Did Jesus Really Exist?
I am going to take an unorthodox approach to this question to begin with. I will start with my own personal testimony concerning why I believe he exists. Then I will provide some links to sites that delve into the historicity of Christ and extra-biblical sources proving his existence.
It was 1974, and I was thirty-one years of age and a drug dealing and drug using hippie who had no interest in Jesus or religion. From time to time I would use God as an emergency or stop-gap measure and pray to him for help and make promises I never intended to keep of being loyal to him if he would do what I asked. Apart from that very rare reference to God I never thought about him or cared about him in any way. I was too busy partying and getting high and fulfilling my lusts and carnal desires. I was filled with hatred for my father who had abandoned me early in my life, and I despised what we hippies called the establishment. The police were looking for me and people like me, but they never were able to catch me and so my record was clear, even though some of my associates were in trouble with the law.
In January of 1974 a couple of my friends who were tired of their wives like I was decided that our problems were all associated with Pennsylvania and so we decided to head for Florida with hopes of fun in the sun, chicks and lots of drugs, booze and parties. Sensible and wise people call that "the greener grass syndrome." So we happily ventured to
Ft. Lauderdale in our quest for personal fulfillment and freedom from the responsibilities
of married life and whatever else we could blame our sorrows on.
To keep this from being tedious I will shorten the narrative. What we found was police that harassed us because we were from out of state. Eventually they caught me sitting in a van smoking some weed and arrested me and I was placed in Broward County Prison to wait for trial and disposition of my case. My two friends phoned home for some cash to make the return trip and then after visiting me and promising some relief would be coming they left for Pennsylvania leaving me in prison with no outside contact.. For whatever the reason might have been, that help never came or came after I was released from prison.
After leaving prison I encountered some "Jesus Freaks" who were witnessing on the beach. The first evening I went to their camp they had a meeting at night, and I attended because I wanted to "get right with God." I challenged God to prove to me he was real and told him that if he did I would give him my life. That prayer was as sincere as anything I ever did in my life before or since. Anyway, that evening after the preacher was done, (I haven't a clue what he said), I ran to the front of their huge tent and I prayed a simple but urgent prayer from the heart. "Jesus, I am so sorry for the way I have been living! Please forgive me and make me the kind of person who loves others more than I love myself."
Before I proceed with the remainder of what happened let me make myself perfectly clear about one thing. I was not praying to Buddha, Krishna, Allah, or any other of the vast array of gods known to mankind although I knew their names and some of what each was about. My prayer was specifically to Jesus Christ; the Jesus of the Bible that I also understood about a little bit because I read the New Testament through once and prayed for salvation to when I was 16. That salvation never panned out. It lasted about two years before it fell through because I had nobody to take me under their wing and disciple me. From age 18 until the age of 31 I had disassociated from Jesus and all other gods. But now I was returning to this Jesus of the Bible. My prayer was one of urgency and utmost sincerity. Then God came to me in an amazing way that I never could have expected and cannot rightly describe.
Immediately after my prayer above, everything changed in an instant of time. It was as if everyone else was no longer there and I was in the overwhelming presence of God himself! God began at my head and moved through my entire being so that I experienced a thorough cleansing of my mind, heart and spirit that was incredible and indescribable. In that moment the Lord forgave my sins so convincingly that I knew in the innermost depth of my being that He had done it. In addition, I was delivered instantly from 17 years of smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes along with smoking drugs with no withdrawals. In that same instant I was delivered from 12 years of heavy drinking with no withdrawals. Also I was delivered from six years of drug use with no withdrawals. When I rose up from my knees I was so sure of being cleansed that I could not speak except for one word - WOW! I just kept repeating that word over and over for a long time. My foul mouth was filled with praise and thanksgiving to the God who just delivered me, and apart from some very early slips I stopped cursing and never returned to that vile habit. My extreme lust for women was gone to the point that when I spoke to women, irrespective of how they were dressed, my only concern was for their soul and their eternal destination. Five major life-controlling habits wiped out in a moment of time. That occurred over 42 years ago as of February 19, 2016 around ten in the evening.
Since that time I have done a lot of ministry in many different venues. God worked it out for me to attend and graduate from Bible college, and it was there that I met my wife of over 37 years, We have been parents for 35 of those 37 years and all our children have given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have also authored and published a book, and we have the great privilege of loving our eight grandchildren with one more grandchild to love who will be coming in September of 2016.
To deny the existence of Jesus Christ would make me the biggest fool on earth.
He healed my son and I and many others that I have seen healed instantly in answer to simple prayers of faith. He has answered so many prayers that only he knew that I prayed so that he has proven himself over and over again. He has granted our request that all our children would marry godly spouses and four of the seven are married to godly spouses and the others are yet to be married. We believe God will still honor that request for our children. The children who are married are teaching their children about this wonderful Savior and two of the eight grandchildren have also come to know Christ as their Savior.
I have seen much more including miracles that would never resonate with people who don't know the Lord such as casting out demons and seeing food multiply. I believe before my life on earth is finished I will see more. God is still in the miracle working business and Jesus Christ is very much alive and will return when the time is right to destroy evil forever.
BELOW ARE RESOURCES THAT WILL ADD TO MY TESTIMONY
CONCERNING THE REALITY OF THE EXISTENCE OF JESUS CHRIST
Some quotes and comments about Jesus Christ
Polycarp at his martyrdom for Christ - "Eighty and six years have I served Christ
who has never done me any injury; how then can I blaspheme my king and Savior?"
Voltaire, great antagonist and persecutor of Christians on his deathbed
"O Christ, O Lord Jesus, I must die abandoned of God and of men."
Ethan Allen who wrote a book against the divinity of Christ as his daughter lay
dying - "My child, cling to your mother's Savior; she was right. I'll try to follow
you to that blessed abode."
Flavius Josephus (Jewish Historian AD 37-95) - About this time lived Jesus, a
wise man, if it be proper to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works
a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He was the Christ, for
he appeared to them (the disciples) alive again on the third day."
The Talmud (Jewish book of doctrine, wisdom, etc. 4th & 6th centuries AD)
The Talmud alludes briefly to Jesus and the apostles but in a bitter and malignant
spirit. They admit the miracles of Jesus but deride them from evil spirits
like the Pharisees spoken of in the gospels.
Tacticus (Roman Military Writer AD 55-120) - "Christ was put to death as a
malefactor by Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius."
Pliny the Younger (Roman Writer 61 or 62 - 113 AD) bore testimony to the general
moral purity and steadfastness of Christians amid cruel persecution and their adoration of Christ as God.
Celsus (Greek Philosopher AD 178) - Celsus opposed Christianity yet notes the
birth of Christ while denying Mary's virgin birth, the visit of the wise men, the
slaughter of the innocent babies by Herod, and many other things about Christ
including miracles, healing and Christ's resurrection.
Lucian (Syrian Writer AD 125-190). Lucian never called Christ and imposter, but
a crucified sophist, a term he uses as often in a good sense as in a bad sense.
The term sophist means a philosopher, learned man or thinker.
Porphyry (Platonic Philosopher AD 233-304). He wrote an extensive work (15 books)
against Christianity. He says that Christ was a most pious man, and his soul, like
the souls of any other pious men is favored with immortality and he stated that
the mistaken Christians worship him.
Spinoza (Jewish Philosopher 1632-1677). "Christ was the temple of God, because
in him God has most fully revealed himself."
Napoleon Bonaparte (French Emporer 1769-1821) speaking of Christ said;
"Everything in him astonishes me. His spirit overawes me and his will confounds me.
Between him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison.
He is truly a being by himself. Here I see nothing human. The soul is sufficient for
him and he is sufficient for the soul. Alexander,Caesar,Charlemagne and myself
founded empires, but on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force.
Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love, and at this hour millions of men
would die for him. What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal
reign of Christ."
Jean Jacques Rousseas (French-Swiss Moralist 1712-1778) - "If Socrates died like
a sage, Jesus died like a God."
Reverend Rowland Hill (Minister 1744-1833) - "Unless you live in Christ you are dead
A Closing Thought
Can any of us prove the existence of historical figures other than those living right now? How far back can we trace actual contact with the ancient philosophers such as Plato
and Cicero? I find it rather simple-minded that people believe in vampires and aliens and magicians but refuse to believe that God and Christ are at least as real as they are.
How reliable are the historical sources. Isn't it strange, if not hypocritical, to question the validity of scripture, but people so readily accept the historians of the secular world when it comes to their claims concerning the existence of Nebuchadnezzar, Nero, Socrates, Saint Francis of Assisi, Muhammad, and a host of other figures of evil or good repute throughout the history of the world. Where does validation begin and end? Who is the final authority for mankind? How can that be proven?
Do other writings prove the existence of these other historical figures to the point of there being no question concerning them? The Bible has been the recipient of more attacks than any book on earth over the ages and it still stands firm and claims against it have been silenced over and over again. The Archaeological and historical proofs concerning people, places and times have reinforced the validity of the Bible more than any other book in known existence. New discoveries are being made all the time that further attest to the validity of the Bible, and the greatest proof, in my own personal observation, is millions of lives transformed through the power of the gospel in every nation in the world and the amazing willingness of those who have been transformed to die for Christ rather than deny him. Our own calendar proclaims his existence (BC and AD). So then, if the Bible is truly what it claims to be; "the Word of God," then it's obvious claim to the existence, purpose and fulfillment of that purpose in the life of Jesus Christ has been more than sufficiently validated, yet it will be repudiated by those who live in denial of its truth until they die and have to face its reality.
Below is a little poem that aptly expresses the
truth that some opponents of scripture despise.