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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Accusations Against Jesus Answered

Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Travel Internationally and Receive His Doctrine from Elsewhere?

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Did Jesus Travel Internationally and Receive His Doctrine from Elsewhere?

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 11

One of the popular views regarding Jesus Christ, from those who do not accept the New Testament picture of Him, has Him going to other countries during His silent years. They argue that from age twelve to thirty Jesus left the Holy Land and went to other far off places.

Supposedly, it was during those years that He formed His unique doctrines about God. We do know that ancient traditions that say that Jesus went to such places as Egypt, India, China, and Japan.

Could this be the explanation as to where Jesus learned and formulated His unique teachings as well as where He discovered the power to work mighty deeds? There are people who think so. However, the evidence does not support it.

1. There Is No Evidence Jesus Traveled outside His Own Country

While there are theories that have Jesus going to such places as India, China, Japan, and Egypt to learn His doctrine, there is no evidence whatsoever that He ever left His own country. The various traditions that Jesus traveled outside of Israel are dated, at the earliest, several hundred years after His life.

Furthermore, it is only after the gospel reached these countries did the stories arise of Jesus visiting them in the past. In other words, there is no evidence whatsoever that these tales have any basis in fact. Consequently this is a fatal blow to the theory of Jesus’ unique teachings and power came from traveling abroad.

2. Traveling Internationally Still Would Not Prove Anything

Even if it could be demonstrated that Jesus did visit another country or several countries it would still not prove anything. His teaching cannot be explained by claiming it came from sources outside of Israel. A number of points need to be made.

3. Jesus’ Teaching Was Steeped in the Old Testament

The teachings of Jesus about the nature of God, of humanity, and salvation from sin, are all found in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. In fact, His entire life is a fulfillment of what the Old Testament predicted concerning the coming Messiah. There is nothing which He taught that is inconsistent with the Old Testament Scripture.

4. There Is Nothing in Jesus’ Teaching That Indicates His Doctrine Was from Elsewhere

Not only was the teaching of Jesus steeped in the Old Testament, there is absolutely nothing that He taught that shows any sort of influence of traveling internationally. To the contrary, His teachings are totally opposed to the doctrines that were taught in these various countries at that time in history.

5. Jesus Taught Openly, Not in Secret

There is also the fact that the New Testament emphasizes that when Jesus taught the multitudes, as well as His disciples, He did it both openly and publicly. When Jesus was arrested and tried, He made this clear:

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous criminal, that you have come armed with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day.” (Matthew 26:55 NLT)

Everyone knew what Jesus stood for since He made His teachings public.

He later told the High Priest, Annas that everything He taught, He taught publicly. John records the following:

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.” (John 18:20 RSV)

This is in contrast to the secret teachings that He supposedly received from various “masters” in these other countries.

6. This Does Not Explain His Miracles

Even if one argues that Jesus received His teaching from some foreign source, it would not explain how He was able to perform the sort of signs He performed as well as coming back from the dead. There are no examples anywhere of people doing similar, or the same things, as Jesus did. Why couldn’t the people who taught Him have also been raised from the dead? If they were His teachers we should expect them, at the very least, to perform the same miracles. Yet, there is no evidence whatsoever that any so-called “master” ever achieved this.

7. Jesus’ Disciples Continued Performing Miraculous Deeds

Jesus promised His disciples that they would have His authority. The New Testament records that they were able to perform similar miracles to Him. Yet, they never attributed it to any power other than the God of the Old Testament.

In sum, the argument that Jesus traveled outside the Holy Land and received His instruction from enlightened ones in other countries has no basis in fact. None!

Summary – Question 11
Did Jesus Travel Internationally and Receive His Doctrine from Elsewhere?

Jesus’ powers have to be explained. Sometimes the claim is made that He received His great abilities by traveling internationally and learning truths from “enlightened masters.” In fact, a number of ancient traditions exist in countries other than Israel where it is claimed Jesus visited them during His silent years.

This explanation, however, does not explain anything. For one thing, there is no evidence Jesus ever traveled outside His own country. The traditions which say Jesus visited these countries come from a very late date. Nobody really takes them seriously.

Even if He did travel internationally it still would not prove anything. Indeed, if Jesus received His instruction from those religious figures in countries other than Israel then why don’t His teachings reflect this? Indeed, what Jesus taught is completely contrary to the things which were taught in these lands.

What we do find is that Jesus’ teaching was steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. Everything which He taught was consistent with Old Testament doctrine. In point of fact, there is nothing that indicates Jesus’ teaching came from anywhere else.Furthermore, Jesus taught openly, not in secret. There was no “hidden truths” that He revealed to a select few. His doctrine was for everybody, everywhere.

In addition, Jesus’ miracles need to be explained some way. How was He able to perform them? If He learned them from these so-called enlightened teachers then why weren’t they able to do such miracles?

Finally, Jesus’ miracles were continued by His disciples. How were they able to continue in His miraculous ways?

All of these facts demonstrate that Jesus did not receive His doctrine from some other country. His doctrine, as He clearly stated, came from the One who sent Him; God the Father.

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