Jesus did many other things as well.If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25).
In our recent series on apologetics (Always Be Prepared!), we were considering the misinformed claim about the identity of the Lord Jesus that we too often hear.
Have you encountered this from some pundit, or in a personal conversation? It goes something like this: “There is really no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth ever lived, that He is a real person. He may be just a composite sketch of several figures from antiquity evolving over 2000 years from Judeo-Christian mythology, but we can’t really know.”
However, to the extent that evidence is considered, it’s just not true!
In fact the evidence of His historicity is overwhelming, particularly if we use the metrics of history applied to any other person from history.
Here’s one measurement: within 150 years of his death, how many writers – evidence of which survives to today – have penned something about a prominent figure from antiquity?
- Julius Caesar’s military conquests are recorded by 5 writers, one of which was himself.
- Tiberius Caesar is mentioned by 10, including in the New Testament ( Luke 3:1).
- but, Jesus of Nazareth is found in the writings of 42 people, including 9 who did not follow Him.*
And, although it can’t be proven, it is likely that since that time more words have been written about Jesus than any other individual in history. Furthermore, there is more written about His resurrection than any other event in history. The quantities of each are incalculable.
I recently read of this interesting tally from academic circles alone: since 1975, approximately 3400 scholarly books and extended articles have been written in English, French and German – just on the resurrection! Clearly this subject, although polarizing, continues to be riveting on a scholastic research level.**
And on a popular level, too. Lest we conclude that nobody today is interested in this character from the Greco-Roman world of the first century, consider: the internet site listverse.com compiles “top ten” lists on items from the essential to the inane. In their list of the Top 10 Most Famous People in history, they rank Jesus Christ as #1, with an mind-boggling 24.9 million+ Google hits…every month!***
Takeaway: in the New Testament the gospel was spread around the Mediterranean world in one-on-one discussions. Are you joining the conversation?
*p.127-8, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Habermas & Licona
**p.278, The Resurrection of Jesus – A New Historiographical Approach, Michael Licona
***www.listverse.com (Top 10 Most Famous People)