Lesson 1 “ Who do you say I am” Study of the historical character called Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In Matthew 16: 15 Jesus said, “ But who do you say I am ?” This is a question that all man-kind must answer.
“It makes a difference whether or not passionate human beings could even be motivated to live morally with out believing in living Christ.” Edward Wharton- Christianity A Clear Of History.
History “History is the witness that testifies to the Passing of time, illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.” Cicero
History “There is properly no history, only biography”. Ralph Waldo Emerson “History itself is nothing but the activity of men pursuing their purposes.” Karl Marx
History “Only a good-for-nothing is not interested in his past”. - Sigmund Freud. “Every past is worth condemning”. Friedrich Nietzsche ‘History is more or less bunk.” Henry Ford
History History can be defined as: “A chronological record of events, as of the life or development of a people or institution, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events.”
This historical journey is not with out its critics. “ The Gospel stories are no more historical than the Genesis creation accounts are scientific. They are filled with exaggerations, miracles and admitted propaganda.” -Dan Barker, atheist
“But also we cannot ignore that in the interest of theological doctrine, contemporary circumstances, and effective story telling, nothing wrong was seen in creating views for Jesus to express.” J. Schoenfield – The Passover Plot
“ We have become convinced that the story of Jesus is not the biography of a historical Messiah, but a myth based on perennial Pagan stories.” - Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy Page 3 – Behold The Lamb Of God. Kyle Butt & Eric Lyons
“ Behold the greatest cover up in history. Not only was Jesus Christ married, but He was a father.” “ The Da Vinci Code” - Dan Brown
Historical Events Does December 7, 1941 bring to mind a profound historical event ? How do we know this event happened ? What about July 20, 1969 ?
Historical dialogue Who said this …… “Ask not what you’re country can do for you, but ask what you can do for you’re country.”
And this ……… “ forgive your enemies,but never forget their name.” What famous President said this……. “Read my lips, no new taxes.”
Famous movie quote …. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Christ’s Birth The Gospel accounts: Matthew 1 :18 Mark No account Luke 1:26 John 1: 13
Birth account of historical figures *Abraham Lincoln- Hardin County, Kentucky February 12, 1809. * George Washington- Virginia Colony February 11, 1731 under the Julian calendar. When Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar his birth was changed to Feb. 22, 1732. * Jesus Christ – A.D. 4 ? Bethlehem, Judah.
Eyewitness accounts Luke 1: 1-4 “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered then to us.”
Evidence from out side the Bible First type of evidences comes from what is known as hostile sources. In no way were they friendly to the Christian cause.
Tacitus A.D.56- 117 *Member of the Roman upper class. *Held several positions under Emperor Nerva and Emperor Trajan. *Wrote “Annals” in A.D. 115
Tacitus wrote: “ Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of the temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea,but even in Rome.”
Suetonius * Lived nearly 30 years under the Caesars. * Had access to Imperial and Senatorial archives. * Author of “The Lives Of The Caesars.” * Because of he had access to contemporary documents and memoirs, his testimony becomes reliable historical evidence.
Suetonius wrote : “ Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbance at the instigation of Chrestus (Christos), he ( Claudius) expelled them from the city.” Note : See Acts 18:2
And also ……… “ Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.”
Pliny The Younger Pliny was sent by the Roman emperor Trajan (A.D.110-111) to govern the region of Bithynia.
Pliny wrote: “ that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light,when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds.”
Josephus Born a few years after Jesus died. Galilean military command in A.D. 66. Deserted to the Roman Army. Became a writer and wrote “Antiquities Of The Jews” in A.D. 93. Wrote a vivid account of John the Baptist and King Herod. Matt 14:6, Mark 6:21
Josephus wrote: “ ….convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the Law and delivered them up to be stoned.” “He Walked Among Us” pg. 38 Josh McDowell
And wrote : “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.” *” Wrought surprising feats.” * “He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks.” * Talks about Pilate, the crucifix, Jesus’ resurrection,and His appearance to others.
On historical events Josephus documents the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Claims 1.1 million Jews were killed.
Early Christian writers: Polycarp : A.D. 69-155. Wrote several letters including one titled “The Epistle to the Philippians.” Had conversation with John and others that had seen the Lord.
Mara Bar – Serapion – Stoic philosopher. Some time after 70 AD wrote a letter from prison to his son. “What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king ? It was just after that their kingdom was abolished.”
Others include Origen Justin Martyr Thallus Clement of Alexandria All of these men made reference to Jesus Christ and His church.
Implications of not believing 1. No hope. Acts 24:15 2. No peace. Romans 14:17 John 14:27 3. No paradise Luke 23:43 4. No salvation Acts 4:12
Implications of His resurrection Implies His Godhead Romans 1:4 Jesus is trustworthy to keep his promises. John 11:25 1 Peter 1:3-4 Christianity stands or falls on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. If Christ has not been resurrected, then all is futile. 1 Cor. 15: 12-17
Our Questions Is Jesus Christ a historical figure? Can we believe in the accounts of His life?