Who Jesus Is – Is Jesus Real?
Is Jesus real? Well now, we’ve already talked about a few eyewitnesses, even though they lived quite some time ago. Guys like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James…
Before we move on, let’s take a little closer look at these guys. First of all, none of them, other than the apostle Paul were extremely educated. Most of them were just regular guys. Now, that’s not to say they were ignorant…just that they were ordinary people. No Phd’s…no Master’s degrees…just regular guys. None of these guys were of the upper social class.
If you need an educated guy to throw into the mix, then Paul is your man. He was about as educated as a fellow could be in those times. And if you’re looking for upper class, Paul would probably be your man there, too. At least, before the road to Damascus experience. He hung out with the elite of the day, at least in religious circles. In fact, he was one of the rising stars of the time. Until that incident on the Damascus road.
All of these guys, with the exception of John (actually, they tried to kill him, too, but nothing they did could kill him!) died a martyr’s death. That one simple fact reveals a lot about the reality of Jesus. To give you an example of what I mean, let’s compare Jesus to George Washington again…just for a moment.
Suppose, for just a minute, that a patriot soldier has been captured by a British patrol. And, let’s suppose, for just a minute, that the British commander has given the patriot soldier a choice:
Denounce ol’ George as a fraud and a fake and he’s free to go home to his family…
Or continue to hold fast to his belief that Mr. Washington is a great American hero and the father of a great new nation….and he will be hanged by the neck until his lifeless feet are dangling in the wind for the buzzards to dispose of in a manner befitting a traitor of the homeland…
Which would you choose?
Few would have the courage to hang for their beliefs, though some would undoubtedly do so…IF their faith in their rag-tag army commander was great enough. Keep in mind, that we’re talking about the run-of-the-mill, every day, common folks here…the kind of folks that make up an army of rebel freedom-fighters against the most powerful nation on earth at the time…England!
Remember, too, that all this rebel soldier has to do was SAY George is a fraud and a fake. He doesn’t necessarily have to BELIEVE it. He could deny George, gain his freedom and run home to fight another day. Most would take their freedom and be happy for it! But there are always a few die-hards… a few that will stand up for what they believe in and pay the ultimate penalty, which in this case is death.
But suppose this soldier knew something the rest of them didn’t know. What if this soldier personally knew George? And what if this soldier knew that George and all the legends and myths about him were fake? Just a bunch of made-up lies…that it was all just a charade to fool the British? Do you really think he would sacrifice his own life to protect the lies and fake stories going around about Mr. Washington?
It’s a hard thing for a man to die for the truth. It’s a lot harder…and quite foolish…to knowingly die for a lie. A good example that comes to mind is Peter. As Jesus was being beaten and taken toward his destiny on the cross, Peter denied him. Not once. Not twice. But three times. And Peter KNEW Jesus was real and believed that he was who he claimed to be…the Son of God (Matt. 14:22-32, Matt. 16:16)! But Pete wasn’t willing to die for his beliefs, or for his Savior…not yet.
But something happened. Peter, along with the other disciples saw Jesus die. Then they saw Jesus live again! In fact, there were over five hundred witnesses (besides the disciples) who saw the resurrected Jesus after the crucifixion (1 Cor. 15:6)…most of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of that same letter to the church in Corinth! And many of them died for the simple act of telling others of what they had witnessed!
First by the dozen…then by the hundreds…and eventually, even by the thousands, people died to protect and preserve the truths found in the Bible. Even today, in some countries, there are those who suffer and die for their beliefs. How many of these people would have given their lives for a book of fairy tales or made up stories? Who in their right mind would die for their belief in Old Mother Hubbard?
Something…or someONE gave these people a reason to believe there was truth in the events described in the gospels. Something or someone gave them a reason to believe there was truth in the person of Jesus Christ. They already knew he was a real person. They had seen him, talked with him, walked with him… They believed in the reality of the Man and his mission enough to lay down their own lives if necessary. And for many of them, it WOULD become necessary.
Was Jesus real? Aside from what you’ve just read, let’s consider another little tidbit. Have you ever stopped to think that each time you write a check you are acknowledging the reality of Jesus Christ? Even if you don’t believe he really existed! How so, you may ask? Check any encyclopedia you like and you’ll find that mankind’s entire system of keeping track of time changed with the life of Jesus Christ!
“It is interesting to note that the purpose of the BC / AD dating system was to make the birth of Jesus Christ the dividing point of world history. However, when the B.C. / A.D. system was being calculated, they actually made a mistake in pinpointing the year of Jesus’ birth. Scholars later discovered that Jesus was actually born in around 4-6 BC, not 1 AD. That is not the crucial issue. The birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ are the “turning points” in world history. It is fitting, therefore, that Jesus Christ is the separation of “old” and “new.” BC was “before Christ” and since His birth, we have been living “in the year of our Lord.””
This particular explanation was found at http://www.gotquestions.org/BC-AD.html . But go ahead and “Google” it for yourself. Check out every single reference you find. Some will tell you that there are now other terms, such as “before common era” and “after common era”…but nobody knows what the “common era” was or is supposed to be! While I didn’t take the time to check all 147 million sites that popped up, every single one that I DID look at pointed to the life of Jesus Christ as being the turning point in our dating system…from BC to AD.
What this tells me, personally, is that at some point in time the top scholars, politicians, scientists, theologians, teachers and whoever else got together and agreed that Jesus Christ was (or had been) a real person…and that his life had been so significant that it was worthy of dividing human history into two parts…the part before his life, and the part after his life. Surely they must have had some basis for making this decision!?!
On top of that, it was implemented around the world and was accepted, at least by the majority, of all mankind…and is still being used today without question or opposition. Am I to believe that such a massive undertaking was carried out for a myth or a fairy tale? What purpose would it have served to make such a massive change unless there was SOME TRUTH TO IT?
Call it what you will. Those guys lived a lot closer to his lifetime that I am currently living. Whatever evidence they had is good enough for me. Not that I need their evidence. I have my own…but that’s for next time…
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