Summary: Examines the external evidence (historians, early church fathers, matryrs) and the external evidence for Jesus existence. Teaches us to be humble and serve like Jesus did.
What we Believe Series – Part 3
Who is this Jesus? – Phil. 2:3-11 NLT
(Acknowledgement: Dr. Henry Schorr, Centre St. Church, Calgary AB - His What We Believe Series)
. We have been in a series the last couple of weeks called ‘What we believe.’ The last couple of weeks we have looked at God the Father. Now were going to set our sights on God the Son, Jesus Christ. What do Christians believe about Jesus? What was his purpose for coming to earth? What difference can he make in my life?
Have you ever thought or had the statement directed your way that Jesus was just a mythical figure who never even existed? Sure you have.
No historian worth his salt today would promote the idea that Jesus never lived. We have three proofs of his existence.
First we have external evidence www.gotquestions.org . By that we mean evidence outside the Bible.
Tacitus 1st Century
o Considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious "Christians” ("named after Christus" which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius.
Chief Secretary Suetonius
o Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian in 117 AD, wrote there was a man named Christus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44 ).
Flavius Josephus was the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” He further wrote "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats. . . . He was [the] Christ . . . he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him." Although the latter quote is controversial, it is recorded.
II. Early Church Fathers
Pliny the Younger, who lived in the1st century, recorded early Christian worship practices. He indicates Christians worshiped Jesus as God, were very ethical, and includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.
Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them.
Then we have all the Gnostic writings. Gnostic writers taught that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world. (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocrypha of John, The Gospel of Thomas, and The Treatise on Resurrection) that all mention Jesus.
III. The Apostles
Evidence is overwhelming for Jesus existence, both in secular and Biblical history. Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the apostles, gave their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie.
IV. The Internal Evidence (The Bible)
Jesus life and witness
Jesus life and witness are recorded for us in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as Paul’s and others epistles.
o Jesus was born in an obscure village in a rock cave. He was born into a poor family. He was born into a small nation. He lived only 33 or so years. His ministry lasted only about three years. Yet his life has impacted billions of people down through the ages.
o He has impacted every race
o He has impacted every nation
o He has impacted every economic bracket
o Why has Jesus had such a dramatic impact on the world, not only positively, but negatively?
o Why does the mere mention of the name of Jesus evoke such a negative response
o Why do people use the name of Jesus as a swear word
o When was the last time you heard people use the name Buddha as a swear word (O Buddha!)
o It is because of who Jesus claimed to be
o I AM the bread of life. John 6:35: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
o I AM the light of the world. John 8:12: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
o I AM the door. John 10:7: Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep."
o I AM the good shepherd. John 10:11-14: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me...."