Jesus of Testimony: An Indispensible look at the Jesus of History and the Jesus of the Bible
by Greg West*
The Nesch Brothers’ new documentary film, Jesus of Testimony, is hands down the best and most comprehensive look at the historical Jesus I’ve ever seen. New Testament historian and scholar Richard Bauckham (author of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) sets the tone of the film in its opening moments. Bauckham states, “We have a long history of people trying to reconstruct the historical Jesus. The way you can tell that this is a fruitless quest is that they’re all different… I think the difference of the ‘Jesus of History’ and the Jesus of faith is one that has collapsed in the best recent study of the Gospels.”
That is the theme of the film in a nutshell; is the Jesus of history the same Jesus as the Jesus of the Bible? Utilizing interviews from a dream-team of today’s top biblical scholars and historians, the documentary makes the case that the historical revisions of Jesus fail, and that yes, the historical Jesus and the Jesus of the Bible are indeed one and the same.
Coming in at just over two hours, the film breaks down its arguments for Jesus and the reliability of the Gospels into six parts which are broken down here from the official website for the film:
- Part 1: Lord or Legend: The historicity of Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the important non-Christian historical sources that are available to us today.
- Part 2: Are the Gospels Reliable?: Examines the historical reliability of the Gospels as eyewitness testimony to the life of Jesus.
- Part 3: Miracles: Provides strong evidence that miracles happen today and happened in history.
- Part 4: The Testimony of Prophecy: Many of the Old Testament messianic prophecies are quoted along with their New Testament fulfillments which establish a solid confirmation of Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah.
- Part 5: The Resurrection – Fact or Fiction?: The case is presented for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
- Part 6: The Good News: Concludes that the portrayal of Jesus in the Gospels, dependent on eyewitness testimony, is more plausible than the alternative hypotheses of its modern detractors and presents the Jesus’ message of the Gospel.
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No longer limited to the usual times of around Easter and Christmas, it seems that new or continuously recycled arguments and findings meant to cast doubt on the Gospels’ testimony of Jesus pop up in the media on a near continual basis and we must be prepared to give an answer to these claims—and Jesus of Testimony will help you do just that. I’m already envisioning utilizing this film’s six parts as a small group curriculum at my church.
The list of scholars that the Nesch Brothers have assembled for this film reads like a dream team of scholars. The list includes Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, Craig Keener, Dan Wallace, the afore mentioned Richard Bauckham, and more (the full list can be found here).
I’m am often asked what are my favorite or the most important apologetic arguments for Christianity and my response is that the resurrection of Jesus and the reliability of the Gospels are the two most important cases for Christians to make because if these fail then all other apologetic arguments for Christianity are pointless. My studies in apologetics began with these topics, and while there is a plethora of good books on these topics (many of them written by the scholars presented in this film), good comprehensive visual documentaries have been few and far between. Jesus of Testimony does much to fill that gap.
I can tell you in all certainty that not only will I be watching Jesus of Testimony again and again, but that it will also become a ‘go to’ resource to help me share the Gospel and answer questions and objections to the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of history, which, as the film demonstrates so well, are one and the same.
You can purchase a dvd copy of the film at the very reasonable price of $20 (here), or you can purchase a digital copy for download for only $5.99 (here)—a price at which everyone can and should take advantage of to get this film into your apologetics arsenal! I will also be recommending the film to our Ratio Christi chapter directors to share and discuss with their students.
Enjoy the Jesus of Testimony trailer below and then click here to visit the official website for more information.
*I received a promotional copy of this film for review and am under no obligation to give it a favorable review nor do I receive any compensation for doing so.