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February 14: One Question Among Many… Historicity of Person and Work of Jesus Christ

 Jesus: Did you not know I would be about my Father's Business? Vision Viewpoint Hartford Wi

Vision Viewpoint, a Christian radio program based in the Hartford WI area, takes a final look at how the accounts of secular historians in history serve to authenticate Christ as an historical person with a supernaturally-ordained ministry.

Soon enough, we’ll be reading magazine and newspaper articles concerning questions about the historicity of Jesus Christ, as articles of this nature tend to be published widely during the Easter season. The allegations will cover a range of topics, including the historicity of the gospels, how we received the Bible, whether the miracles of Christ really occurred as stated in Scripture, or if they were just myth.

But one question that will certainly be among these literary pieces, to be served up to the public all throughout Western Europe, America, and Canada, will call into question the historicity of the person and work of Jesus Christ. These professors and writers and authors might save themselves a little time if they would actually do the research.

Let’s consult those who were not Christians from that same first century just following the era of Christ’s ministry, as Vision Viewpoint has been doing on its programs thus far. We’ve referred to Tacitus and Lucian of Samosata on previous programs (reference them at www.visionviewpoint.com). These men were two determined enemies of the 1st and 2nd century A.D. While they were enemies of the Christian faith, they admitted that Christ did actually live.

In referencing another historian, we have the writer Josephus, born just a few years after Christ died, also lived in the first century and also was not a Christian. But like many other Jewish people of Palestine in his day, he knew of Christ by later learning of His ministry through the accounts of others and eye witnesses still alive in Palestine. His great work The Antiquities of the Jews comes down to us from that first century, and it reflects how deeply impressed he was by what he had heard of Christ’s ministry in Palestine through eye witness accounts of his own Jewish people. His words appear to come from the pen of one who believed in Christ, but actually, there is no record that Josephus was such a believer. There is however, his marvel of what was a powerful ministry – the ministry of Christ.

Josephus wrote: Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man if it is lawful to call him a mere man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drove over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles; he was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again at the third day, as the divine prophets had told, these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him, and the tribe of Christians so named for him, are not extinct at this day.

These words give Josephus the appearance of being one of the followers of Christ mentioned in his writing, but there is no record that he was. However, he does testify to that which is reported of Christ, and he gives us this report.

Christ was a “wise man, if it’s lawful to but call him a mere man.” Josephus was raising the question: was he in fact the Christ? Josephus says he was the Christ, and was put to death under Pontius Pilate by the principle men among them, but Josephus still had his doubts. He did many wonderful works (the word “wonderful” here drawing reference to “miraculous” – the term used in the Greek). Josephus claimed that Christ was raised from the dead, and he also drew reference to claims about many other wonderful things concerning Christ that had been written, known, archived, and documented by others. And that Christianity – the tribe of Christians, as he referred to them – had grown as a sect throughout the world of the first century.

The words of a believer? No. The words of a man who questioned the accounts of Christ? Yes. The words of a man who knew what the facts were that were claimed about Christ, right there in the first century? Yes, of course. Is he inconsistent? Yes, just as many are in the churches, even today. Men will always wonder about Christ and yet know the facts concerning Him.

Josephus, a first century Jewish writer, wrote concerning the existence of Christ, His powerful ministry, and His death and resurrection, and that he wrote on these matters with great doubt actually stands as testimony to the fact that we can trust in the historicity of Christ’s existence. While Josephus’ pen will never authoritatively confirm Christ’s divine authority, he nonetheless aids in authenticating the historical existence of Christ and His ministry on earth.

Christian radio program Vision Viewpoint in Hartford, WI, continues to show how the writings of secular historians actually authenticate the historicity of Jesus Christ. In their accounts, they mention Christ as an undeniable figure in history, and are only left to question His divine authority. Vision Viewpoint will continue its series by looking at the approach these non-Christian historians take in interpreting the evidence of Christ’s ministry.


  1. February 14th, 2011 | 11:09 pm

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  2. smergy
    February 14th, 2011 | 11:10 pm

    Yes, I’ve always noticed these stories come each and every year attacking Christianity. Denying Christ during Christmas and of course now Christ’s existence and work on the cross. I guess that’s why they’re called non-believers. You’re article bringing up non-believers as witnesses writing about our Lord’s time in history was a great to read. It’s good information which I may get to use to counter the coming stories this year. Thanks for the information.

    P.S. Whenever I get an opportunity to, I really enjoy listening to your radio show on WTKM. Thank you!

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