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Did Jesus really exist? (Part 2)

Here’s more evidence for the reality of Jesus’ existence.  Although not a Christian, Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, recorded the following: “At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.

The italicized sentences in the quote above are believed by most scholars to be later insertions by Christians. However, others, such as Western Michigan’s Dr. Paul Maier, maintain that this is the original wording. What is absolutely clear is the fact that the historian Josephus, although he himself an unbeliever, records that Jesus lived, was wise, good, and popular. This is in accordance with the Bible; take this passage from Luke 6:17-18 as an example: “A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases.” After Jesus was put to death by Pilate through crucifixion, His followers continued to be faithful to Him.

One such faithful follower was James, Jesus’ half-brother. Joseph and Mary’s sons are listed by name in Matthew 13:55-57. (These are Jesus’ half-brothers since Mary was His mother but He was incarnate by the Holy Spirit.) “‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’” Josephus testifies to the existence of both Jesus and James in this passage: “Convening the judges of the Sanhedrin, he (the high priest Ananus, son of the former high priest Annas) brought before them the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, whose name was James, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.”

So Josephus, the great Jewish historian, makes two references to Jesus in his writings although he himself was not a believer. He was simply reporting the facts.

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March 20, 2018

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