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Don Stewart :: What Historical Facts Do We Know about the Life of Jesus?

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Don Stewart

There is a central core of truth upon which both believers and unbelievers agree concerning the life of Jesus Christ. From the New Testament we can deduce the following facts about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.

1. Jesus Christ Existed

Today, no serious scholar doubts the existence of Jesus. The fact that Jesus lived is an established historical fact.

2. Jesus Christ Claimed To Be The Son of God

All evidence that we have about Jesus, from the New Testament as well as other sources, admits that Jesus claimed a special relationship between Himself and God, that of Sonship.

3. He Predicted His Crucifixion And Resurrection

From the gospels we have the clear picture that Jesus predicted His death by crucifixion and resurrection. That these predictions were made is confirmed by the facts that the Jews asked the Romans to place a guard at the tomb. Why guard the tomb if there had not been some prediction of a resurrection?

4. Jesus Christ Was Crucified And Buried In Jerusalem

The Gospels, as well as the Apostle Paul, unanimously testify that Jesus died by crucifixion in the city of Jerusalem and was then buried.

5. There Was An Empty Tomb On Easter Sunday

Three days after His burial the tomb of Jesus was empty. If it had been occupied, the enemies of Christianity would have produced the body. The fact that unbelievers said that the disciples of Jesus had stolen His body testifies that the tomb was empty.

6. The Disciples Believed Jesus Appeared To Them

The disciples of Jesus believed they had seen Him alive after His death on the cross. They believed He had risen from the dead.

7. The Disciples' Lives Were Transformed

These same disciples were eventually transformed from cowards to martyrs. Because of the influence of Jesus, men's lives were radically altered.

8. The Resurrection Was Their Message

The message of the disciples was that Jesus Christ had risen. The Book of Acts, as well as the writings of Paul and the other New Testament authors, has the resurrection of Christ as their central message.

9. The Message Was Proclaimed In Jerusalem

Some fifty days after the death of Christ the message of His resurrection was heralded in Jerusalem-the very city where the events took place.

10. The Church Grew Rapidly

A group of believers banded together and became known as the church. The church grew rapidly, based on the belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.

All of the above are solid historical facts that are agreed upon by both believers and nonbelievers alike.

Summary

There are a number of facts that we can conclude about the historicity of Jesus. First, He existed. No one doubts that Jesus was a historical character. Jesus also made some astonishing claims about Himself. All sources agree to this. We also know that Jesus predicted His crucifixion and resurrection. There would have been no reason to guard Jesus' tomb unless He predicted He would come back from the dead. All sources agree that Jesus was crucified and buried in the city of Jerusalem. It is also an historical fact that Jesus' body was not in the tomb on Easter Sunday. The disciples of Jesus believed they saw Jesus raised from the dead. Their message to the world is that "Jesus has risen from the dead!" The message was first proclaimed in Jerusalem, the place where the events took place. The New Testament church experienced rapid growth based upon the belief of the resurrection of Jesus. All of these are known historical facts for believer and unbeliever alike.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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