In our recent Sunday Series, we have looking at how the world views Jesus Christ and who He really is. This week we continue with by taking a look at the person of Jesus Christ historically.
Today’s Question – Isn’t the story of Jesus just a bunch of stories that man wrote making Jesus just like any other story? Maybe there are good principles to learn, but it certainly isn’t intended to be viewed as accurate, right?
The implication here is that it isn’t true and therefore doesn’t hold as much weight as truth does. If it is simply a story, we can pull what we want out of it and leave the rest.
“What we need is not a religion that is right where we are right, but one that is right where we are wrong.” G.K. Chesterton
There is a disconnect between the Jesus of history and experience and the Jesus people have heard about today. There is a limited understanding of what Jesus taught and who He is. The Jesus of history has been evicted from lives
When the historical record is undermined, or ignored, people get a warped view of the person of Jesus Christ and it changes how they think.
Modern Day Skeptics Miss the Point
Jesus Seminar — Basically a group of scholars who decide by casting votes with various beads about whether the deeds or words of Jesus are actually true. They have said about 18%, based on their consensus, is actually attributed to Jesus. There have been many skeptics out there who are well educated, but have somehow missed the point.
Is there an answer to their problem? Yes. But, even before that they haven’t even started in the right place.
The Only Starting Point – Acts 2:22-32 – (You should take the time to read that, I am just listing one verse here. )
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.- Acts 2:32
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the core of Christianity. Therefore, even if there are some variations in the text, as some of the scholars have claimed, the message still is Jesus Christ died and risen for sins. Even so, we can look at the historical accounts and see they are accurate and that the supposed variations don’t contradict.
With a little looking, this claim falls apart. No one was preaching a “mistake free” scripture as the core. But, even so, we can prove the historical accuracy of it.
A Common Claim
There are some who claim that much of Jesus’ public sayings and deeds were forgotten or irrelevant and later Christians wrote the Gospels.
If it was not true, why would the disciples remember it? Why would Christianity emerge at all?
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
In the context of Acts 4, it is obvious that Jesus’ teaching were quite relevant. If not, then why would Peter and John live like that?
The motivation and power for ministry comes from Jesus Christ, not because of some conspiracy or some man driven idea.
Looking at Jesus from Outside of the Bible (a few examples)
Sometimes people will say, well the Bible has been tampered with and not reliable. Of course, it is a miracle that so much is written about Jesus, since they didn’t really write all that much down. Here are a few examples, compiled from a few sources, that are from outside that Bible.
The Romans viewed Jesus as a troublemaker. Tacitus (historian) in the early second century described “Christus” as founder of superstition “Where all things horrible and shameful collect and are practiced.”
Greeks wrote about Jesus also. Celsus thought Jesus practiced magic and he concluded Jesus gave himself a title of god because of those powers. Lucian of Samosata said Christians worshipped Jesus “the man who was crucified in Palestine”
The Jews also wrote about Jesus. Many Rabbis claimed he was false prophet who practiced magic and led Israel astray. One of the more well known ones, Josephus, called Jesus a “doer of amazing deeds.”
Jesus is written about in other texts and can be proven to have been alive and doing much of what is taught about him in the Gospels.
The big question then is if he did exist, who is he? If he can be historically verified, what do we make of His teaching? The truth of the matter is that regardless of what the world wants to believe, if Jesus is the Son of God, He is the Son of God. It makes no difference if people call Him irrelevant or out of touch.
We will continue this next week. I hope you are having a great day of worship and family.