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Jesus, Who is He?
Jesus changed the direction of history. Even the date on your morning newspaper testifies to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived on earth nearly 2,000 years ago. B.C. means "before Christ"; A.D. (Anno Domini), "the year of our Lord".

In his famous book, Lewis makes this statement, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."  All other religions [such as, Buddhism. Confucianism, Shintoism, and Islam] were founded by human beings and are based on man-made philosophies, rules and norms for behavior. Take the founders of these religions out of both their disciplines and practices of worship and little would change.




(Life and ministry of Jesus)



 During the 15th year of Tiberius (Luke 3:1) John the Baptist and with him the life and ministry of Jesus (this has been confirmed even by unbiblical sources) took place.

            Information regarding His birth and childhood appeared in Matthew 1 and 2, established in the time of Herod I. The book of Luke, chapter 2, states this event during the first census in Judea under the reign of the emperor Augustus.


            Historic evidence exists of a census that was carried out around the year 8 B.C. and with this in mind many sources indicate his birth as the year 7 B.C.

Evidence that shows the existence  

Of Jesus 200 years A.C


            According to certain investigations there were possible witnesses of the existence of Jesus during the two first centuries of our era, who vary in their historic details but that are worthy of review.




            Jesus lived a public life in the ground of Palestine under the government of Tiberius.  There are four Roman historic sources of this government: Tacitus (55-117), Suetonius (70-160), Velleius Paterculus (contemporary) and Gave Cassius (third century). 

            There are two Jewish historic sources that describe the events of that period: Josephus (37-100?), written in Greek, and rabbinic writings  (written in Hebrew after the year 200, but the majority of these were transmitted orally before that period).  There are references regarding Jesus done by Tacitus and Suetonius, that in case of being 100% genuine we will have an amazing fact.              On the contrary, ALL the historic Jewish sources mention Jesus.  This comes to be the opposite of what has always been believed.           Both Josephus and the rabbinic writings (Talmud, Midrash) have clear references of the existence of Jesus.   






Many manuscripts came to the light with the discovery of the papyruses.  It is believed that more than 24,000 copies of the first manuscripts of the New Testament exist today.

In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the accuracy of these documents. A shepherd boy found these scrolls in caves in the desert near the Dead Sea. Before the discovery of these scrolls, the earliest Old Testament manuscripts we had were from about 980 A.D. The manuscripts discovered in the caves dated from 250 B.C. to shortly after the time of Christ. In careful comparison of the manuscripts it was confirmed that the copies we had were almost precisely the same as those, which date over 1000 years earlier. Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer said that even though there is such a difference in dates of the manuscripts, "they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more that 95 per cent of the text. The 5 per cent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling." No other historical literature has been so carefully preserved and historically confirmed.

The historian Luke wrote "authentic evidence" regarding the resurrection.  Sir William Ramsay, who invested 15 years determining the credentials of Luke like historian and refuting the truth of the New Testament, finally said:  “Lucas It is a historian of great calibrate… this author should be put among the greatest historians that have existed". 


Historians questioned the accuracy of the accounts surrounded Pontius Pilate's crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate found nothing wrong with him and was reluctant to crucify an innocent man. The Jews put pressure on Pilate saying that if you refuse this "you are no friend of Caesar" (John 19:12). At which point Pilate gave in to the Jews. This did not fit any historical records we had of Pilate who was a cruel and dominating man, not likely to give in to a group of Jews whom he hated. Many believed that this account was historically inaccurate because of the way in which it portrayed Pilate.


Later it was discovered that a man named Sejanus who was plotting to overthrow Caesar had appointed Pilate. Sejanus was executed along with many of his appointees (Delashmutt, Sejanus, p. 55, 56). What this demonstrated was that Pilate was in no position to get in trouble with Rome. The Jews had him in a tight place. If word returned to Rome that Jerusalem was in rebellion, Pilate would be the first to go. The gospel account was confirmed as accurate.

A respected Jewish archaeologist has claimed that, "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever refuted a biblical reference" (Shelly, p. 103). This is a strong statement for any archaeologist to make because if it were not true, he would quickly be condemned in his own field.

That is why we can have as a conclusion that the Bible is a reliable historical document. Its accuracy has been proved numerous times. Its historical inaccuracy has never been demonstrated. So that when we approach the Bible, we do so with a good amount of confidence that what it records actually happened.


The crucifixion:  Jesus died by crucifixion. Crucifixion was a most painful and certain means of death. Roman soldiers whipped Christ before his crucifixion (Mt 27:26-31). The Roman method for this was to give thirty-nine lashes before crucifixion. (Forty lashes were considered legally dead after which point an individual could no longer be punished.) The effect of this was to induce considerable blood loss. The Romans used what was called a "cat-of-nine-tails." This whip had many ends to it and usually had pieces of bone, glass, and metal shards attached to it, which would rip open, the flesh. After being whipped Jesus was forced to carry his own cross to the place of crucifixion. The gospel records indicate that in his weakened state, he was unable to carry the cross (which would have been carried on his wounded back Mt 27:32). Incidentally, Jesus was probably not a weak man. Before his preaching ministry he had been a carpenter and during his ministry he walked hundreds of miles throughout Israel.

Jesus was nailed to Roman and his death came within hours. The Jews were concerned that no bodies would be left on crosses at sundown that evening because it was the beginning of the Sabbath. "The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away" (John 19:31). Crucifixion victims, depending on their health and the method of crucifixion, could last days on a cross. Victims died primarily through blood loss, dehydration, and suffocation. In order to breath when on a cross, it is necessary for the victim to push up with their legs to release the pressure on the lungs. This is a painful process because of the nails in both the hands and feet or ankles. The purpose of breaking the victims’ legs was so that they would be unable to push themselves up to breathe and thus die more quickly.  

However, when they came to Jesus the Roman guards realized he was dead already. "The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water" (John 19:32-34). John records this detail of piercing Jesus side to indicate that he was in fact dead. In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the doctors examining the historical evidence concluded that the spear probably pierced the sack of fluid that surrounds the heart (JAMA, Vol., 255, No. 11, 1986, p. 1455ff ). If he had not been dead before this time, he was surely dead now.

The Gospel records indicate that upon his death two prominent Jewish admirers came to gather Christ's body. "And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight" (John 19:38). These men were both of the ruling class of the Jews (seventy-one men in all) and well known in the community as well as to Pilate. The mention of prominent men indicates that this account is not fictitious. If the disciples had created this story it would have been counterproductive to make up a person that was supposed to be in a prominent position. This could easily have been refuted were it not true. (Moreland, p. 167).


There are some important features to this account. First, this was not a poor man's grave. Only the rich had tombs carved in rock and situated in a garden area. Second, Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women who watched where he was buried identified the tomb. The Jewish and Roman authorities as this same passage records also carefully mark the grave,

Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.' Therefore give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first" Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how." And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone. (Mt 27:62-66)

It is also important to note here, that a Roman guard is a group of soldiers not an individual. The seal, which was placed over the grave, was a wax seal with rope; to break this Roman seal was punishable by death in the Roman Empire.





The witnesses of the New Testament knew perfectly of the points against which the resurrection took place.  The body of Jesus, according to the custom concerning the dead, was wrapped in linen.  Around hundred aromatic pounds of mixed spices ended up in consistent substance that was applied to clothes where the body would be wrapped.   Then, the body was placed in a solid rock tomb; immense stones were rolled against the entrance of the tomb.  Large stones that weighed about two tons approximately were rolled (through levers) against the entrance of the tomb.  A Roman guard strictly disciplined was left guarding the tomb.  This guard put the Roman seal upon the stone, to prevent any intent of violation of the grave.  Anybody that tried to move the stone from the entrance would break the seal and therefore would incur in problems with the Roman law.  But three days later the tomb was empty.

The followers of Jesus said that He had resurrected from the dead.  They reported that He had appeared to them for a period of 40 days with infallible proofs.  The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people at the same time, who in its majority still were alive and they could confirm what Paul said.  A lot of precautions concerning the judgment, crucifixion, burial, seal of the tomb and the guarding of it, that it is very difficult for the critics to defend the position that Christ was not resurrected from the dead.  We consider the following facts:  




The first fact that talks of the departing of Jesus from the tomb is the broken Roman Seal. 

It is also important to note here, that a Roman guard is a group of soldiers not an individual. The seal, which was placed over the grave, was a wax seal with rope; to break this Roman seal was punishable by death in the Roman Empire.

The consequences by breaking this seal were extremely severe.  The one responsible for investigating the case would fight day and night to find the responsible of this.  If the responsible were captured this means that an immediate execution through crucifixion (backwards) was going to be held.  The people feared breaking the seal.  The disciples of Jesus denoted cowardice when they hid. 


The second fact to consider is the empty tomb.  The disciples of Jesus did not go to Rome or far from the city to preach that Christ had been raised from the dead.  Even though they returned to the main city of Jerusalem to give the news.  If the fact of the resurrection were false, their falsehood would be evident.  The empty tomb was too much notorious to be denied.  This proof of the resurrection of Jesus hadn’t lasted an hour without the fact of the empty tomb. 

Both sources Jewish and Roman admit and confirm the proof of the empty tomb.  These sources are since Josephus until the writings called “Toledoth Jeshu”.  According to Dr. Paul Maier this is positive evidence since if a source admits a fact that necessarily is not to its favor, then that fact is genuine.  According to Dr. Maier there is no evidence in literature, epigraphy or archaeology that disapprove the fact of the resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was the central message of the disciples. Peter preached the message in Jerusalem as Acts chapter 2 goes on to say, "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day." Peter is saying that we know where David's body is. We can go and dig it up. But Jesus' body is missing. Had this not been true, anyone in the audience could have refuted his claim. The Jews or the Romans could have opened the tomb and paraded the body through the city to show everyone that the disciples' message was false. But they didn't because there was no body to find and all of Jerusalem had heard the news (Luke 24:18). Even the Jewish historian Josephus writing forty years later comments on Jesus' death.



What called the attention of the people that Sunday morning was the unusual position of one of the stones of almost two tons that had been moved from the entrance.  All the writers of the New Testament mention it.  Those that saw it describe the position of the stone not only as been slid from the entrance but moved far away from the entire grave as if it had been raised and put far away.  If the disciples were the ones who moved the stone and stole the body of Jesus while the guards slept, then how did they remain asleep with that kind of noise and bustle with the presence of the disciples in the tomb? 




The Roman guard fled.  They left their position of responsibility.  How did they justify their fatigue (according to what they explained) if their military discipline was so strict?  Their fear of their leaders and the possibility of the death made them pay meticulous attention to their positions.  A form in which the guards were condemned to death was by removing their clothes and to be burned while they were alive beginning with their clothes.  If one soldier out of the guard team had failed to his duty then all the rest were put into prison until it was determined which one would pay for the failure of the whole unit.  Certainly not the entire unit would fall asleep with that type of threat upon their backs.   

A student of the Roman discipline called Dr. George Currie, wrote that the fear to the punishment "produced a meticulous attention and efficiency during the duty, especially during the nocturnal vigil". 




There was an amazing incident.  John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, looked around the place where the body of Christ had been placed and there were the clothes with which Jesus was buried.  The clothes were aside still in the shape of the body they once contained.  Something that remained in the minds of the disciples was not only the empty tomb as the empty clothes, even in the same place where Jesus was laid.  





                Jesus was seen on many different occasions, and by many people, after His resurrection, not only his followers (Paul of Tarsus was his enemy).  If the number of live witnesses at the time of the publication of an event was enough then such event was published.  If the number of witnesses is substantial (in this case more than 500) then the event can be considered to be established as well.  These persons were still alive when the record concerning the presence of Jesus was written, and they would have been able to disprove it, refute it or prove it as false if something had not been certain.   This gives authority to the list, as historical evidence, because the majority of the five hundred witnesses were still alive.  The Apostle Paul himself challenged those that did not believe asking them to inquire the witnesses.  This gives credit to the letter written by the Apostle about thirty years after these events and is strong evidence nowadays.  It would be the trial with more eyewitnesses that have existed.  


The resurrection of Christ is central to the Christian faith. Without it, there is no Christianity. Paul says, "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain" (I Cor: 15:14). Paul who was a vigorous persecutor of the church before seeing the risen Christ maintains that Jesus did rise from the dead. In writing to the Corinthian church he says, For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep [died]; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all . . . He appeared to me also.  (I Cor 15:3-8)

What he is telling his readers is that many people saw Jesus after the resurrection. He is saying, "If you are skeptical you can go and speak with them yourselves because most of them are still alive!" Paul is so confident of what he and the others saw that he is willing to stake everything on this claim. This was not an event that occurred to a few men in a remote location. It happened in a huge metropolitan city and there were many witnesses to verify it.




·        The women that arrived at the tomb the first day of the week, arrived at the correct tomb.  If this had been the wrong tomb then the disciples that followed them and the guards that were there the day before would have watched the incorrect grave. 



Those who support the idea that the apparitions of Jesus were hallucinations do not find support in the psychological principles that handle the appearance of the hallucinations and they do not coincide with the historic situation.  Again, where is the original body?   What did the disciples see?  Could they have seen a vision that they assumed was the risen Christ?  Could it have been a hallucination? Because of the strength of the evidence that something did happen that changed the disciples' lives, some critics have suggested the idea that what they saw was a hallucination.  There are still two problems with this theory: it doesn't match what we know of the account and it doesn't match what we know of the psychology of hallucinations. 

J.P.  Moreland summarizes the nature of hallucinations well. 


First, hallucinations happen to persons who are high-strung, highly imaginative, and nervous.  Second, they are linked in they go individual' s subconscious to his past beliefs and experiences.  Third, it is extremely unlikely that two or more people would have the same hallucination at the same time.  Fourth, they usually occur at private places (places of nostalgia which create for you to reminiscing mood) and the recurrence over to long period of time.  (P.  177)


I would add further that the idea of mass hallucinations have been disproved in modern psychology.  If you hold that what the disciples saw was a hallucination, then you must acknowledge that they experienced this hallucination in groups of three, four, twelve, and even five hundred people. 


  The hallucination theory does not fit what we know of the disciples' expectations. As I have said earlier, the disciples were not expecting Christ to rise from the dead. They had no concept in Judaism of the Messiah rising physically from the dead with the same body, a body they could touch and interact with. Nor do the descriptions given in the gospels reflect the kind of vagueness that makes up a hallucination. What they experienced was concrete. They could recall and explain it clearly. And because many of them experienced the same thing, separately and together, they could confirm their experiences with each other.



·        Venturini popularized some centuries ago the Theory that Jesus did not die but passed out due to the loss of blood and that later he presented himself before the disciples making them believe that he had been resurrected from the dead. It is impossible that Jesus, half dead and tired, looking for medical aid and in need to be bandaged and cured, had given the impression to the disciples of one that conquered death.       



·        There are those that maintain that the body of Jesus was stolen for the disciples while the guards slept.  The depression and the cowardice that they reflected is a point against this supposition.  How did they suddenly find the enough strength to face the soldiers and steal the body?  In the state they were in, it is impossible to believe that they could do something like this.  Even the supposition that Jewish or Roman could have stolen it, is out of reasoning.  If this were true, when the disciples announced the resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem, they (Jewish or Romans) could say that they did it, and then show the body and bring it to Jerusalem.  Right there the idea of the resurrection was buried. 

·         The first Christians were put into death for bearing the fact that Christ was resurrected from the dead.  Every method was utilized to stop them from speaking the message of Christ as resurrected.  They also gave their own lives as tangible proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.


·         Now what do you think after analyzing the evidence?        




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