The Jesus of History: Man or Myth?

For one thing, an examination of the historical evidence reveals that the earliest of these alleged “parallel” accounts “appeared at least 100 years after the reports of Jesus’ resurrection.”[11] “The ancient Egyptian cult of Osiris is the only account of a god who survived death that predates Christianity,” but the` mythical return to life of Osiris was “far different than Jesus’ resurrection account.”[12]

So, aside from the fact that a few similarities exist between accounts of certain ancient gods and Jesus Christ, the accusation that the Gospel accounts of Jesus were “copied” from these mythological religions has been demonstrated to be false. But that fact alone doesn’t prove Jesus rose from the dead. To determine whether or not the New Testament accounts of Jesus and his reported resurrection are true, we need compel- ling historical evidence, something a mythology can’t provide.

So, is there compelling evidence that Jesus was really the unique figure he is portrayed as in the New Testament? Several skeptics who initially agreed with Dawkins’s assertion investigated the evidence for themselves. What did they discover? What evidence do we have that the eyewitness accounts are a clear picture of the one who changed our world?

In a criminal case, circumstantial evidence often provides sufficient clues for a verdict to be rendered. Yet for that to happen, clues from history must merge together like pieces in a puzzle. When we assemble the historical facts surrounding Jesus Christ, will they form a clear picture of who he really is? Will that picture affirm or negate the New Testament accounts of his deity and resurrection?

According to author and lecturer Ravi Zacharias, it is possible to link Jesus’ words and his life to form a picture of truth. He writes, “This is precisely what makes Jesus so unique. The whole range of both His life and His teaching can be subjected to the test of truth. Each aspect of His teaching is a link in the greater whole. Each facet is like the face of a diamond, catching the light as it is gently turned.”[13]

In this investigation, we will be looking at the evidence for the real Jesus Christ. As we examine the evidence available to us, we will hear from non-Christian historians such as Josephus and Tacitus from around the time of Christ, and we will hear from secular historians of modern times. We will also hear from both Jesus’ enemies and his friends. Our goal will be to see if the pieces connect together to form a clear picture of Jesus of Nazareth.

Beyond that, we will examine Jesus’ claims, because if Jesus is who he claimed to be, his message has profound implications for you and me. Jesus spoke of a meaning to life. And he claimed that it is only through him that we will discover our ultimate purpose.

Is Jesus Christ, in fact, the one who flung the galaxies into existence and yet in some mysterious way also invaded our planet as a man two thousand years ago?

Let’s take a look.

Let’s discover the real Jesus. Read “JESUS COMPLEX: Is Jesus God?

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