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February 11: What About Christ’s Enemies?

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It’s been popular over the years to question the accuracy of the New Testament, and in particular, to deny the historicity of Jesus Christ. Did Christ actually live as a man?

Of course, the New Testament should end the debate; however, many don’t accept the New Testament as an historical witness. As you might imagine, if indeed Christ was historical, there is evidence that demonstrates this fact. We can imagine that if He was the person the gospels speak of, there would be evidence even outside the Bible concerning His existence.

What of Christ’s enemies, and of those who were enemies of the Christian faith in the era after Christ’s life and ministry? A writer of the second century A.D. by the name of LUCIAN OSAMASATA despised the Christian faith. He spoke scornfully of Christ and of Christians – connecting them with the synagogues of Palestine. He referred to Christ in these words (note the fact that before we go to his statement that he was an enemy of the Christian faith):

"[Christ was] the man who was crucified in Palestine because He introduced this new cult into the world. Furthermore, their first Lawgiver persuaded them: they were all brothers, one of another, after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods, and by worshipping that crucified sophist Himself and living under His laws."

LUCIAN also mentions Christians a number of times in his book, Alexander the False Prophet, in sections 25 and 29, but at no time did LUCIAN – a satirist, a writer, an intellectual – deny that Christ actually lived. He couldn’t. There was too much evidence for the fact that Christ had lived. The details given to us in the Gospels are validated by such individuals.

Let’s look at LUCIAN’S statements. First of all, Christ lived. He was the man who was crucified in Palestine because He introduced a new cult into the world (at that time, the word “cult” simply meant a new religion or another set of religious beliefs; the word "cult" refers to a new religion; but it means something other than that used in our language today). He was crucified because of His claims. This is exactly what the New Testament tells us.

Lucian continues:

He repeatedly spoke of Himself, ‘I and my Father are one. Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad.’ And of course those in the crowd listening to Him said, ‘Are you greater than our father, Abraham?’ ‘Before Abraham was, I am,’” was Christ’s rejoinder.

Ultimately, Christ would be betrayed and handed over to the authorities because He raised Lazarus from the dead and many other such good works. That act drew so much attention concerning His claims about Himself, and the following of crowds of people that was generated as a result was so significant, (Christ subsequently rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, being hailed as the great son of David, the King of the Jews and the Lord of Lords), that the authorities simply could not allow His influence to continue any further.

They had Him crucified in Palestine, as LUCIAN SAMOSATA says, because He introduced this new cult into the world, this new religion, this new set of beliefs concerning Himself. He was the first lawgiver of the Christians. As we recall, in the Gospels, Christ was repeatedly called “Rabbi,” which refers to a lawgiver, a master of the law. Of course, He was also "Lord", the divine Son of God (being God in the flesh).

Lucian knew the facts. He didn’t like them, but in that era, no one would deny that Christ actually lived; more to the point, the claims concerning Him as recorded in the New Testament were undeniable, though non-believers then and now continue to challenge the Gospel histories. Nonetheless, those claims, time and again, have been verified – both historically and biblically 

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