JESUS’ HISTORICAL VALIDITY
Does HISTORY really validate the New Testament Gospels to be true about Jesus: His first coming, His crucifixion, His resurrection, His coming again?
Non-Christian ancient sources confirm details of Christ’s death and some of His resurrection. Dr. Gary Habermas catalogued over 3,400 sources, many of whom are sceptical, or even critical of Christians, adding to their veracity. Here are seven of the three thousand four hundred: 1. Josephus 37-100 AD, 2. Suetonius 70-160 AD, 3. Pliny the Younger 61-113 AD, 4. Tacitus 56-120 AD, 5. Mara Bar-Serapion 72 AD, 6. Lucian 125-180 AD, 7. Babylonian Talmud. They all confirm key points of the gospel:
1. Jesus died by crucifixion; 2. He was buried; 3. His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope; 4. The tomb was empty three days later. 5. Hundreds of people saw the resurrected Jesus.
After Jesus’ resurrection, all of His disciples saw Him and had many experiences with Him, “for over 40 days” (Acts 1:3) – eating with Jesus in different places, and lastly watching Jesus ascend off the earth – “as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
Rome’s most prominent Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) wrote about the resurrection of Jesus. He also recorded Jesus’ 12 apostles and many of Jesus’ disciples (1 Cor. 15:1-9) all went to their deaths, most as martyrs for continually claiming Jesus’ resurrection (1 John 1:1-4). Some people have died for what was a lie – but no one, much less hundreds, will die for what they ALL KNOW is a lie! The apostles and Jesus’ disciples all preached Jesus’ resurrection up to the time of their deaths.
Today – anyone can find out if Jesus is alive! Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to indwell the spirit of everyone who repents of their sins against God and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. The Holy Spirit is their counsellor, teacher, and comforter.
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27
The spirit of a person was always meant to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The lamp of the Lord cannot function without the oil of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin. It is His job to make us like Jesus to enable us to be Jesus’ ambassadors on the earth.
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:9-11
Thousands of Christians have been martyred for not denying their loyalty to Jesus Christ and many more will do so before His return. Jesus has warned us beforehand that prior to His return there will be a time of great tribulation for Christians.
There need be no question, historically or personally, about the resurrection of Jesus. If someone is willing to receive Him as their own personal Lord and Saviour they will receive the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit who will testify to the reality of Jesus and God the Father.
The detail on the historical sources of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was sourced from material provided by Jim McCotter – jimsbookstore.com