2
Mar

Did Jesus Really Exist? | Illuminate Ep 2


Did Jesus really exist? Philosopher Bertrand Russell once wrote: Historically it is quite doubtful whether
Christ ever existed at all and if He did We do not know anything about Him now this is a staggering claim especially in light of the fact that a significant portion
of the world’s population claims that not only did Jesus exist He is also the
only authority on how one should live so we have to take this issue seriously did Jesus really exist? let’s set aside the New Testament for a
moment what can we learn about Jesus just by studying history? as it turns out
the ancient Roman historian Tacitus who’s been referred to as the “Ancient
World’s Most Distinguished Historian” records one of the most significant
events in Jesus’s life he writes that Jesus was crucified under the Roman
governor Pontius Pilate at the time history was usually only written about
kings and other important people Jesus’ career to that point was that
of a traveling preacher and healer in a backwater province that
Rome didn’t even care about so the fact that Jesus is even
mentioned at all is staggering additionally this is the only
historical mention of Pilate so the fact that he is linked with the
death of Jesus is particularly significant we also have the account of
Flavius Josephus a Jewish historian employed by Rome shortly
after the time of Jesus in his works “Judean Antiquities” the following
historical facts about Jesus are affirmed Jesus was a wise man a doer of startling deeds
He was executed by crucifixion by Pilate and He had a group of followers that
still existed at the time of his writing again the fact that Jesus gets
so much airtime is astounding given that both Jews and
Romans hated Christianity Neither Tacitus nor Josephus had any
incentive to record anything about Jesus unless it was actually true there are tons of other non-christian
historical references to Jesus including the facts that
Jesus was executed by the Jews when Jesus was executed an
unusual darkness covered the land and that Jesus was crucified
on the eve of Passover so just by studying historical
references of Jesus we can learn that Jesus
was a Jewish teacher he performed healings and exorcisms
he was rejected by the Jewish leaders he was crucified under Pontius Pilate
in the reign of Tiberius his followers who believed he was
resurrected grew massively in numbers and spread out geographically
all the way to Rome by AD 64 all kinds of people from the cities and countryside, men and women, slave and free worshipped him
as God by the beginning of the second century now earlier we set the New Testament
aside for the sake of argument but now let’s bring it back to take a look the history we just studied corroborates
what’s found in The New Testament so it’s worth wondering should The New Testament
also be considered historically accurate? here are three reasons to consider
The New Testament as historically accurate first we have more ancient manuscripts of
The New Testament than any other book we would consider accurate canonical history also the amount of time that passed when The New Testament was first written and when the
first copies were made is a significantly shorter duration than
from any other ancient texts here’s why this matters the more copies we have the more
confident we can be that we can recreate what the original document said the shorter the time interval the less
opportunity there is for copying errors for the sake of comparison
let’s look at Tacitus again we only have 20 copies of what
he wrote and the earliest copies were written 1,000 years after his originals in contrast we have over 5,000 New Testament copies the earliest one dating within
50 years of the original writings so if we consider sources like
Tacitus to be historically accurate it’s reasonable to consider the New
Testament historically accurate as well secondly the New Testament has repeatedly been
proven true where it mentions historical facts archaeological discoveries have confirmed
many references made in Luke’s writings for example he correctly refers to Philippian
rulers as Praetors rather than Duumvirs he correctly places the city of Iconium in
Phrygia not in Lycaonia as Cicero states and he correctly identifies the Corinthian
proconsul that encounters Paul as Gallio therefore if the New Testament is
true in these historical facts it’s reasonable to think it’s trustworthy in
other regards as well such as its mentions of Jesus thirdly the New
Testament records many incidents that can potentially damage the reputation of
early disciples of Jesus potentially scandalous or harmful
things like Jesus calling Peter Satan or the fact that the disciples constantly misunderstood
who Jesus was and what He was about there’s no reason for this content to be included unless the authors wanted to
record what actually happened back to the root topic Bertrand Russell says
there’s no evidence that Jesus existed historical and biblical record offer evidence that well He did so did Jesus really exist? if we’re going by researched evidence then it seems pretty clear