Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who is Jesus? ...and Why Should I Follow Him?

I suppose that it is fair to address those two questions before we ever get around to discussing the things that Jesus taught. If we are not first convinced that there was such a person as the Biblical Jesus of Nazareth, we certainly are not going to get very far discussing the teaching or authority of what is perceived as a fictional character.

It is fair to ask if there are any ancient texts other than the Bible that give evidence of the life of Jesus. The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

Even without looking at specific texts, we know from the history of Rome that the followers of Jesus were slaughtered in the Colosseum as entertainment for Nero and the citizens of Rome. If this Jesus never lived, a lot of people died for nothing.

Okay, you can say that many people can be caught up in false teachings and false prophets and these delusional Christians truly believed in the imaginary Jesus. After all, still today there are many that think of God as imaginary.

So, is there evidence outside of the Bible that testifies that Jesus was a real person and did the things that the Bible (and His followers) claims He did?

Fortunately, once again, the answer is yes.

Probably the earliest writing (and the best preserved writing) is from a Jewish slave to a Roman officer and later servant of Caesar Dominitan. Flavius Josephus wrote Antiquities of the Jews and is considered to be an authority on Jewish history. In addition to this writing, there are nine other (ten total) non-biblical texts from non-Christians written within 150 years of the life of Jesus. By comparison, there are only nine that mention the Emperor Tiberius.

The Quran, written 600 years later, also refers to Jesus. But the Muslims do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, only that he was a prophet to the Jews to direct them towards the future prophet Mohammed.

Lee Stroebel's A Case for Christ and Norm Geisler's and Frank Turek's I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Athiest are two good reads that cover evidences of Jesus and his fulfillment of Biblical prophecies.

The evidence is strong that the person of Jesus existed and even that he performed many miracles.
Next we'll take a look at the divinity of Jesus.

John <><

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