Usually when I read the crucifixion and resurrection accounts in the Bible, I notice how they are at pains to show how the risen Lord Jesus was truly alive and not a phantasm. Today, however, these verses leapt out at me:
When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.—Luke 24:48-49.
What are they there for? To be sure, they allows us to share in the pain and loss of the people who grieved, particularly the women. But is that the only reason Luke told us that those who stood at the cross were “all who knew him”? I doubt it. Those verses remind us it was truly Jesus who was crucified, not someone else. Then the crowd left as soon as the spectacle was over. But the eyewitnesses, who knew him well stayed longer — long enough to eliminate any idea that he might have “fainted” or “swooned” or any such nonsense.