How do we know that Jesus was a real historical figure?

How do we know that Jesus was a real historical figure?

The historical writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and Peter are among the best preserved and attested to of all ancient writings. However, for those who seek additional corroboration of the historical Jesus, one of the best sources is Josephus. This Jewish historian, who was born in Jerusalem in AD 37 and died in Rome in AD 97, mentioned Jesus by name and made many allusions to him in the book, The Antiquities.

Concerning Jesus, Josephus wrote: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day; as the divine Prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (Book 18, Chapter3)

Also paralleling the New Testament is a body of literature called the Apocrypha. While never included in either the Hebrew or Christian Bible, they echo similar evidences about Jesus and his times and his miracles at his teachings. Further there are the writings of Tacitus (ca. AD 56 – ca. 117) that also mention Christ, crucifixion by Pontius Pilate and other reports of the activities of Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt from the historical records that Jesus was a real person.

However, if you ask believers how they know that Jesus was a real person, your answer is likely the chorus from a favorite Christian hymn, “You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart.” The hundreds of millions of followers of Jesus over the centuries is more than enough evidence in itself that Jesus is for real. Is Jesus a real figure for you? Do you know him personally as your Lord and Savior? God wants you to know him. (John 3:16) If you would like to learn more, please check out the answer to the question: How does one become a Christian?

What are the glorious riches in Christ that Paul writes about?

What are the glorious riches in Christ that Paul writes about?

In writing to the church in the Greek city of Philippi, Paul commends the saints and thanks them for their support of his ministry. In closing, he assures them “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) That’s a pretty bold statement and yet many Christians never think about the blessings that Paul is referring to. If they did, they would be full of joy every moment of every day even in the trials that come their way. Here is a partial list of those riches:

• Redemption from sin–the separation from God
• Salvation from eternal damnation and a promise of an eternity in the presence of God where there is no sorrow, pain or death
• Wisdom and understanding to make right choices
• Objective moral standards that bring about right relationships with one another and a fair and just society
• Peace, love, joy, kindness, patience and hope
• Self-restraint and guidance for life decisions
• Endurance, loyalty, perseverance
• Grace, healing, mercy and forgiveness
• Meaning and purpose for life…and much more

 When one considers the riches of being a child of God, the fleeting worldly pleasures pale in comparison. Paul knew what he was writing about. While he experienced all manner of pain, suffering, rejection, and imprisonment, he found that God continually met all his needs. He embraced the abundant riches provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus the messiah and kept his eye on the prize of eternal life with his heavenly father.

Would you like to know more about how you can inherit God’s riches by becoming his child and hence his heir? Click now to read about how you can become a Christian.

 

 

 

What’s good about Good Friday?

What’s good about Good Friday?

There is nothing good about Good Friday until you see it from God’s perspective. Jesus didn’t have to give himself up to be crucified on a Roman cross. He didn’t have to die. However, he loved you and me so much that he chose to die in our place so that we would not have to suffer the punishment for our sins.

Throughout history, God sought to bring sinful mankind back into relationship with himself. That relationship had been broken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1-24). So God established a plan for restoration, a restoration that began with the setting apart of Abraham’s family and concluded with the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

To understand the restoration process, we need to understand the concept of a blood sacrifice as atonement for sin. That goes back to the time when man rebelled against God and the perfect creation he made for human beings. This sacrifice was codified by God when he set apart the Israelites and provided them with guidelines for living. That law included a system of sacrifices to atone for different sins. Among the sacrifices were those of animals without blemish, signifying perfection. (Leviticus 22:20) These sacrifices had to be repeated over and over since people kept sinning against God.

Through the death of Jesus, God provided a once-for-all way, for the sins of men and women to be atoned. In the New Testament, we read that John the Baptist recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) This is a reference to the perfect, sacrificial lamb that was called for in the Old Testament law.

Another John, the disciple of Jesus, who wrote an eyewitness account of the three years he spent with Jesus, explained the ultimate sacrifice that was made by Jesus, the Messiah. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) This made Jesus the ultimate sacrifice —satisfying for all time the requirements of God’s justice.

The apostle Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins, according to Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3) because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This simple statement of fact reminds us that our personal sin, our rebellion from God, has us heading to judgment and eternal separation from God.

However, we do not have to suffer throughout all eternity.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross shows the depths of God’s love for us. (Romans 5:6-8) But it is through his resurrection that we can see God’s triumph over death. When we acknowledge that we are sinners deserving of death and accept the gift of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, we can be set free of the condemnation of sin and begin a journey that will culminate in everlasting life in the presence of God. Read more in the answer to the question: How does one become a Christian?

Why am I afraid to share my Christian Faith?

Why am I afraid to share my Christian Faith?

Sharing your Christian faith involves risk and potential failure. Sometimes it could even be embarrassing. Yet there is an urgency about sharing your faith in Christ with those you care about because we don’t know who else might tell them. Without faith in Christ, if they die, they are condemned to eternal separation from God in a place where there is eternal pain and suffering.

The Bible is pretty clear:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

If one is to remain silent and leave a person to his or her fate that doesn’t sound much like a friend. The better way is to ask God to give you the courage to take the bold step of communicating the gospel message of Christ in a loving and considerate manner. Remember, success is not dependent upon you. You have been commissioned to do the sharing and God’s Holy Spirit does the convicting and the saving. So, once you realize that you can’t do the saving, you’re more like the person tossing a life preserver to a drowning friend. That friend will be encouraged by the Holy Spirit to seize the ring, but ultimately the decision to take hold is the friend’s alone. Don’t feel as if you have to “make the sale.” all you have to do is start the conversation.

How Can I Share My Faith Without an Argument?’ is a free downloadable booklet in the RBC Ministries Discover Series that is a great resource for anyone wanting to let others in on the greatest news in the history of mankind.

When you recognize that you just have to be faithful and that the outcome is in God’s control the fear of failure is gone. God will give you the courage and the right words to share. The more often you share your story about how Jesus changed your life and how it will change others, you will discover that each time it becomes easier. Pray, trust and act. The world needs Jesus more than anything else.

Is the war in Europe a sign of the End Times?

Is the war in Europe a sign of the End Times?

When we are confronted with the terror of war either personally or vicariously through the media and stories told by others, we begin to wonder if these are the last days described in the Bible. They could be. Certainly, for those killed in the conflict, they have experienced their end time on earth. But as to knowing if we are living in the end times, we must remember what Jesus said to his disciples as recorded in Matthew 24.

He said that no one, including Himself, can know the date or time but God The Father. Both Paul and Peter reminded us that the end will come “..like a thief in the night..” In his letter to Timothy, Paul writes “..the appearance of the Lord which God will bring about in His own time…” (1 Tim 6:13) In Revelation 22: 7,12 & 20 Jesus says He is coming soon. So how are we to know if we are in the end times? The Bible gives us some clues.

Paul describes signs that will precede the return of Jesus and the end of the Earth as we know it.

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

2 Tim 3:2-5

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”.

2 Tim 4: 3-4

Also foretold was the restoration of the Nation of Israel which happened on May 14, 1948. This after 1878 years of dispersion is truly a miracle and a fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel for the end times, a key event that needed to be in place before Jesus returns for believing Christians.

Yes, we could be living in the End Times. SO, what does that mean to you and me? BE READY, place your faith and trust in our Jesus Christ AND BE ALERT and live that new life He has promised for you on this earth and for eternity. If you would like to know more about how to enjoy peace in the midst of this conflict and be ready to live on with God beyond the end times, please check out our post, How Does One Become a Christian.

What does it mean to have faith in God?

What does it mean to have faith in God?

The object of your faith reveals your heart, your earnest desire.  Faith alone is just a statement without substance.  You should want to trust in something or someone that is true and checks out with reality.

In the Christian faith, Jesus Christ is the object of a person’s faith. Jesus’ life teachings, miracles, death on the cross, resurrection and ascension into heaven are documented facts. They are truth. Therefore, when Jesus, the son of God, is the object of your faith you have the certainty that you can trust Him and believe all He said. Those who put their faith in their good works or other religions have false hope for eternal life because Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”( John 14:6)

Would you like to know how to embrace this true faith? We encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?