As I conclude I would like to briefly summarize some of the key points of this series.
- Writings of ancient historians Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger established:
- Jesus was real.
- He had devoted followers before and after his death.
- He died on the cross.
- Followers would rather be tortured or die than to deny Jesus.
- Jesus was sentenced by Pilate.
- Archeology supports
- Many Old Testament finds give evidence for ancient cities as far back as the time of Abraham.
- Famous archeologist Dr. Ramsey says New Testament writer Luke is an historian of the first order (authored Luke and Acts).
- John 5 includes insignificant details of five columns surrounding the pool of Bethesda and an archeological dig supports the description of the pool.
- No archeological find has contradicted the New Testament writings.
- Addition historical evidence
- No mention of the destruction of the temple in AD 70 supports the New Testament writers wrote prior to that date.
- Thousands of ancient manuscripts (24,000) help textual critics give us an accurate Bible.
- Eyewitness writers supported the accuracy of their writings with their lives.
Remember all the additional sources I utilized in this series for establishing the historical Jesus are secondary to the writings of the Bible. What we have in the New Testament are multiple independent attestations that give us a clear picture of who was the historical Jesus. The Bible is not a single book but a collection of writings from eyewitnesses or men who received their information from eyewitnesses.
When you look at the Jesus of the critics, the interesting thing is Jesus begins to look like them or what they want him to be. The Jesus Seminar has molded Jesus to look like a moral sage, one who goes around pontificating about how to love others. The problem is the Jesus of this group is not the Jesus of the Bible; that’s because they hate the true Jesus. Their Jesus would never have offended anyone, let alone been persecuted and crucified. He would have been too meek and mild to draw attention to himself.
Does it matter which Jesus we believe in? Jesus believed it did. In John 8 he told the religious Jews that if you don’t believe He was who said He was they would die in their sins. This warning applies today. If you follow a false Jesus, he warns you there are eternal consequences.
What can you do with this information? When you watch a television program or read articles attacking the Biblical Jesus, ask yourself the question, do they believe the supernatural is possible. Many times I’ve watched Bible programs on the Discovery or History channel only to see John Dominic Crossan explaining away some section or teaching of the Bible. This man is an atheist and believes God is a creation in the minds of people. His denial of the supernatural forces him to explain away all the miracle accounts recorded in the scriptures. This series on the historical Jesus should have equipped you to evaluate critical sources of information.
I began this series in part 1 reflecting on the experiences of atheist Lee Strobel, a newspaper journalist, who thought Christianity was false. When tried to prove the Jesus of the Bible was fabricated. After looking at the evidence he dedicated his life to following Christ. Today he speaks all over the world and writes books in support of Christianity. Some of his books include The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator and The Case for the Real Jesus. Lee Strobel’s books are outstanding support for the historical Jesus of the Bible. After years of being an atheist, Strobel chose to follow Jesus. How about you? Who do you say Jesus is?