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February 10: Did Jesus Really Live?

Vision Viewpoint Reformation Hope Church Hartford Wi Jesus and Mary

As we near Easter, we’ll be treated to a number of articles that will question the historicity of the Person of Jesus Christ. Did Jesus actually live? There are many professors, writers, and authors, who have, and of course will continue to, raise that question "Did Christ live?" More to the point, did He live and did He do the things the New Testament addresses?

The fact of His having lived is well-established, contrary to what many people might believe. It seems like every year there’s another professor with intentions of writing a book that’s going to make  a name (and of course a lot of money) for himself – relying upon the controversial issue  which denies the historicity of Christ and that He ever lived.

However,
these books often demonstrate that their authors don’t know the history  they claim to have (impartially) examined. Let’s take a look at the ancient record, and let’s look at some of the enemies of the Christian faith and what they said.

The classical writer, Cornelius Tacitus, lived in the first century, born somewhere around 52 A.D. Christ had just been put to death about 20 years earlier. Tacitus, as he grew up, came to understand the position of the Christians in the empire, though he was not in favor of the Christian faith. (In fact, he was an enemy of the Christian faith.)

He makes an important contribution in history in favor of the Christians, however, when he wrote concerning the Roman emperor Nero. As an historian and a Roman governor of a province in Asia, he wrote:

"But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements that could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration – the fire of Rome. Hence, to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called, “Christians” – who were hated for their enormities. Christos, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition repressed for a time broke out again, not only throughout Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also."

Tacitus had no love for the Christians, but he recognized that it was common to charge them with undermining the status quo or the culture. He realized that they were NOT hate-peddlers, though it was common to publicly malign them as if they were.  He wrote that Nero used this reputation against the Christians because they worshipped the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and because they believed that the Lord punished those who persecuted them. Such beliefs suggested that they had some sort of political agenda – but this is not the case within faithful adherence to Christianity’s teachings.

When the Christians spoke of Christ’s kingdom, of course the Romans, being jealous of their own kingdom, accused them of a number of enormities, all of which were false, and Tacitus recognized this. Though he was opposed to Christianity, he recognized that Nero – not the Christians – was responsible for the fire of Rome. Moreover, in Tacitus’s letter, he speaks of Christ, the founder of the Christian faith, who was put to death during the rule of Pontius Pilate. Tacitus was and is well known for his factual accuracies – he had access to the archives of the Imperial documents of the day.

The point of the matter is that Christ did indeed live, He was put to death by Pontius Pilate, and He now remains on high, exalted at the right hand of the Father, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

(Vision Viewpoint, a Christian radio program seeking to explain the accounts of the Bible, while reconciling them with with those of history, will continue its series of broadcasts throughout the Hartford, WI area and beyond, as the preservation and historical accuracy of the Word of God is examined.

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