Summary: John 1:1--Jesus from the beginning

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In a few weeks Christians will celebrate an event that took place in history that changed history: The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Not a spiritual resurrection, but a bodily resurrection.

Now, there are those who don't believe that. They think the resurrection of Jesus from the grave is legend; not fact. They do not believe that the Gospels present an accurate account of the events that took place on Friday April 3, 33 AD if we use modern dates.

How do we know that? Researchers are claiming to have discovered the exact date that Jesus Christ was crucified, according to a new geological study recently released in an academic journal.

The geological survey, published in the International Geology Review, suggests that Christ was crucified on Friday, April 3, in the year 33.

The year of Christ's crucifixion has been widely debated in religious and scholarly circles, but geologists now believe that their research points to the most likely year Jesus was put on the cross.

"The day and date of the crucifixion are known with a fair degree of precision. But the year has been in question," geologist Jefferson Williams told Discovery Channel News.

To uncover the date of the crucifixion the scientists studied seismic activity in the Dead Sea by examining three cores from the Ein Gedi Spa beach, which lies adjacent to the Dead Sea 13 miles from Jerusalem.

Scientists decided to look into the history of seismic activity in the region because Chapter 27 in the Gospel of Matthew says that an earthquake coincided with the crucifixion of Christ.

"And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open," the Gospel reads.

After analyzing seismic activity in the region along with astronomical data, the scientists factored in information from all four Gospels, and determined that the best match for the date of crucifixion would be Friday, April 3, 33.

Whether or not that is correct, you have to decide. But the interesting thing is that these scholars thought enough about the reports to go to all this effort. I am told that the crucifixion of Jesus is easily the most verified event in history. I find it interesting that scholars will accept the Gospel accounts when it comes to the death of Jesus, but want to question it when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus.

They question it because the resurrection defies all natural laws-it is a miracle and some people automatically reject anything they consider impossible. So, over the next few weeks, leading up to Easter which this year falls on April first, April Fool's day, we want to examine the life and teachings of this man Jesus and answer the question, "Just Who is this Jesus?" Let me quickly state that while liberal theologians of the late nineteenth century and early to mid-twentieth century questioned the very existence of Jesus of Nazareth, this is a question that has long been resolved -no scholar today questions the historicity of the man Jesus. We know He lived and we know he died-no one who has studied the issue questions that today; the only question among scholars today is Jesus' real identity. Do we accept the accounts of the eyewitnesses or do we seek to re-write history based on our modern bias rather than the facts as they present themselves? Andreas Köstenberger, senior research professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, states that "Virtually all scholars today believe that Jesus lived and died by Roman crucifixion." So, the fact that Jesus lived and died is not even a question modern scholars have. The issue skeptical scholars struggle with the claims over who Jesus was and is. If you follow the line of reasoning of the skeptical scholars you discover very quickly that their problem begins from their modern assumptions as they interpret that ancient reports. They are all too willing to accept as accurate those parts of the New Testament they agree with, but then dismiss as fable those parts that they have determined by their preconceived notions can't be real.

Let me try to illustrate what I am talking about. Back when I was working with delinquent young people, one of the common family dynamics was what psychologists called "the engagement-disengagement cycle." Put simply, the parents understood that their children were capable of bad behavior when they were with them, but they did not believe that their children were capable of bad behavior if the behavior took place outside of their direct sight. So, when Billy or Sally got in trouble at school, where the parent couldn't see them, the blame was never on Billy or Sally, but on the teacher. Billy and Sally would never misbehave; it had to be someone else! Now, they knew first-hand the nature of their Billy and Sally from their own observation, but what they knew of their child became very selective when they chose not to believe that Billy or Sally was capable of doing in public what they did in private.

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