Living Like Jesus Is Real....Is He?
The first step on our journey of living like Jesus is real is to ask the question, ‘is He?’
Sounds obvious, I know, but the whole Christian faith hinges on whether or not Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected. All the other bits are great and helpful and valuable, but the crux of it is the resurrection of Jesus. Without that, we’re aiming to live like a man with counter-cultural teachings - there have been plenty of these men, none of whom offer redemption and transformation.
This questioning may not be up your street at all, that’s OK, I seriously admire those of you who don’t need facts and information, and who instead are willing to trust whole-heartedly the simple truth that Jesus is your Saviour. Hats off.
However, for those of us who want a few tidbits of history that may well bolster our faith, or for those who are a bit curious, read on. This month we’ll (briefly) look at historical literature for evidence of Jesus outside of the New Testament, which we can add to our repertoire of “what to say in a discussion with an atheist” (or is it just me who has that folder of stuff tucked away in my brain?) and next month we’ll delve into a few of my favourite apologists to add some philosophical meat to the logical bones.
If that doesn’t excite you, please ride out the next couple of months with me, as after setting the context we’ll be diving more deeply into what it practically looks like to live like Jesus is real.
Is there evidence for Jesus outside of the Bible?
Yes – Josephus, an important Jewish historian, wrote about Jesus a number of times – look up ‘The Antiquities’ and ‘Testimonium Flavianum’ for details!
One of the most explicit and neutral references, however, comes from Tacitus and was written in A.D. 115. This outlines that there was a man called Christ who was crucified and this kick-started a movement of ‘Christians’ that was spreading across the world.
There’s even an account from Phlegon, a Greek historian, that states how in A.D. 33 there was an eclipse and earthquake on the 6th hour (midday) that was seen and felt across the Mediterranean. Ha! I love it. Here’s the account in the Bible: ‘From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land…At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.’ (Matthew 27:45,51-52 NIV)
I’m not saying we should put more stock in historical accounts of Jesus over the Word of God – I do find it pretty cool though that there’s evidence outside of the Bible that corroborates Jesus’ life and death.
These are just a few examples, there are loads more out there! Looking forward to joining you next time as we dive into some C S Lewis!