What does the Bible say about…
Because of time restraints it has become increasingly difficult to do a Q&A time during our Sunday services at Cross Culture Church. As a result, from time to time we will try to respond to a submitted Q&A card through church-wide email and posting on my blog.
Today’s question reads: “There are claims that there was a man named Jesus who died with a couple of men 300 years earlier than the Jesus we talk about. What’s the deal with this?”
First, let me say that the claim mentioned in the question is, in my opinion, what is referred to as a ‘Red Herring,’ which is a term used to denote something intended to mislead or distract someone from the main point. Skeptics and critics of Christianity employ this type of method in an attempt to “muddy up the waters” or distract people from the overwhelming textual and historical evidence supporting the historicity and reliability of the New Testament documents, and the validity of the claims concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Please understand, I’m not saying that the person who asked this question is doing that. I’m saying that those who would seek to discredit the Bible try to do all that they can to imply that the Bible cannot be trusted.
Obviously the Bible, and the New Testament in particular, has nothing to say about this supposed claim of another Jesus because it’s focus is on Jesus of Nazareth, the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament promises. But the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, and the accuracy of the Bible as a historical document is so well evidenced that no honest inquirer can doubt the fact that a man named Jesus lived in Palestine in the first century A.D., and he was put to death by the Roman government, and that His followers claimed that He rose from the dead three days later.
A number of secular sources confirm the person of Jesus of Nazareth and the resulting birth of Christianity, among them are the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, a Roman official named Pliny, the Samaritan historian Thallus, the Jewish historian Josephus, the Jewish document known as the Talmud, and many other sources, all confirming the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.
Someone may choose to not believe that He was God in the flesh. Someone may choose to not believe that He rose from the dead, even though there is substantial evidence of that as well, but to be blunt, only a fool would deny the existence of the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, to go back to the claim of “another Jesus,” the fact is that “Jesus” was a pretty common name in ancient Palestine. Actually, “Jesus” is the Greek translation of the Jewish or Aramaic name, “Yeshua,” or in English, “Joshua,” but the point is many men had that name. There is some evidence of other men named Jesus who were involved in revolts against the ruling government of the time, but again, it must be remembered that political uprisings were quite common then, so it’s not necessarily surprising that there might be another Jesus put to death, although I could find no evidence of one crucified between two thieves.
All of that being said the fact remains, and notice I said, “fact,” that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person who lived roughly 2,000 years ago. He became well know for His teachings and His miracles. He claimed to be God in the flesh, and announced in advance that He would be put to death, but would come back to life three days later. By the way, according to the Apostle Paul Jesus was seen by more than 500 eyewitnesses after His resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:6) And, the resulting birth of Christianity changed the world forever.
So while there may have been other men named Jesus in history, there has only ever been one man who lived a sinless life, laid down that life to pay for our sins, took back up that life and walked out of the tomb, and gives new life to all who ask. His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.