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 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?

How could Jesus be born to a virgin?

How could Jesus be born to a virgin?

The Bible explains what is known as the virgin birth. She became pregnant not through a man, but through a supernatural act of God.

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

Matthew 1:18-19

As a follower of the law, Joseph could divorce his wife for any cause, but he couldn’t divorce someone to whom he was not married. Therefore we have to look more closely at the customs of the times and the meaning of the words used to describe this situation. Betrothal, translated here as “pledged to be married”, describes a legal agreement joining two people. This is quite different from what we today call an engagement because once betrothed, neither of the two could back out. A betrothal could only be broken by death or divorce. That they had “not come together” reflected a custom of the time that a pledged couple would remain apart for a period of time–often until a room is added to the home of the groom’s family to which the groom would ultimately bring his bride. That they did “not come together” also suggests that they were not intimate up until this time, that’s why the birth of Jesus is described as a virgin birth or a conception without the seed of a man.

Would Mary’s pregnancy cause her to be marginalized or even result in her being stoned for adultery? No. Not unless Joseph were to publicly proclaim that he was not the father of the child in her womb.

“But as he considered these things (Mary’s pregnancy), behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’”

Matthew 1:20-21

This miraculous virgin birth of a savior would prove to be a pivotal turning point in the history of mankind. Joseph, would forever be known as a man who listened to God and was faithful to both his wife and the law.

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

Matthew 1:22-25

Are you prepared to have an encounter with God that will help you discover the truth of His existence? Click on our post: How does one become a Christian?

How can I know that God is Real? What is the evidence?

How can I know that God is Real? What is the evidence?

One legacy of the modern world is the feeling that to believe something, there must be conclusive evidence, so conclusive that no one can possibly doubt. This is not realistic. Every day we make decisions based upon deep, unconscious and sometimes incomplete understanding. It is called faith. So it is with God. The existence of God is something we believe, even on those days when we doubt, based upon a deep sense that God is there and we can always live in his presence.

Even a trained lawyer, Chris Scruggs said, “After I believed on the basis of an answer to prayer, I was able to understand profound arguments for the existence of God from the way the world is and the underlying reliability of the Bible. Before that, there was a sense that there is a God, and God answers prayer, that faith makes sense of life and morality.” Then there is the difference that faith makes in the lives of everyone who believes.

If you really need evidence, there is an abundance of evidence that God exists in the intelligent design of the universe and the complexity of human life. There is also the affirming evidence of the fulfillment of more than 300 Bible prophecies because only God knows the future of all events. Yes, God exists and you can know Him best through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In Him you will find all the evidence you need, plus the assurance of eternal life and peace with God.

Are you prepared to have an encounter with God that will help you discover the truth of His existence? Click on our post: How does one become a Christian?

Why is the Bible true whether you believe it or not?

Why is the Bible true whether you believe it or not?

The Apostle Paul, wrote to Timothy, a missionary partner who, at the time, was the leading pastor in the Asia Minor city of Ephesus. In his letter, Paul was providing guidance for leadership and reminded Timothy of the importance of The Bible as God’s inspired Word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16,17

Because God is the source of all truths, and it is His inspired Word, the Bible is true whether you believe it or not. You can look at it this way. The law of gravity is true. Your belief in that truth will not change how gravity affects you and everything else in the universe. Gravity does not depend upon your belief to make it true. 

The Apostle John describes Jesus as the living Word of God just as Paul explained that the Bible was the written Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

One’s personal belief does not alter the truth. Jesus, God’s son, makes a claim about truth that requires every man, woman and child to make an existential, eternal decision. Jesus said:

“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” 

John 14:6

Further proof that the Bible is true is that it contains prophecies about the future which have turned out in every case to be true. How is that possible you might ask? Consider the fact that God exists outside of time and space and therefore sees human history as if it’s already complete. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament there are prophecies about future events which have or will come true. So the question for you to answer is, “Do you believe that the Bible is true and will you put your trust in its author, God, and accept His offer of grace, redemption and salvation in Jesus Christ?

When you genuinely seek God’s truth from his inspired living Word, the Bible, you will know the truth that will set you free to be all God created you to be. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the true gift of life that God offers, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

We trust that you will make this decision today since no one knows if they will have tomorrow.

If Christianity is really the only way to eternal life, then why doesn’t everyone become a Christian?

If Christianity is really the only way to eternal life, then why doesn’t everyone become a Christian?

The first reason that not everyone becomes a Christian is as simple as unbelief. If people don’t believe that God exists or that they can have eternal life with him, then they are most unlikely to consider becoming a Christian. Unbelief can arise from three things: a genuine unawareness of the Christian faith; preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian—it’s “no fun,” “not cool,” “too many rules,” a lot of “thou shalt nots”— which makes the faith unappealing; or a stubborn unwillingness to examine the truth claims of Christianity and the evidence for them.

Pride also fuels unbelief, as does sloth. If becoming a Christian means putting God first in their lives and following certain disciplines, then many people want no part of living the Christian life. They may also be held back by the fear of ridicule and rejection by unbelieving family, friends, or colleagues, or being “canceled” through social media.

Another stumbling block to seeking eternal life with God is that unbelievers simply can’t picture the glories of heaven implied in these words from a letter written by Paul, an apostle of Jesus, to the church in the Greek city of Corinth:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

1 Corinthians 2:9

The cartoonish depiction of someone sitting on a cloud strumming a harp leads many to think that heaven, if it exists, would be “boring” and thus not worth pursuing. However, the glorious promises of Scripture are affirmed by countless near-death experiences such as those documented in books like John Burke’s Imagine Heaven. This book and others also testify to the reality of an afterlife in hell.

In his account of Jesus’s life and ministry, John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples gives us the main reason why not everyone becomes a Christian:

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

John 3:19

Rather than sending people to hell, we learn, God gives them a choice. We encourage you to love the light, reject the darkness, and choose “the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can be assured of enjoying an eternity where all doubts end, where there is no more pain, or suffering…an eternity beyond your greatest imaginings, we encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?