Does Historical Evidence Prove that Jesus Lived?

by Sheri Bell

Evidence does, indeed, show that Jesus lived. The question is, will you believe it?

At this point we’re not even addressing the question of whether Jesus was God in human form. There’s no point in doing so, if we don’t first show, through historical record, that Jesus did, in fact, live, and have a ministry in and around Jerusalem before He was crucified.

Some critics say that Jesus was a fictional character, nothing more than a myth developed by zealots who wished to start a new religion. Dr. Robert Price, for example, an atheist and mythicist, appears to find it far easier to believe in aliens than he does Jesus.

Critics like Price view historical documents as having been clearly manipulated for one purpose: to gain the church legitimacy and authority over others. Historical writings, they say, can’t be trusted. Christianity, they assert, is nothing more than a knock-off religion that stole from other religions and mythical figures such as Hercules. Price goes so far as to equate Jesus to the fictional comic book character, Superman.

Argues Price: “Which is more likely: that a man walked on water, glowed like the sun and rose from the dead, or that someone has rewritten a bunch of well-known miracle stories?” Noted historian Bart Ehrman, who also rejects Jesus as God, still counters that Price and other scholars skeptical of Jesus the historical person are simply choosing to disregard clear evidence.

Both of these men are entrenched in their position, though they do admit that continued research on their part affects their stance. Phrases common with both of them — “To my way of thinking…” and “In my mind…” — stood out to me as, perhaps, the crux of the issue. Many people simply refuse to believe in Jesus because they can’t wrap their brain around a figure who can’t be proven, 100 percent, to be who He said He is. “I haven’t met Jesus,” they say, “So I simply can’t know for sure that he lived, much less resurrected.”

But can we?…

 

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Does Historical Evidence Prove that Jesus Lived?