Over the last two weeks we have looked at the evidence for our faith in God and for Christianity as a whole. The first week we looked at the scientific evidence for creation and the second week we looked that the evidence for the reliability of the Old Testament. Over the next two weeks we are going to look at Jesus. Today we are going to look at Jesus’ life and next week we will look at Jesus’ death and resurrection.
There is little debate whatsoever that Jesus was an actual human being that walked the face of the earth that is because of the amount of evidence that we have on the subject. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John give a very detailed narrative of Jesus’ life and if that was all we had on Jesus then it would be easy to discount Him. But the fact is that there are many non-biblical sources that back up the gospel claims. There were first century historians that spoke of Jesus, Christians, and the early church. Historians such as Josephus, Celsus, Tacitus, Talmud, Pliny, and many more. It is through these writers that important information from the gospels is corroborated. Facts that He lived during Tiberius Caesar, He lived a virtuous life, He was a miracle worker, He had a brother named James, He claimed to be the Messiah, He was crucified under Pilate on the eve of Passover, and much more that we will get to next week. So here we see that over and over the historians of the first century back up the claims of the gospel writers.
Another huge piece of evidence is that the New Testament is the most reliable piece of ancient literature. There are two factors that go into us (people in the 21st century) knowing whether a ancient document is reliable or not. The first is the amount of time from the event that is being written about to the time of the writing. And the second factor is the number of manuscripts and copies that have survived through the ages. For example, Homer’s Iliad was written 400 years after the events and has 1800 ancient copies in existence, because of such a short time between the event and the writing and the huge number of copies it is indisputable that Iliad is a reliable work of historical importance. So how does the Bible stack up to that? The entire New Testament was written within 60 years of the events and there are over 5800 ancient copies of the New Testament. This just goes to show that the New Testament is a massively reliable piece of ancient literature, in fact it is the most reliable. Pair that with the fact that archaeology has time and time again proven the Bible accurate and we can have full confidence of the New Testament writing.
So we can see that the New Testament is reliable and the fact that Jesus was indeed a human that walked this planet, but that does not necessarily mean that He is the Son of God and Messiah. There are two things that we can point to that shows that Jesus is the Son of God, the resurrection that we will talk about next week and the prophesies from the Old Testament that foretold of the Messiah. There are nearly 500 prophesies that point the Old Testament Jews the the coming Messiah and Jesus fulfilled every single one of them. Now before you dismiss this idea and not that big of a deal think about this. The mathematical probability of Malachi saying that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, a teeny tiny little town, over 400 years before the birth is one in 300,000. That is pretty impressive enough right there but that wouldn’t seal the deal fully. If you took just 8 of the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled the probability that one man could fill all of them is 10 to the 17th power, or a ten with 17 zeros behind it. That pretty much seals the deal there but remember that there were more than 8 prophesies, way more, nearly 500. So the probability that one man fulfilled all of these prophesies and is not the Messiah is zero. Jesus was a one and a billion, billion, billion.
Through all of this evidence we can have confidence in our faith and confidence when we tell people about Christ. Next week we will look at the death and resurrection of Christ. Until then, God bless.