The Claims of Jesus Christ,
True or False?
Biblical, Historical and Medical Evidence
Concerning the Person and Passion of Jesus Christ
Compiled by Pastor Dan Barker
Cortland Trinity Baptist Church
2576 McCleary Jacoby Road
Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ stirred much controversy. The film attracted a media frenzy not seen before over a film. While the vast majority of Americans give the film a favorable response there are some opposing the film with great emotion. Many of these voices are from Hollywood. Why did The Passion of the Christ stir such responses?
Some criticize it because of the graphic violence in the film. But where were these same people when films such as Saving Private Ryan containing just as much violence and bloodshed were produced? Violent content doesn’t explain the controversy.
Others say The Passion of the Christ is anti-Semitic. But The Passion of the Christ is based on the Biblical record. While Gibson used artistic license at times to depict certain truths the movie is an accurate portrayal of what Christ endured. Are we to rewrite history to be politically correct? The Passion of the Christ is no more anti-Semitic than Schindler’s List is anti-German. It simply tells us the way it was. Saying the film is anti-Semitic does not explain the controversy.
The reason The Passion of the Christ is controversial is that it is a Biblically accurate portrayal of Jesus. When films like The Last Temptation of Christ were produced the evangelical community who believe the Bible is God’s Word spoke out against it because of its gross distortion of what the Bible says about Jesus. There was no criticism from Hollywood about it being non-Biblical and there was no media frenzy to give a voice to the evangelical community’s concerns. Now that The Passion of the Christ has become a blockbuster hit people who believe the Bible are ecstatic that finally someone in Hollywood has produced a film which we can be proud of. Hollywood is upset and the media is giving the critics a voice.
Jesus intimidates people. Jesus intimidates people because of who He claimed to be and what He claimed to do. The Passion of the Christ accurately presents the truth about Jesus and His suffering for our sins. Anyone who watches this film who has not yet acknowledged this truth will feel a deep sense of discomfort. Some may react to this discomfort with a seeking heart, wanting to investigate further the claims of Christ. Others will react with anger. It is this discomfort and anger that is causing the passionate resistance to the film.
Perhaps the reason you are reading this study guide is that after seeing The Passion of the Christ you are seeking to understand in a deeper way what it portrayed. Who was Jesus Christ? Did He really suffer the way the film depicted? If so, why did Jesus have to suffer so much? What does His suffering and death mean to me?
What are the claims Jesus made about Himself? Are these claims true or false?
The Claims of Jesus Christ
True or False?
Biblical and Historical Evidence on the Identity of Christ
Who was Jesus Christ? Some typical answers might include…
He was a good man.
He was a great moral teacher.
He was a prophet.
He was a revolutionary leader.
Who did Jesus claim to be? Jesus’ claims as to His identity were clear and unmistakable. He claimed to be much more than a good man or even a prophet who taught great moral truths.
Three Broad Claims and One Confirming Sign
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.
Jesus claimed to be the only way to God.
Jesus claimed to be the Savior of the world who died for our sins.
Confirmation of these claims:
Jesus rose from the dead.
"declared to be the Son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead". Romans 14:1
If Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead…
Then He is who He claimed to be.
And if Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be…
Then I am faced with the most important decision of my life.
What will I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?
“Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about Him being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Oxford and Cambridge professor, C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity, p. 56 Jesus was clear on His own identity. Was He who He claimed to be?
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God:
Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God?” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
1-Jesus clear statements as to His identity.
• Jesus claimed to do the same work that God the Father does. John 5:17-18
• Jesus claimed the same honor was due Him that was due the Father. John 5:23-24
• Jesus claimed to be the “I am,” the self-existent One. John 8:58
• Jesus claimed to be God by saying He was one with the Father. John 10:30-33
• Jesus claimed that He was to be believed in as the Father is believed in. John 14:1
• Jesus claimed that if you see Him, you see the Father. John 14:9
• Jesus claimed to be God by receiving worship. John 9:35-39; 20:27-29; Matthew 14:33; 8:2
• Jesus claimed to be God by forgiving sin. Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:5; Luke 7:48
• Jesus claimed to be God by saying He would raise Himself from the dead. John 2:19-21; John 10:17-18
2-Old Testament Prophets said that the coming Messiah (Christ) was God.
· Isaiah called Him “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father.” Isaiah 9:6-7
· Isaiah said the Messiah introduced by John the Baptist was LORD and God. Isaiah 40:3
· Micah said the Messiah was from eternity, having no beginning. Micah 5:2
3-New Testament writers said that Jesus was God.
· John said Jesus “was with God and was God and became flesh.” John 1:1, 14
· Paul said Jesus was “God seen in a body.” 1 Timothy 3:16
· Paul said that in Jesus was the “fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9
· Paul said that Jesus was “our great God and Savior.” Titus 2:13
· Paul said that Jesus was “in very nature God…and took on the nature of man.” Philippians 2:5-11
4-God the Father said that Jesus was God.
· God the Father calls the Son, God. Hebrews 1:8
· God tells the angels to worship Jesus. Hebrews 1:5-6
5-Physical appearances of God in Scripture is Jesus the Son of God.
“No man has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son…He has declared Him.” John 1:18
· The LORD God appearing to Abraham. Genesis 18:1-3; 16-33;
· The LORD God appearing to Isaac. Genesis 26:2
· The LORD God appearing to Jacob. Genesis 35:9
· The LORD God appearing to Moses. Exodus 3:1-15; John 8:48-59
· The LORD God appearing to Joshua. Joshua 5:13-15
· The LORD God appearing to Isaiah. Isaiah 6:1-8; John 12:37-41
· The LORD God appearing to Ezekiel. Ezekiel 8:1-18
Jesus claimed to be the only way to God.
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
1-Jesus’ own words.
· Jesus claimed a heavenly origin. John 17:5; John 8:23
· Jesus claimed He was sent from heaven to earth by the Father to accomplish something that no one else could accomplish. John 17:4, 8
· Jesus claimed to be the only door to salvation. All others who claim to be the door to salvation are thieves and robbers. John 10:7-10
· Jesus claimed to be the unique, one and only way to God and eternal life. John 14:6
· Jesus claimed to be the unique, one and only truth. John 14:6
· Jesus claimed to be the unique, one and only life. John 14:6; John 1:4
· Jesus claimed to be the unique, one and only light of the world. John 1:4-9; 8:12
· Jesus claimed to be the unique, one and only judge of sin. John 5:22; 27-30
· Jesus claimed to be the unique, one and only Messiah of Israel. John 5:36-39; 8:24
2-Scripture clearly asserts that Jesus was the only way to God.
· John said Jesus was the unique, one and only Son of God. John 3:16
· Luke said salvation is found only in Jesus. Acts 4:12
· Paul said that Jesus was the one and only Mediator between God and men. 1 Timothy 2:5
· Paul said that Jesus was the fulfillment of “the promise” of a Savior. Galatians 3:15-18; 4:4-5; Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3
· Paul said that peace with God comes only through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1-2
· Paul said that eternal life and righteousness are found only in Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17-21
· Paul said that Jesus Christ is the only foundation to build a life on. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
· Paul said faith in the Gospel of Christ (His death and resurrection) is the only true message of salvation. Anyone who proclaims another message is set aside for destruction! Galatians 1:6-9
· Peter said that Jesus alone spoke words of eternal life. John 6:63, 68-69
· John said anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) is a liar. 1 John 2:22-23
· John said that without Jesus one cannot have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13
· Old Testament prophecies (some 300) of a coming Messiah were all fulfilled in the life of one man, Jesus Christ.
3-Things unique to Christ that set Him apart from all others.
· Jesus is the only person who existed prior to His birth. John 1:1-1-5, 9-14
· Jesus is the only person to come from heaven to earth and returned to heaven. Jn. 3:13, 31
· Jesus is the only person to possess the full nature of God and the full nature of a man. Philippians 2:5-11 Only Christ can be called the God-man.
· Jesus is the only person ever born without an earthly father. Matthew 1:20-21
· Jesus is the only person to predict His own resurrection and then actually do it. Matthew 16:21; 17:9, 22-23; 20:18-19; 26:32; Mark 9:10; Luke 9:22-27; John 2:18-22
· Jesus is the only person to have experienced a resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
· Jesus is the only person to ascend bodily into heaven. Acts 1:9-11
· Jesus is the only person who sits on the right hand of power. Matthew 26:64
Jesus claimed to be the Savior of the world who died for our sins
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:51
1-Jesus’ own words.
· Jesus said His death on the cross would bring eternal life to those who believe. John 3:14-16
· Jesus claimed that God sent Him into the world, to save the world. John 3:17-18
· Jesus claimed to be the Good Shepherd who would give His life for the sheep. John 10:11
· Jesus said He would lay down His life for us all. John 10:17-18
· Jesus said the purpose of His coming was to die on the cross for us. John 12:27-33
· Jesus said He would give His life as a ransom for many. John 20:28
· Jesus claimed to have the power and authority to give eternal life. John 5:5:24-30, 40
· Jesus claimed to be the Bread of life from heaven who gives life to the world. John 6:33
· Jesus claimed that in giving His life He would pay the ransom for our sins. Matthew 20:28
2-Scripture clearly asserts that Jesus was the Savior of the world who died for our sins.
· The first promise of a Savior in Genesis 3:15 (the protevangelium) says that the Promised One’s wounds would crush the head of the serpent (Satan).
· Isaiah said Messiah would be “wounded for our transgressions and be bruised for our iniquities.” Isaiah 53:4-5
· The angels announced at His birth that Jesus would “save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
· John the Baptist called Jesus, “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
· Paul said Jesus “died for our sins, according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3
· Paul said, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, for…cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Galatians 3:10
· Paul said, “we have redemption through His (Jesus) blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7
· The writer to the Hebrews said that Jesus “came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:26
· Peter said that the blood of Jesus Christ purchased (redeemed) us out of sin. 1 Peter 1:18-19
· Peter said that Christ’s suffering and death “brought us to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
· John said that Jesus is worthy of our worship because “He was slain and redeemed us to God by His blood.” Revelation 5:9-10
Confirmation of the Claims of Christ
Jesus Rose From the Dead“And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness,
by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:4
What would you say about a man who said, “I have come down from heaven...God the Father in heaven sent Me... If you will believe in Me you will live forever...The words I speak are spirit and they are life...I am the light of the world, if you follow Me you will not walk in darkness, but you will have the light of life...I can free you from sin... ” You might say, “Call 9-1-1!” But what if that same man then said, “Kill Me and in three days I will rise again, ” and then, he actually did it?
The man who made all these statements was Jesus.
C. S. Lewis, a professor at Cambridge University and once an agnostic wrote, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”
So why should we believe the claims of Christ? What makes Him different from Mohammed, Buddha or Confucius? He rose from the dead! Jesus clearly predicted His own resurrection. (Matthew 16:21; 17:9, 22-23; 20:18-19; 26:32; Mark 9:10; Luke 9:22-27; John 8:18-22) I don’t know about you, but if a man predicts His own resurrection and three days after dying walks out of His grave, He has my attention! If someone refuses to believe the claims of Jesus then how do they explain the resurrection?
If you are skeptical, you are not alone. There have been many other skeptics of Christianity, of the claims of Christ. But the honest skeptics, like C. S. Lewis, who have investigated the facts with an open mind concerning Christ, came to the conclusion that He was who He claimed to be, the very LORD of glory! What convinced them? The evidence for the resurrection.
Another such skeptic was Josh McDowell. He set out to disprove Christianity but as he studied the facts surrounding the life of Jesus he came to faith in Christ, saying, “I could not explain away the most significant event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The resurrection of Christ confronts skepticism. The resurrection of Christ confronts ambivalence.
Three facts must be reckoned with when investigating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1) The empty tomb. (2) The transformation of the Apostles. (3) The fact that the preaching of the resurrection originated in Jerusalem.
THREE FACTS CONCERNGING THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
1. THE EMPTY TOMB - Jesus was a well known figure. His fame had spread throughout the Palestinian area about Jerusalem. His burial sight was well known. Matthew documented it as the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. (Matthew 27:50) This is very relevant, for had Matthew’s account been contrived, eyewitnesses would have easily discredited it.
The chief priests invented the story that the disciples stole the body. Such a fabrication would not have been necessary if the tomb had not been empty. And if the tomb had not been empty, the preaching of the Apostles would not have lasted one day. All that the Jewish authorities needed to do to put an end to Christianity was to produce the body of Jesus. But no corpse was ever found!
2. THE CHANGED LIVES OF THE APOSTLES - During the trial of Jesus, the Apostles deserted Him in fear. Yet 10 of the 11 Apostles died as martyrs, believing and proclaiming that Christ had risen from the dead. How can this be explained? Christianity originated in Judaism, every book in the New Testament was written by a Jew. Jewish bias against Jesus was massive, yet these Jewish followers of Jesus accepted a shamefully hung “criminal” as their Messiah, worshipped Him as God the Son, and endured suffering, imprisonment and even death proclaiming His resurrection. The book of Acts records that the primary message of the Apostles and the early church was the resurrection of Christ from the dead. (Acts 1:22; 2:23-32; 3:15; 4:2, 10; 10:39-40; 13:29-30; 13:33-37; 17:3, 31; 23:6-7; 24:14-15)
“Is it thinkable that these people would die so willingly for a mere myth? Each of the disciples, except John, died a martyr’s death; the cause they tenaciously clung to was their belief of seeing Jesus alive again after His passion.” (McDowell) What else can explain this transformation in the Apostles, except that they had seen Christ alive again! If the disciples were liars (concerning seeing Christ alive again) then they were also fools, for they died for that belief.
3. THE APOSTLES BEGAN PROCLAIMING THE RESURRECTION IN JERUSALEM –
The preaching of the resurrection was the main theme of the early church. They began preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem. This is significant since this is the very city in which Jesus was crucified. This was the most hostile city in which to preach the resurrection. All the evidence was there for everyone to investigate. If it were not true, it could have easily been refuted. Legends take root in foreign lands or centuries after an event, but the Apostles preaching of the resurrection took place in the city of the event immediately after it occurred. Anyone studying the resurrection must somehow explain these three facts.
SKEPTICS’ ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN THESE FACTS
1. THE WRONG TOMB - Skeptics say the women visited the grave early, it was dark, they were very emotional and they visited the wrong tomb! Overjoyed to see it empty, they rush back to tell the disciples that Christ had risen. The disciples in turn proclaim this abroad. But the Apostles would have investigated the situation and corrected the women’s mistake. In actuality, the Gospels record the fact they did just that. They didn’t believe the women’s story and went to investigate. The tomb site was known not only to the followers of Christ but, also to their opponents. If the body still remained in the tomb while the Apostles began preaching, the authorities simply would have to go to the right tomb, produce the body, march it down the streets and put Christianity to silence forever.
2. THE HALLUCINATION THEORY - Skeptics say the resurrection of Christ occurred in the minds’ of the disciples. In their emotional turmoil they wanted so much to see Jesus again, they thought they did. But the appearances of Jesus, after His death, occurred to a variety of people. Hallucinations are subjective and individual. No two people have the same experience. In the case of Jesus’ resurrection, over five hundred people have the same account. . (1 Corinthians 15) Hallucinations of this nature occur to those who intensely want to believe, yet in the case of Jesus, Thomas and James were hostile to believing the resurrection was true. Yet they claim to have seen Him alive also.
And skeptics still must account for the empty tomb. If the Apostles dreamed up the resurrection and then began to preach it boldly as truth, all the authorities needed to do was produce the body and that would have ended the Apostles’ dream.
3. THE SWOON THEORY - Skeptics say Jesus never died on the cross but merely passed out and then three days later, revived, exited the tomb and appeared to His disciples who believed He had risen from the dead. This theory was developed in the nineteenth century, but today it has been completely abandoned for several reasons.
It is physically impossible that Jesus could have survived the tortures of the crucifixion. Crucifixion was an excruciating experience. The cause of death by crucifixion was multifaceted and torturous! These factors included exhaustion, asphyxia, dehydration, and congestive heart failure. (See the medical explanation of a scourging and crucifixion later in this study guide.)
That Jesus could have survived such agony on a Roman cross, to limp out of the tomb by His own power, is improbable enough! That His bruised and grievously wounded appearance could have been hidden, so that He could deceive despairing disciples into believing He was “The risen Lord of Life” and conqueror of death, is absurd! A man in such a condition could hardly have inspired disciples.
The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus were experts in executing this type of death penalty. Because the bodies were to be down before sundown, they took precautions to ensure that He was dead. They thrust a spear in His side and “out came blood and water.” When blood and water come out separately, it indicates the blood cells had begun to separate from the plasma which will only happen when the blood stops circulating. Jesus was dead.
Jesus was covered with eighty pounds of spices and embalmed. It is unreasonable to believe that after three days with no food or water, Jesus would revive. Even harder to believe is that Jesus could toll a two-ton stone up an incline, overpower the guards, and then walk several miles to Emmaeus. Even if Jesus had done this, His appearing to the disciples half-dead and desperately in need of medical attention would not have prompted their worship of Him as God.
4. THE STOLEN BODY THEORY - Skeptics say that Jewish authorities and Roman authorities stole the body or moved it for safekeeping. If the authorities had the body, why did they accuse the disciples of stealing it? In Acts 4, the Jewish authorities were angered and did everything they could to prevent the spread of Christianity. Why would they not have simply produced the dead body of Jesus and silence Christianity forever? Throughout the preaching of the Apostles, the authorities never attempted to refute the resurrection by producing a body.
5. THE SOLDIERS FALL ASLEEP AND THE DISCIPLES STOLE THE BODY THEORY - This idea has existed since the day of the resurrection. Matthew records that the chief priests met and devised a plan and they gave the soldiers a large sum of money telling them, “You are to say, his disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” (Matthew 28:12-13)
If the soldiers were sleeping, how did they know it was the disciples who stole the body? How is it possible that the disciples could sneak past the soldiers and then move a two-ton stone up an incline without waking the soldiers?
The tomb was sealed with a Roman seal. Anyone who moved the stone would break the seal, an offense punishable by death. Why would the depressed and cowardly disciples suddenly be brave enough to face a detachment of soldiers, steal the body, and then lie about the resurrection when they ultimately would face a life of suffering and death for their contrived message?
The gospel of John records that the grave clothes were found “lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself separate from the linen.” (John 20:6-7) This means the disciples had to sneak past the guards, roll away the stone, unwrap the body, rewrap it in their wrappings, and fold the head piece neatly next to the linen! But in a robbery, the men would have flung the garments down in disorder and fled in fear of detection.
These five explanations are totally inadequate to account for the empty tomb, the transformation of the Apostles and the birth of Christianity in the city of the crucifixion.
THE CONCLUSION CONCERNING THE FACTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
The conclusion is impossible to avoid. The tomb of Jesus of Nazareth is empty! Jesus Christ did rise from the dead and the implications of this event are monumental!
“Easter is not primarily a comfort, but a challenge,” wrote J.N.D. Anderson, late Dean of the School of Law at the University of London. “If it is true, then it is the supreme fact of history, and to fail to adjust one’s life to its implications means irreparable loss.”
Christ‘s resurrection from the dead confirms all His claims. Romans 1:3-4 says, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seen of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
The evidence for the resurrection confronts all skepticism. Jesus is alive! The evidence for the resurrection confronts all ambivalence. It does matter whether or not I bow before Him and trust Him as Lord and Savior. The facts of the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, calls for...yes, demands a response from you...from all of us!
He is Lord, He is Lord, He is risen from the dead and He is Lord.
Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Informational Document – Where to find it in the Bible
Primary events in the life of Jesus as recorded in Scripture
Ø Jesus praying in the Garden – Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46
Ø Betrayal and arrest – Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11
Ø Jesus before Annas and Caiaphas – John 18:12-12-24
Ø Jesus on trial before the Sanhedrin – Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65;Luke 22:66-71
Ø Peter’s denial of Jesus – Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18, 25-27
Ø Judas hanging himself – Matthew 27:3-10
Ø Jesus before Pilate – Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-5; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:28-19:16
Ø Jesus before Herod – Luke 23:6-12
Ø Mention of Jesus being scourged – Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15
Ø Soldiers mocking and beating Jesus – Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-20; Luke 22:63-65
Ø The crucifixion – Matthew 27:32-56; Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-37
Ø The burial and resurrection – Matthew 27:57-28:10; Mark 15:42-16:1-11; Luke 23:50-24:12; John 19:38-20:18
Ø The veil of the temple being torn and the earthquake – Matthew 27:51-53; Mark 15:38
Ø The reason they did not break Jesus’ legs on the cross – John 19:31-37
Ø The physical, emotional and spiritual suffering of Christ – Isaiah 53:3-11; Psalm 22:1-18
Ø The result of the violence done to Christ –Isaiah 52:14 “Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness.”
Ø The passion and suffering of Christ being voluntary – John 10:17-18; Isaiah 50:5-7 “The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.”
Sayings of Christ from the cross
Ø Father forgive them for they do not know what they do. Luke 23:34
Ø Woman behold your son. Behold your mother. John 19:26-27
Ø Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. Luke 23:43
Ø My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34
Ø I thirst. John 19:28
Ø It is finished. John 19:30
Ø Father into Your hands I commit My spirit. Luke 23:46
The Historicity of Jesus
Historical Evidence Concerning Jesus
No serious historian doubts the historicity of Jesus. The man Jesus walked on planet earth some 2000 years ago.
“Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ myth’ theories.”
-F. F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester.
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
-Flavius Josephus, First Century A.D. Jewish Historian,
Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter III
Tacitus (About A.D. 110) A Roman historian, concerning Nero blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome said, “The author of this name was Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was brought to punishment by Pontius Pilate the procurator.”
-William Whiston, The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, p. 904
Justin Martyr (About A.D. 147) “You [Jews] knew that Jesus was risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, as the prophecies did foretell was to happen.”
-William Whiston, The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, p. 904
Our calendar is established on the basis of the fact that the man Jesus was born, lived and died.
Orthodox Christianity’s View of the Bible
The Bible claims to be the very Word of God.
- “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
- “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21
The word “inspiration” is a translation of the Greek words “theos” (God) and “pneustos” (breathed).
So the Bible is “God breathed.” That is, God breathed His words through the human authors of scripture, so controlling them that what they wrote down were “His words.” God used their personality, their vocabulary and their own style of writing but controlled them so that they could record Divine truth without error. Therefore the Bible is the final authority for all we believe and practice.