THE LIFE OF CHRIST PART 1
EVIDENCE FOR THE WORD OF GOD AND JESUS
This morning, I am going to start a new series of lessons on the life of Christ. However, the remainder of this series will be taught on Sunday nights, so I hope you will be here because there is much for us to learn from this series. I have decided to start this series by looking at the some of the evidence that shows the authenticity of God’s Word and to show that Jesus did indeed exist.
For almost 2000 years there have been countless people who have tried their best to destroy Christianity and Jesus himself, and we see this same thing happening today. You have people who claim that Jesus never existed and that He is just a myth. Then you have those that try and take another approach and say, “yes, He lived but He was just a man born out of wedlock who started a new a radical movement.” Then you have those who attack the NT writings by saying they were written much later than the 1st century and that they are nothing more than mythological stories.
One thing all these attacks have in common is to destroy the credibility or historicity of Jesus, and that is all it would take to prove Christianity wrong. Even the Bible teaches that if Jesus did not live, die or was raised from the dead then Christianity would be a lie. Paul is the one that tells us this in,
1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if
Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you
say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ
is not risen. 14 And if
Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also
empty. 15 Yes, and we are
found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised
up Christ, whom He did not raise up -- if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not
rise, then Christ is not risen. 17
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your
sins! 18 Then also those who
have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all
men the most pitiable.
In this regards, Christianity is unique to other religions and philosophies because they are built upon man’s teachings while Christianity rest solely on Jesus’ existence and His works. This is why those who are opposed to Christianity diligently try to destroy the credibility of Jesus.
But now the question becomes, How do we prove that Jesus existed? How do we prove the reliability of the NT scriptures?
These are the kinds of questions I will be answering this morning and this evening as we explore the evidence that proves the truth about Christianity. We are going to be looking at external evidence, internal evidence, and look at several logical points that will prove Christianity to be true. We must understand that we don’t have to blindly believe in Christianity because we have overwhelming evidence that it is true, and we need to realize God’s Word and its history go hand and hand. We should never be afraid of trying to prove our faith and the existence of God through logic or history because it will make us much stronger in our faith.
Please note what one protestant scholar named Edward J. Young has to say about this.
“When, however, we
come to examine the question what we are to believe we discover that the
doctrines which scripture commands are rooted and grounded upon that which was
done in history. The Christian faith, as it is revealed in the Bible, is not a
mass of abstractions divorced from history. It is not eternal truths and ideals,
but rather the account of something that God did for us upon this earth in
history. Hence it becomes very important to us to know whether what the Bible
has to say about these historical matter is correct or not.
According to the
Bible our salvation depends upon the death of Jesus Christ at
All this man is saying is that you cannot separate history from your faith and that Christianity can be proven from history. Of course, our most reliable history about Jesus comes from the Bible, but first I want to consider the external evidence. Let’s begin with some writings from some early Gentiles.
1. Thallus writing around 52 A.D. argued that the abnormal darkness alleged to have accompanied the death of Christ was a purely natural phenomenon and coincidence (a fragment preserved by Julius Africanus). See Mark 15:33
Please notice this man did not deny that Christ existed or that He was crucified, he was simply trying to explain away the darkness that happened that day. In doing this, he shows that it must have been common knowledge that Jesus existed and that this darkness occurred that day just as Mark 15:33 says,
Mark 15:33 Now
when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the
This in part shows that the Bible is historically accurate in showing that Jesus was crucified and that the darkness occurred that day.
2. Cornelius Tacitus was the governor of Asia writing around 112 A.D. He was considered one the greatest historians of Rome. He wrote about the reign of Nero (54-56 A.D.) and how he used the Christians as scapegoats for the great fire of 64 A.D. It had been rumored that Nero started the fire in order to gain glory by rebuilding the city. Cornelius says, “ Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…”
This bit of history establishes a couple of things for us.
First, it shows that Christianity was alive and well during the 1 century just as the Bible says.
Second, it shows that Jesus was the source of this Christianity.
Third, it gives a time frame of when Jesus was put to death by Pontius Pilate because as he stated, he was put to death in the reign of Tiberius, and his reign was from 14 A.D. to 37 A.D.
Fourth, he established that Jesus was real and that he was crucified.
3. Pliny the younger writing around 112 A.D. wrote a letter to the Emperor Tragan telling him information he extracted from Christians by torture. “They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light when they sang an anthem to Christ as God, and bound themselves by a solemn oath not to commit any wicked deeds.”
Again this shows us how some Christians came together and how they regarded Jesus as God.
writing around 120 A.D. wrote about the life of Claudius and how he expelled
all the Jews from
It is believed that since so many Jews had become Christians that Claudius thought all Jews were Christians. This bit history goes hand in hand with what Luke records:
Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from
5. Celsus, a pagan philosopher of the second century A.D., produced the oldest extant literary attack against Christianity. His True Discourse (c. A.D. 178) was a bitter assault upon Christ. Celsus argued that Jesus was born in low circumstances, being the illegitimate son of a soldier named Panthera. As he grew, He announced Himself to be God, deceiving many. Celsus charged that Christ’s own people killed Him, and that His resurrection was a deception. But Celsus never questioned the historicity of Jesus. (Wayne Jackson)
of Samosata (c. A.D. 115-200) was called “the Voltaire of Grecian literature.”
He wrote against Christianity more with patronizing contempt than volatile
hostility. He said Christians worshipped the well-known “sophist” Who was
So far, all the historical evidence we have looked at came from non-believing Gentiles. Now I want to give you a few Jewish sources.
1. The Talmud is a collection of Jewish oral traditions that were passed down from teacher to student. To the Jew, the Talmud is given almost the same rank as the Torah - the first 5 books of the Bible. It is comprised of two major parts. The first part comes from the Mishna which a collection of oral tradition of the Law of Moses and various other topics from 200 B.C. to 135 A.D. The second part is called the Gemara (ge-mare-uh) which is a commentary on the Mishna. From the two sources the Talmud was formed from about 250 A.D. 500 A.D. These writings contain many references to Christ. All of these references are hostile to the cause of Christ, but they help establish the existence of Jesus. According to these writings Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel who practiced magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray, was born out of adultery and said he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it which is completely opposite of what Jesus said in Mt. 5:17. He said he came to fulfill the law not add to it. Now these are just some of the things they said about Him, but again, they show that Jesus did exist during the first century and that He performed great signs which they explain away as using magic.
2. Flavius Josephus (Sometime after 70 A.D.) He was a Jewish historian and not only did he write about Jesus, he wrote about many other people we learn about in the Word of God such as Pilate (Mat. 27:2), Quirinius (kwa-rean-us) of Syria (Luke 2:2), the Caesars (Mat. 22:17), the Herods, (Mat. 2;1) the Pharisees (Mat. 3:7), the Sadducees,(Mat. 16:1) Annas, (Luke 3:2) Caiaphas, (Luke 3:2) Felix, (Acts 23:24) Festus, (Acts 24:27) Jesus brother James, (Gal. 1:19) and of John the Baptist death (Mat. 14:10). Notice what he says about Jesus.
”And there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure. He won over many Jews and also many Greeks. This man was the Messiah. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross at the instigation of our own leaders, those who had loved him from the first did not cease. For he appeared to them on the third day alive again, as the holy prophets had predicted and said many other wonderful things about him. And even now the race of Christians, so named after him, has no yet died out.” (Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 1)
Note: Some have tried to say that these quotes were inserted by the church however, every single copy of Josephus writings that we have today contains these two quotes which gives strong evidence that they were not inserted by the church. Some have also argued that since Josephus was a Jew it wouldn’t make sense for him to say such a thing about Jesus. I can understand this logic. However, a good Historian will do their best to set aside their own personal thoughts and will simply record that which was going on during that time in history. So, I see no reason to throw this evidence out the window. Besides, there is another place in Josephus’ writings that is not disputed by the scholars and again shows that Jesus was a real person.
“Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he
assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of
Jesus, who was called Christ….” (Antiquities, Book 20, Chapter 9, and
Some more external evidence that shows that Jesus was real and shows the N.T. was written in the 1st century comes from the early writings of those called the apostolic fathers. They are called this because it is believed that these men sat at the feet of the apostles or at the feet of those who sat at the feet of the apostles. These writings date from 90 A.D. to 160 A.D. In these writings, just about every verse in the N.T. is quoted or paraphrased showing that the N.T. books that we have were in circulation during the 1st century. The fact that these men were willing to die for the truth contained within our N.T. shows that they believed them to be true historical documents and this offers us more external evidence of Jesus’ existence and the reliability of the N.T. Scriptures.
Let me give you one example from one of these early writers.
Polycarp (c. A.D. 69-155): lived in the city of
Some more external evidence comes from the Catacombs under
The catacomb vaults are filled with artwork, which testifies to their deep
faith in Christ amidst the
Again a simple question needs to be
answered here. Would millions of Christians be willing to die for the cause
of Christ after the first century if Jesus was just a myth? I think we all know the answer is “of course
not” that wouldn’t make any sense. One thing I have always found interesting is
the statement made by Gamaliel (guh-may-lih-el) in Acts 5 when they were
dealing with this new doctrine of Christ that was being taught by the apostles.
Acts 5:34 Then one in the council
stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, (guh-may-lih-el) a teacher
of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the
apostles outside for a little while. 35
And he said to them: "Men of
Gamaliel, (guh-may-lih-el) gave some great advice
because if the story of Jesus was fake, it most likely would only last for a small
while, but if was from God, it would continue to grow and that is exactly what
we see with Christianity. From its birth almost 2000 years ago until today,
Christianity is still going strong and many have laid down their life for the
cause of Christ over these years.
One last external
evidence I want to briefly
look at is how archeology shows the Bible to be historically accurate. The purpose of Archeology in regards to the
Bible is to excavate, decipher and to critically evaluate the ancient records
of the past that touch directly or indirectly upon the Bible and its message.
Archeology had its start in 1798
when Napoleon invaded
I hope you will join us tonight as
we continue our series on the life of Christ and continue to examine more evidence
for the authenticity of God’s Word and for the existence of Jesus.
THE LIFE OF CHRIST PART 2
EVIDENCE FOR THE WORD OF GOD AND JESUS
This morning we began looking at
the external evidence for God’s Word and the existence of Jesus. Tonight, we
are going to begin looking at the Word of God itself and the internal evidence
it provides to its reliability.
None of the original writings of the New Testament exist that we know of, nor do the originals of many classic histories that are considered accurate by scholars. Instead, we have manuscripts of these early writings. Manuscripts are copies letter for letter of the original. The closer the manuscript is to the original in time, the more accurate it is considered to be. Notice the following chart as we compare classical histories to the New Testament.
Written approximately between 45 – 96 A.D.
It has around 5,000 manuscripts in whole or in part. This does not include the fragments or numerous quotes of these documents from early Christian writers. The oldest manuscripts are dated at 350 A.D. with only about a 250 year gap from the original.
Note: If the New Testament was a secular writing as on the left, scholars would deem it as one the most reliable and accurate documents in existence. But, since it involves miracles and the existence of God, they question its validity even though it has less of a gap in years from the original and has thousands more copies than these classical histories on the left, which they consider accurate.
The evidence is overwhelming that the New Testament is indeed a reliable source of history as recorded by first century eyewitnesses. We have no reason to doubt their testimony that Jesus is the Son of God and all the miracles they recorded did in fact take place.
In the book of Luke, Luke makes is very clear that his account is very accurate and that it can stand the test of scrutiny.
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things
which have been fulfilled among us, 2
just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the
word delivered them to us, 3
it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from
the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent
Theophilus, 4 that you may
know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
Everything that Luke was writing to
this man who was most likely a high ranking official, he would be able to
confirm or deny what was written to him. Many of the writers of the N.T. were eyewitnesses to what happened and we have that
history recorded for us. This is the same way that we learn about anyone in
history like our first president George Washington. If we are going to be fair
and believe that George Washington existed based on eyewitness accounts, then we
should also believe the events that took place within the NT as well.
Another strong evidence of Jesus
and the Bible comes from the over 300 prophecies in the O.T. about Jesus. These
prophecies tell us about the birth, life, and death of Jesus, and He fulfilled every
one of these prophecies.
P.W. Sonter and R.C. Newman selected 8 specific
prophecies and then calculated the probability of one man fulfilling only those
8. Their conclusion was that one man being able to accomplish this would be the
number 10 to 17th power. Now I don’t know which 8 prophecies they
chose, and I don’t know how they came to their conclusion, but one thing I do
know is that it doesn’t require me to be a math wizard to figure out that no
man could ever come close to fulfilling all 300+ prophecies even if they tried
because some of the prophecies were in the control of other people.
example, He had no control of where He would be born. He had no control over
being betrayed with 30 silver coins or that those 30 silver coins would be used
to buy a potters field just as the O.T. says it would. He would have no way to
make the soldiers cast lots for his clothing or to pierce his side just as the
O.T. said would happen. Of course, these are just a few examples but they show
that the only way Jesus could accomplish these prophecies was if He truly was
the Son of God.
We don’t have time to look at every prophecy from
the O.T., but I want to look at a few that establishes a timeline of when this
Messiah would have to come.
Our first timeline comes from Daniel chapter 2.
King Nebucanzer has this dream about this great statue, which represents four
different kingdoms as you can see on the screen. But our key verse comes from,
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall
In this verse, he is
letting us know that during that 4th kingdom, which is the
Now we can narrow this time even more by the prophecy of,
Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his
The word “
John 18: 31 Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him
and judge Him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him,
"It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," 32 that the saying of Jesus might be
fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.
According to Josephus “War of the Jews’ Book 2 chapter 18 section 1, Rome replaced Archelaus with Coponius in 6 A.D. and he was their first governor or procurator who was given complete power over the Jews and had the power to execute people. So, this teaches us that Jesus had to come into this world before 6 A.D. and that is exactly what He did because He was born some time around 5 or 6 B.C.
Now think about the significance of this. If the Jews had the power to kill at the time of Jesus’ ministry, He would have been put to death by stones. But other O.T. prophecies talk about how Jesus’ hands and feet would be pierced and how he would be raised up, which indicate that his death would be by crucifixion. So, their power had to be taken away to make it possible for Jesus to face the cross. This all fits perfectly with the Bible and from all the external sources we have examined today, which puts Jesus in the right place at the right time.
The N.T. is also in
perfect harmony with Daniel and Isaiah because both John the Baptist and Jesus
kept proclaiming that the kingdom was coming. Then after His death on the day
of Pentecost, Peter makes it clear in Acts 2 that the latter days spoken of by
Joel, which would also coincide with the latter days of Isaiah was being
fulfilled at that time. This is why starting from Acts 2,
the kingdom is no longer proclaimed as coming but is always spoken of as
present reality. Also we can note that the church/kingdom had its beginning in
The first thing I want to deal with is the empty tomb. There are only two possibilities as I see it. Either He was raised from dead or someone stole Jesus’ body. First, let’s see how probable it would be for someone to take Jesus’ body.
Matthew 27:62 On the
next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and
Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63
saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver
said, 'After three days I will rise.' 64
"Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest
His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people,
'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the
first." 65 Pilate said
to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you
know how." 66 So they
went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
This teaches us that it
would have been next to impossible for anyone to steal the body of Jesus
because it was being guarded by Roman soldiers anywhere from 4 to 16 according
to the meaning of the word guard. The Roman soldier took their job very seriously
because if they failed, many times they were executed like the soldiers who let
Peter escape in Acts 12:18.
Besides, what would be
the motivation behind taking Jesus’s body? We know that Jesus’ enemies wouldn’t
take the body because they wanted to prove that Jesus was just a man. It wouldn’t
have been a grave robber that took his
body because they only stole things of value and there would be no value in a dead body. Jesus’
disciples didn’t steal his body because they thought He was still in the grave
on the third day because they did not understand that he was even to be raised
from the dead according to,
John 20:9 For as
yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
We can also see this
Mark 16:1 Now
when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and
Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on
the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had
risen. 3 And they said among
themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for
You see, they were expecting Jesus’ body to be there, so they didn’t steal Jesus’ body and besides all this we still have to remember that they would have had to overpower the Roman guard. This rules out all outsiders. But what about Jesus himself? Some claim that He just passed out on the cross and then woke up in the tomb and made His get away.
We need to remember that Jesus was scourged Jn 19:1 and that many have died from scourging alone. So, Jesus was already in a very weakened state. Second, it is unlikely that these professional killers would misjudge when someone was dead.
John 19:33 But
when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break
His legs. 34 But one of the
soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came
out. 35 And he who has seen
has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the
truth, so that you may believe. 36
For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one
of His bones shall be broken." 37
And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they
The fact that blood and
water flowed out indicates that His heart had stopped pumping and that His
blood had settled into his chest. Now we know He was dead, but for arguments
sake lets say He wasn’t. With this in mind, let’s examine what would be
involved for Him to escape the tomb on His own.
First, we must understand that Jesus was buried according to the custom of the Jews as we see in,
John 19:39 And
Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture
of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips
of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
They would wrap your arms to your body to secure them. Then they would wrap the body from the toes to the shoulders while pouring in the 100 pounds of spices. Now the myrrh produced an oily substance at first, but then it would dry and become sticky making the wrap stick together. Then as a final touch, they would cover the head with a cloth napkin.
If you will remember, Lazarus was buried like this, but notice what it says about him in,
John 11:43 Now
when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come
forth!" 44 And he who
had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was
wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him
We learn from this that Jesus would have to have help to get out of His clothes and even if someone helped Him, this wrap would have been in great disarray, yet John records for us in John 20:6 that the grave clothes were lying there which indicates they had not been disturbed.
But, let's play along once again and say that Jesus in His weakened state somehow managed to get out of His grave clothes then put them back in a position to make it look like they had not been disturbed. Now Jesus would have to somehow roll back the rock that covered the tomb from the inside that usually took 2 strong men to move from the outside. This of course would be impossible considering that He would have nothing to grab a hold of to push or pull the rock. But, let’s say by some string of luck He got the stone out of the way, then He would still have to make his way past the Roman Guard.
Do you see how impossible this would be? So to me, there is only one logical explanation for the tomb being empty and that is that Jesus was raised from the dead just as the Bible says.
Our next proof that Jesus was raised from the dead has to do with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to His apostles to remind them of what He taught them and to teach them things they did know yet in John 14:26, 16:12-13. However, before the Holy Spirit would be sent, something had to happen first as we read in:
John 16:7 "Nevertheless
I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not
go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to
Jesus had to go back to the Father before the Holy Spirit would come. We know from the Bible that Jesus died before He went back to the Father, so He would have to be raised from the dead for this to happen. So, if we can logically show that the Holy Spirit did indeed come on the day of Pentecost, then we can prove that Jesus was raised from the dead and is with the Father in heaven just as the Bible says.
In order to do this we must first observe the apostles’ behavior
before the day of Pentecost. First, these guys did not understand that the
kingdom Jesus was talking about was a spiritual one, they thought it was a
physical one according Acts 1:6. We
also find them arguing about who would be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom in Luke
22:24ff. This shows they were not
very unified before Pentecost. Many times these men had no clue what Jesus was
talking about and He had to explain things to them over and over. Finally, we
learn from John 20:19 that His disciples were in a state of fear after Jesus
was crucified, and they hid behind a locked door.
Starting in Acts 2, what happens to the apostles?
Acts 2:1 When
the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one
place. 2 And suddenly there
came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole
house where they were sitting. 3
Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat
upon each of them. 4 And they
were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as
the Spirit gave them utterance.
They were given the Holy
Spirit just a Jesus said He would which shows that Jesus was now with the
Father and that He was raised from the dead. We can show this event to be true
by looking at the change that happened to these men after they received the
Instead of hiding behind a locked door in fear, they are now boldly proclaiming Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. From Pentecost onward, you see these men change from a dysfunctional group into men of unity in teaching and purpose. No longer were they afraid and no longer were they without understanding.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and
John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.
And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:18 And
they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name
of Jesus. 19 But Peter and
John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God
to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
20 "For we cannot but speak the things which we have
seen and heard."
Because of their boldness and unity, they converted thousands of people with their message. The question becomes, how could these men have had a sudden change and accomplish what they did is such a short time? Could it have been through some natural process of learning? No there wasn’t enough time for that to happen. The only logical conclusion that can be made is that they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit made this change in these apostles just a Jesus had promised thus proving logically that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Our next proof that Jesus was raised from the dead comes
from Saul’s conversion. The Bible teaches us that Jesus was dead before Saul
was ever converted to Christianity. So if we can show that Jesus appeared to
Saul on the road to
Paul was a fanatic and he persecuted the church beyond measure. He had advanced in the Jewish religion beyond those of his own age. Gal 1:13-14
He consented to Stephen’s death Acts 7:58 –8:1
He drug both men and women to prison Acts 8:1-3
He even went outside of
He said he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee Philp. 3:5
He recounts his rage against Christianity to King Agrippa
"Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of
Paul was at the top of his game. He was a local hero among his people; he had power wealth and fame. The question becomes, who could have possible converted Saul to Christianity? Could it have been some of his fellow men? No they admired him and despised Christianity. Could it of been another Christian? No, he would not listen to them because he wanted them all dead or locked up. Maybe there was an ulterior motive for Paul to convert to Christianity? If so, what could it have been? It certainly wasn’t wealth because we know that Paul had to work with his own hands and went hungry at times Acts 20: 33-34, 1Cor. 4:11-12. It certainly wasn’t for a better reputation or more power because he had all of that being a Pharisee. There is only one logical answer. Only Jesus could have changed a man like this just as the Bible records for us Acts 9, 22, 26. Paul also affirms this in,
Galatians 1:11 But I
make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not
according to man. 12 For I
neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through
the revelation of Jesus Christ.
This offers more proof that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead.
For my final point this evening, I want share some things that Jesus claimed about Himself that proved to be true.
Jn 10:17-18 He claimed no one could take His life, and He had the power to lay it down.
Mat. 20:18-19 He knew that He would be scourged and died by crucifixion.
Now these are just a few claims that Jesus made, but we can see that He was right, and He survived many attempts on His life. For example:
Mt. 2:13-21 Herod tried to kill him as a baby.
Lk. 4:16-30 His own people tried to push Him off a
Jn. 7:32, 45-46 Officers were sent to arrest Him, but after they heard Him they did not.
Jn . 8:59 10:31, 39 Several tried to stone Him.
Jn. 5:18, 7:1 He was threatened to be killed throughout His ministry.
We also see that He was right about how He would die. As the gospel accounts bear witness, He was scourged and He was crucified. Mat. 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19 So, Jesus was in complete control of how and when He would die.
I hope these two lessons today have shown you that no matter how many new theories or how hard new experts try to discount Jesus as a myth or a mere man or try to make the Word of God out to be some fable, nothing can change the facts I have given you which shows the Bible to be a reliable accurate historical document, which I have proven from both internal and external evidence. The Bible has stood the test of time and when you consider that it was written by some 40 authors over a 1600 year period from different backgrounds and social customs yet it does not contradict itself nor has it ever been proven wrong historically or scientifically, you can rest assured and have confidence that the words in your Bible is the Word of God and that the promises it make are true. So, I rest my case. The Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the Son of God, and we have no reason to doubt it.