We live in a world where unsubstantiated allegations and skepticism run rampant, in everything from historical facts to proven science. The line between truth and fiction has been blurred to the point that many people question their most cherished beliefs. That includes belief in Jesus Christ as a historical person.
The question of Jesus’ existence matters because his teachings matter. He promised a time when humans will live forever under the Kingdom of God (John 3:16, Matthew 6:9-10). Can the choice to believe in Jesus Christ also be based on fact, not just faith?
Michael Grant, a historian and an expert on ancient classical civilization, noted: “If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.”
Skeptics want to make an exception out of the Gospel accounts about Jesus, while endorsing other material as historical. Why the double standard? The Gospel writers were men known for their integrity. Regarding his detailed account of Jesus’ life, a first century physician named Luke said at Luke 1:3: “I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place.” — Contemporary English Version.
Historian H.G. Wells wrote, “It is interesting and significant that a historian, without any theological bias whatever, should find that he cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth. A historian like myself, who does not even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man.”
Even the brilliant physicist Albert Einstein asserted: “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.” When asked if he viewed Jesus as a historical person, he responded: “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
“The Historians’ History of the World” said this about Jesus: “The historical result of his activities was more momentous even from a strictly secular standpoint, than the deeds of any other character of history. A new era, recognized by the chief civilizations of the world, dates from his birth.”
Other ancient writers, who were against Christianity, also made mention of Christ and his effect on people. As The 2002 Encyclopaedia Britannica states: “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.”
The four Gospel accounts provide the most historical information about Jesus of Nazareth. It also gives the names of prominent rulers who were contemporaries of Jesus (Luke 3:1-2). Such details allow researchers to verify the historical accuracy of the biblical accounts.
Consider this: Both Jewish and Roman authorities tried to use events in his life against him. They said he didn’t attend their schools (John 7:15), that he was born in the wrong city (John 7:41-43), that he used demonic powers to heal (John 10: 20-21), that he was a false prophet who misled the people (John 7:12) and was justifiably executed for sedition (John 19:12-21). They used every argument they could think of to discredit Jesus, but no one in the first century or second century ever tried to convince anyone that Jesus never existed.
While secular testimonies exist as to the historicity of Jesus, there remain many skeptics who promote their own agenda that Jesus is a fictional character. However, the proof that cannot be shaken is the indisputable impact that Jesus continues to have on the lives of those who believe in him. Millions are convinced they have entered into an unbreakable bond with God and His Son (John 17:20-23) and this personal relationship is undeniable to them. This is their strongest proof of the existence of Jesus.
Read the four gospel accounts for yourself. Try to walk in Jesus’ footsteps and beg God to guide you to the truth. Then you will know what millions already know about the reality of Jesus. In your sincerity, you will feel God's presence. You will feel the difference. Try it and judge for yourself.
In 2006, the book Jesus and Archaeology said: “No reputable scholar today questions that a Jew named Jesus son of Joseph lived; most readily admit that we now know a considerable amount about his actions and his basic teachings.”
We all have the right to believe whatever we want. We also have a right to the facts that history recorded — that a man named Jesus, from Nazareth existed, had followers, astonished great crowds, was executed and reportedly raised from the dead. His followers chose torture and death over denying him.
Jesus Christ won’t disappear because some people refuse to believe in him. Neither will millions of his disciples today who trust his words at John 5:24: “Most truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes the One who sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.” — New World Translation.
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