The Case for the Historicity and Deity of Jesus (Free Bible Insert)

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187In a world filled with people skeptical about the claims of the Bible related to Jesus, it’s sometimes helpful to review the cumulative case for the historicity and deity of Christ. Like all collective cases, the power of the argument rests on the robust assembly of historical evidences. I’ve assembled some of these in this blog post and created a Bible “insert” (a half-sheet printable summary that fits in your Bible) to help you remember the case:

Ancient Non-Christian Historians Agreed that Jesus Lived
Ancient “pagan” historians wrote about Jesus and his followers and the statements of these historians and writers corroborate the claims of the Bible related to Jesus:

(1) The Historical Record of Thallus (52AD)
(2) The Historical Record of Pliny the Younger (61-113AD)
(3) The Historical Record of Suetonius (69-140AD)
(4) The Historical Record of Tacitus (56-120AD)
(5) The Historical Record of Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)
(6) The Historical Record of Phlegon (80-140AD)
(7) The Historical Record of Lucian of Samosata: (115-200 A.D.)
(8) The Historical Record of Celsus (175AD)

Ancient Jewish Historians Agree that Jesus Lived
Even though most ancient Jewish accounts of Jesus are hostile, they still affirm much about the historicity of Jesus, even as they attempt to vilify His character:

(1) The Historical Record of Josephus (37-101AD)
(2) The Historical Record of the Jewish Talmud (400-700AD)
(3) The Historical Record of The Toledot Yeshu (1000AD)

Jesus Claimed to Be God
While some skeptics deny Jesus ever identified Himself as God to His first century audience, the evidence demonstrates just the opposite:

(1) He Prefaced His Statements As Though He Was God (Matthew 5:18)
(2) He Identified Himself With God’s Own Name, “I Am” (John 8:49-58)
(3) He Talked As Though He Was Equal With God (John 14:6-9)
(4) He Said That He and God Were One (John 10:25-29)

Jesus Demonstrated that He Had the Nature of God
Jesus possessed a unique authority with those who knew him; an authority that far exceeded that of other important Rabbis. The authority of Jesus was based in his deity:

(1) He Demonstrated Omniscience (John 4:16-30)
(2) He Demonstrated Omnipresence (Matthew 28:20)
(3) He Demonstrated Omnipotence (John 11:38-44, Mark 6:48)

Jesus Was Worshiped As God by Those Who Knew Him
In a first century Jewish culture that rejected the worship of anyone (or anything) other than the one true God, Jesus was repeatedly worshiped by those who encountered him:

(1) The wise men worshiped him at his birth (Matthew 2:10-12)
(2) The leper worshiped Him at his healing (Matthew 8:2)
(3) The synagogue ruler worshiped Him (Matthew 9:18-19)
(4) The disciples worshiped him in the boat (Matthew 14:32-33)
(5) The mother of James and John worshiped Him (Matthew 20:20-21)
(6) The blind man worshiped Him at his healing (John 9:35-38)
(7) The women worshiped Him at the empty tomb (Matthew 28:8-10)

Jesus Fulfilled Old Testament Messianic Prophecies
The disciples and first witnesses of Jesus were repeatedly amazed by the number of ways Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy related to the coming Messiah:

(1) The Messiah Will Appear After the Jews Return to Israel (Jeremiah 23:3-6)
(2) The Messiah Would Be Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
(3) The Messiah Would Be Preceded By a Messenger (Isaiah 40:3)
(4) The Messiah Would Enter Jerusalem While Riding on a Donkey (Zech 9:9)
(5) The Messiah Would Suffer and Be Rejected (Isaiah 53:3)
(6) The Messiah Would Be Betrayed for 30 Pieces of Silver( Zech 11:12-13)
(7) The Messiah Would Be Silent Before His Accusers (Isaiah 53:7)
(8) The Messiah Would Be Wounded, Whipped and Crucified (Isaiah 53:5)

The cumulative case for the historicity and deity of Jesus is compelling when viewed in its entirety. This brief thumbnail sketch is a helpful reminder: The Christian worldview is evidentially verifiable. Be sure to download your free Bible insert by visiting the Cold Case Christianity homepage and selecting the link in the right toolbar. A new, free, downloadable Bible Insert is posted every month.

For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

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