beatings, stoning, and imprisonments.
- He told everyone he met, and traveled everywhere to do so (even risking dangerous shipwrecks).
- He was so convincing that thousands gave up their lives (literally) on his testimony.
- He started churches that made Christianity a worldwide force that affected billions.
- He wrote most of the New Testament so we could scrutinize his claims about Jesus.
- He gave his head to a Roman executioner for what he believed to be unequivocally true.
He lost everything on purpose; only a genuine “dead” Jesus encounter warrants that radical a change. Mr. Seymour died two months after his television appearance, but if he had claimed to see Lincoln alive, several months later, and knew it was a lie, when threatened with death to tell the truth, he’d have recanted. A man will die for a cause he believes in, but nobody would die for what they knew was a lie.
Paul gladly died for his eyewitness testimony that Jesus rose from the dead to prove he was God, in the flesh, the promised Jewish Messiah (Isaiah 53).
The greatest President ever?
I was born in 1961 so I rely on these eyewitnesses, the former can be seen on YouTube, but Paul’s account must be read in the New Testament. Both accounts are considered to be historically sound as primary sources. If you take the time to read Paul’s letters and decide he’s a liar, then you’ve lost a few days. But if you don’t, and he’s telling the truth, then Paul’s seven words may cost you everything, forever. Why not check out what he said he saw and see for yourself. Seven could be your lucky number, and you know what rhymes with seven?