Eyewitness Accounts


I remember the first time it struck me that the events of Jesus’s life, as described in the Gospel accounts in the Bible, actually happened. Not just that they were widely read stories, but that they actually happened in real time and space, in my world, not just in Bibleland.

I was a sophomore at Mizzou studying journalism. That fall, I remember lying on my stomach on my bed in my dorm room. I was a Resident Assistant and had a room to myself. I had been given a paperback NIV Bible a few weeks before by another student in my dorm. I was reading it. I was curious.

A friend had recommended I start by reading the Gospel of John. I tried, but I got lost in the first few verses. I didn’t understand that it was talking about Jesus.

So I flipped to the Gospel of Matthew and started reading. The next day, I read the Gospel of Mark. I was struck by the fact that there were some of the same stories in both books, but told in slightly different ways.

The next day I read the beginning chapters of the Gospel of Luke. I saw some of the same stories again, told in slightly different ways again. Some details were included in one account but not in another. Sometimes a few words in the quotes were different.


As a student reporter, I knew that two or more people who witness the same thing rarely give the same account verbatim. They have their perspectives. They remember some details more than others. It totally made sense to me that as the eyewitnesses told others, a few details would differ. For me, the discrepancies only proved the validity of the events recorded.

A month before, Doug had asked me as we walked across the Quad: “So who do you think Jesus is?” My reply had been: “I don’t know. He was God’s son or something, wasn’t he?”

Through the Gospels, God was slowly opening my eyes to who Jesus was and why that mattered.

Julie profile pic Julie Serven craves shalom for people and places. She enjoys editing, helping people with literacy skills, hearing people’s stories, exploring all things OKC, yoga, NPR, and spending time with her ultracool family.