Is Jesus Real? The EVIDENCE That Finally Proves It

March 13, 2020 5 Comments

Is Jesus Real? The EVIDENCE That Finally Proves It

WHO IS JESUS? 

Who is Jesus Christ? It is time to uncover the truth about Jesus.

He was the friend of Judas (who betrayed Jesus), and the man beaten down and then helped by Simon of Syrene (who helped Jesus carry the cross).

He was the leader of some fishermen (who were the 12 disciples), the Lamb of God (who is Jesus' Father), and the fulfillment of John the Baptist's prophecy (who baptized Jesus).

He is the Man who said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."  

He was also bold as a lion to the Jewish leaders (who were the Pharisees), denied by James (who was Jesus' brother), watched as his best friends all fled from Him (again, who were the 12 apostles), and was crucified on a cross by a tyrant (who was Pontius Pilate).

It was Pilate (statued below) who crucified Christ.

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We know all these things from the Bible.  Jesus IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.

But what about the historical Jesus of Nazareth?  Is there evidence of Jesus' existence?

Was Jesus real?  Is there proof Jesus existed?

YES!

There is SOLID PROOF Jesus is real.

We are going to go over the evidence, outside of the bible, that proves Jesus lived and walked the earth.  This is PROOF that Jesus lived.

We will truly answer the question, "Was Jesus a real person?"  And we will also dive into WHO the real Jesus was.

We won't be spending time on the more well-known questions of Jesus' biblical narrative, like who is Jesus' mother (Mary), who were the apostles (his followers) or who was Nicodemus? 

We will dig deeper into the actual Jesus from a historical context.

So who is Christ? Who is Yeshua? Who is Jesus of Nazareth? Is Jesus Christ real?

We are not going to ask the question, "Who is Jesus to YOU?"

We want the actual archaeological documents to speak, more than any subjective feeling or opinion.

Here are the sections we will be going over if you would like to skip around:

  • Did Jesus Exist?
  • Tacitus
  • Pliny the Younger
  • The Babylonian Talmud
  • Mara Bar-Serapion
  • Lucian of Samosata
  • Did Jesus Exist?

    Let’s get right into it - historical evidence for the existence of Jesus.

    Did you know that there is extrabiblical evidence (extrabiblical means evidence OUTSIDE of the Bible) that Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ (Christ means ‘messiah’) lived in the 1st century AD, and was crucified on the cross?

    Messiah means Christ - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But who is Jesus?

    Of course, there’s plenty of evidence within the Bible that these events occurred, but what we will be going over is evidence outside of the Bible that points to this man, Jesus, who was also God, living and dying on the cross, under Pontius Pilate, in the 1st century AD, just as the Bible says.

    In this section, I will show you ancient non-Christian sources that speak about this historical person named Jesus walking the earth, performing miracles, being crucified on a cross, and being worshipped as God.

    How do we know, outside of the Bible, that there even WAS a person named Jesus? 

    We will go over just 5 ancient non-Christian sources (there are others); I will show you below.

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    Tacitus

    Tacitus - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Tacitus (statued below) (full name - Publius Cornelius Tacitus) was a Roman historian who lived from around AD 56 to around AD 120 (keep in mind that Jesus was crucified around AD 30, and that St. Paul’s letters (Galatians, Ephesians, etc.) were written between about AD 48 and AD 64). 

    Tacitus - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Tacitus on Jesus was not a believer.  To Tacitus Jesus was not the Son of God some were claiming.

    Tacitus wrote a book called “Annals” in around AD 116.  In one part of the book, Tacitus reports on the six-day Great Fire of Rome that burned much of the city in AD 64 during Emperor Nero’s reign. 

    Six Day Great Fire of Rome - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Emperor Nero (statued below) (Roman emperor from AD 54 to AD 68) had decided to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in AD 64.

    Emperor Nero - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    And Roman historian Tacitus (again, he is writing in AD 116, reporting on an event from AD 64) reports it like this:

    Tacitus - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Notice, first of all, that Tacitus reports that Christians derived their name from an historical person named Cristus (from the Latin Christ).

    This Cristus is said to have suffered the extreme penalty (obviously referring to the Roman method of execution known as crucifixion).

    Jesus on the Cross - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    So this is evidence, outside of the Bible, from an unsympathetic outside source, that there was a man named Jesus, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, in the 1st century AD, just as the Bible says.

    Tiberius and Pontius Pilate - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    For more information on Tacitus, check out this GREAT article by author Robert M. Bowman Jr. on the early extrabiblical references to Jesus:

    http://bib.irr.org/tacitus-suetonius-and-historical-jesus

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    Pliny the Younger Gives Us Even More Evidence

    Pliny the Younger - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Another important source for the validity of Jesus being worshipped as God, and the early Christians can be found in the letters from Pliny the Younger (real name - Gaius Plinius Caecillius Secundus) to Emperor Trajan.

    For Pliny the Younger Jesus and His followers were extremely odd.

    Pliny the Younger and Emperor Trajan - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Now Pliny the Younger (who lived from about AD 61-113) was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. 

    Emperor Trajan was a Roman emperor who reigned from about AD 98-113.

    At one point in Pliny’s letter to Emperor Trajan (written between about AD 109 and AD 111), Pliny relates some of the information that he has learned about these Christians.  He says:

    Pliny the Younger - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    This passage provides us with a number of interesting insights into the beliefs and practices of the early Christians. 

    Christians singing hymns - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

     

    If his interpretation is correct, Pliny understood that early Christians were worshipping an actual historical person (Jesus) as God.

    Of course, this agrees perfectly with the New Testament doctrine that Jesus was both God and man. 

    Amongst many other divinity passages, in John 20:28, Thomas calls Jesus, "My Lord and My God".

    If you would like more divinity passages, I have included a video here.

    The Christian History Institute recounts the actual letters between Pliny and Emperor Trajan, and has many other informative resources as well here:

    https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/study/module/pliny

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    The Babylonian Talmud Confirms Jesus

    Babylonian Talmud - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    The Babylonian Talmud is a collection of Jewish rabbinical writings, and there are a few key references to Jesus in it.

    Babylonian Talmud - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    In the case of the Talmud, the earliest period of compilation occurred between AD70 and AD200.

    The most significant reference from the Jewish Babylonian Talmud to Jesus from this period states:

    Babylonian Talmud - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Now, you may have noticed that it refers to someone who is named, “Yeshu” so why do we think this is Jesus?

    Actually, “Yeshu” or “Yeshua” is how Jesus’ name is pronounced in Hebrew. 

    Yeshua - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    But what does the passage mean by saying that Jesus was hanged?  Doesn’t the New Testament say that Jesus was crucified? 

    Indeed it does.

    But the term hanged can function as a term for crucified. 

    For instance, Galatians 3:13 declares that Jesus was hanged (or hung), and Luke 23:39 applies this term to the criminals who were crucified with Jesus. 

    Galatians 3:13 - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Luke 23:39 - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    The Babylonian Talmud is, of course, from an unsympathetic witness, who said that Jesus walked in power.

    The problem is that Jesus’ so-called sorcery was not a couple magic tricks. 

    But this was Him healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead.

    The passage also tells us why Jesus was crucified.

    It says that he “practiced sorcery, and enticed Israel to apostasy”. 

    Jesus the Sorcerer - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Since this accusation comes from a rather hostile source, we should not be surprised that Jesus is described a bit differently than he is in the New Testament.

    But if we make allowances for this, what might this imply about Jesus?

    They do not deny that he did miracles, they only disagree with the source of his power.

    These miracles (healing the blind, raising the dead) are not the sort of events of sorcerers.  Plus, Jesus’ ethical standards of not ever sinning in his life sort of defeat these arguments for sorcery. 

    The Talmud also declares that Jesus was crucified on the eve of Passover, just as the Bible tells us.

    So that's 3 early and ancient NON-CHRISTIAN sources (Tacitus, Pliny the Younger and the Babylonian Talmud) who talk about Jesus, his power, Him being worshipped as God, crucified under Pontius Pilate (all confirming what the Bible says). 

    Here are 2 more for you.  

    Dr. Michael Brown is a fabulous resource for insight on the Talmud, and other Christian-related questions to Judaism.

    Here is a great video from his website on the Talmud that will give you much more insightful information:

    https://askdrbrown.org/library/truth-about-talmud

    And for his YouTube page, where he has many more videos, go here:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/AskDrBrownVideos

     

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    Mara Bar-Serapion

    Mara Bar-Serapion - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Mara Bar-Serapion - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    In a passage written somewhere between AD 73 and AD 200, Mara Bar-Serapion (pictured above), who was a stoic philosopher from the Roman province of Syria, made these casual remarks about Jesus:

    Mara Bar-Serapion - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

     

    So here again, early on, we have here an historical account of Jesus being executed. 

    For further study on Mara Bar-Serapion, check out this article from the Christian Apologetics Alliance:

    http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2016/04/12/did-jesus-exist-part-5-mara-bar-serapion-the-talmud/

     

    For the entire story of Jesus, check out our blog post HERE, "Who is Jesus? Proving Once and For All That He Lived, He Died and He Rose."

    Who is Jesus? - Welcome to Truth

    Lucian of Samosata

    Lucian of Samosata - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Lucian of Samosata - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Lucian of Samosata (pictured above) was a 2nd century Greek satirist.  In one of his works, he wrote of the early Christians as follows:

    Lucian of Samosata - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

     

    Although Lucian does not mention his name, here is ANOTHER ancient work where he is clearly referring to Jesus.

    But what did Jesus teach to arouse such wrath? 

    According to Lucian, he taught that “all men are brothers from the moment of their conversion”. 

    Well that’s harmless enough, but what did this conversion involve? 

    Greek gods - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    It involved denying the Greek gods (like the statue above), worshipping Jesus instead, and living according to his teachings.  

    It’s not too difficult to imagine someone being killed for teaching that.  Since they denied other gods in order to worship Jesus, they apparently thought him a greater God than any Greece had to offer.  

    So if NO BIBLE ever existed, and all we had were these ancient NON-CHRISTIAN sources to go from, what would we know about Jesus?

    Jesus picture - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Let’s summarize what we’ve learned about from this 5-part examination of non-Christian ancient sources.

    First, Lucian of Samosata indicates that Jesus was wise

    Second, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, and Lucian imply he was a powerful and revered teacher.

    Third, the Talmud indicates that he performed miraculous feats.

    Fourth, Tacitus, the Talmud and Lucian all mention that he was crucified.

    Tacitus said this occurred under Pontius Pilate.  And the Talmud indicates that this happened on the eve of Passover. 

    Evidence for the Historical Jesus - Gary Habermas - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

    Much of this section was taken from the book, “Evidence for the Historical Jesus,” by Dr. Gary Habermas.  Dr. Habermas is one of the, if not the, leading scholar on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    I had the pleasure of meeting him, and he is also a very nice man with a GREAT sense of humor.

    You can find this e-book at GaryHabermas.com.

    If you want an excellent resource on who Jesus (the Son of God) was, both in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, I highly recommend you check out the book, Putting Jesus in His Place, by Robert M. Bowman Jr., and J Ed Komoszewski.

    Putting Jesus in His Place - Kanye Says Jesus is King - But Who is Jesus?

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    We have more information on this topic and other Apologetics topics at WelcomeToTruth.com.

    Now let me turn it over to you: Which extrabiblical reference were you most impressed with?  Was it Pliny the Younger's letters to Emperor Trajan, talking about the early Christians worshipping Jesus as God, or Tacitus referring to Jesus being crucified under Pontius Pilate?

    Let me know in the comments section below.




    5 Responses

    Jonathan
    Jonathan

    July 30, 2020

    By the way, my last comment is referring to Vince’s comment :)

    Jonathan
    Jonathan

    July 30, 2020

    Yeah I actually changed the wording of that. I can see how that could appear a bit misleading and really doesn’t need to be there. Thank you for the comment!

    Vince
    Vince

    July 13, 2020

    Why do you refer to Jesus as the “elder brother of Peter” in the introduction?

    Jonathan
    Jonathan

    March 16, 2020

    Thanks so much for the comment and encouragement Ronnie. I definitely agree! I hope you can use this information to bring more people to Christ. A good question to ask non-believers is, if He lived, and if He was crucified (both confirmed by modern scholarship), then what happened to His body?

    Ronnie Henwood
    Ronnie Henwood

    March 15, 2020

    Very good! It seems conclusive enough to realize and understand from these sources, that Jesus the Christ actually lived according to what the scriptures say.

    Thank you!

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