Test #3: What additional historical evidence supports the Jesus of the Bible?
1. Dating of the 4 Gospels
2. Mountains of Manuscripts
3. The Writers Testimonies
The Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) wrote about supernatural occurrences such as divine healings, miracles and the resurrection. These men walked and talked with Jesus. According to all the historical sources we have, these writers were honest and sincere men of integrity. Honesty and integrity are always assumed in evaluating historical literature unless there is compelling evidence otherwise. We have good reasons to trust the Gospel writers.
So why would they include in their accounts something as unbelievable as miracles? Wouldn’t they risk people discarding their accounts as fables? Throughout the New Testament they wrote about incredible healings, walking on water, individuals rising from the dead, casting out demons, and much more. If they were making it up what would be their motivation? An atheist friend told me they made up the miracle stories so they could bask in the glory of starting a new religion. I asked him what did these New Testament writers receive for their supernatural writings. Did they get fame and fortune?
The truth is they lived in poverty, were whipped, spend months and years in jail and the vast majority eventually paid for their writings with their lives. Not a single one changed their story, even when tortured. Truly the only motivation was to tell the truth about Jesus. They wrote about the miraculous because that is what they saw. They supported their written testimonies with their lives.
There are individuals who die for what they believe even today. However, the difference is they are not eyewitnesses of the actual events in question. People don’t die for a lie they know is a lie! These men gave their lives in defense of what they believed to be true.
Critics like the Jesus Seminar eliminate chapters and verses of the Gospels as being authentic because they include accounts of the miraculous. They have a presupposition miracles are impossible and they apply that belief to the authenticity of the scriptures. This is not a convincing argument. Whenever you see critics writing about events such as the resurrection in Time Magazine or Newsweek, remember they have most likely ruled out the supernatural before they even considered the evidence. Once they rule out the miraculous, then they will try to provide a natural explanation for the event. Usually, it is a weakly contrived story. Their reasoning is any natural explanation is better than a supernatural one.
When it comes to the accuracy of the Gospel writers you have a choice of whom you are going to believe. Would you trust individuals writing 2,000 years later who don’t believe in God, think miracles are impossible, and are critical of the eyewitnesses? Or would you believe in the individuals who walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus and backed up their writings with their lives. In my mind the choice is easy. I choose to believe the eyewitnesses. How about you?