As we draw nearer to the season of Passover, we often focus on the mission and accomplishment of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when he died for the sins of humanity. The Jesus of the Bible bled and died on Golgotha, outside Jerusalem, the Messiah Christians accept and adore as God incarnate, the Son of God who came to die for the sins of humanity.
That same Jesus came to fulfill what was predicted thousands of years before that Shiloh would come to ultimately save humanity from eternal death. He was and is the promised Messiah, the Christ, according to the Holy Bible, but what about Jesus, the Christ, outside of the bible? Did he ever exist and, if so, can he be proven historically to have lived on this planet?
Apart from their faith, what proof can Christians show that the historical Jesus truly walked the dusty streets of Jerusalem, preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God, healing the sick, raising the dead, predicting his own death, rising from the dead and urging men to repent of their sins, accept him as Lord and Saviour, and be baptized in order to receive his glorious salvation? Surely, we can turn to the Bible because Christians accept it as the inerrant Word of God, but for non-Christians, historians, and theologians, the Holy Bible is not regarded as a historical and reliable document. In fact, some dismissed it as pure fiction.
From a secular perspective then, can Christians truly look outside of the Holy Bible to furnish such proof? We should, however, is there any extra-biblical evidence for his existence? Some biblical scholars will tell you there’s no trustworthy evidence, and even if any exists, they cannot be regarded as historical facts; often times, they are forgeries, heresy, or manipulative evidence coerced by apologists and proselytizers of the faith. What about biblical archeology? Has it been able to shed any light or offer any proof that the historical Jesus Christ ever existed?
These probing and on-going questions have lent considerable energy to the debate about the historical Jesus. The many questions have given skeptics, scholars and historians ammunition to prolong the debate with no sign of it ever coming to an end anytime soon.
Christians are a people of faith, Christianity a religion of faith. For them, they don’t need artifacts, archeological evidence or the pen of a secular historian to prove the existence and reality of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, shouldn’t Christians be scared or hesitant to examine the abundance of evidence for and against the Jesus of history? One way or the other, the findings can only boost their faith in the Jesus of Nazareth; if we can’t prove He existed we just have to rely on our faith and relationship with Him, and if we can prove there’s evidence, it can only strengthen our resolve and belief in Him. In essence we have nothing to lose. Our monthly bible study tackles the subject of the historical Jesus on February 23, roughly a month before we come before the throne of grace to observe the Passover, His ultimate sacrifice, for you and me, and yes, for the theologians, the historians and the skeptics who doubt he ever lived.