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Has the authenticity of Jesus perfectly survived the test of time?

Buddy Scott of © 2000 • ALLON PUBLISHING

I was intrigued by Peter Jennings referring to Jesus as "a first-century Jew" in the ABC News Special, The Search for Jesus. Readers, ask yourself: Why was Jesus "a first-century Jew"?


We don't have to look far to know that Jesus' divine mission was authentic. Who else has split time?

Flavius Josephus, who was born 37 years after Jesus split time, wrote about Jesus. As a Jewish historian, he had no reason to present Jesus in a positive light. But read what Josephus wrote about Jesus (the parenthetical statements are those of Josephus):

About this time appeared Jesus, a wise man (if indeed it is right to call Him man; for He was a worker of astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with joy), and He drew to Himself many Jews (many also of Greeks. This was the Christ).
And when Pilate, at the denunciation of those that are foremost among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those who had first loved Him did not abandon Him (for He appeared to them alive again on the third day, the holy prophets having foretold this and countless other marvels about Him.) The tribe of Christians named after Him did not cease to this day.

A Roman writer, Tacitus, who was born 54 years after Jesus split time, confirmed the death of Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate and wrote about the Christians' willingness to be tortured morbidly for their faith. Tacitus wrote:

Mockery of every sort were added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as nightly illumination, when daylight had expiredÉfor it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

As Christians waited to be used as wicks in torches to light Nero's gardens, hearing the cries and screams of their Christian brothers and sisters, I think they would have recanted if their beliefs hadn't been proved to them beyond a reasonable doubt.

As was said by a modern Jewish historian, Paula Fredriksen, Boston University, Jennings's Jewish representation on his panel of scholars in The Search for Jesus:

I know in their own terms, what they saw was the raised Jesus. That's what they say, and then all the historic evidence we have afterwards attests to their conviction that that's what they saw. I'm not saying that they really did see the raised Jesus. I wasn't there. I don't know what they saw. But I do know as an historian, that they must have seen something.

There are 2,000 years between Paula Fredriksen, the modern Jewish historian, and Flavius Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, but they are close enough to being on the same page to affirm Jesus' power over death and His resurrection.

The above works, but I was intrigued by what Jennings said about modern scholars who issue conclusions about Jesus. He stated:

So this, it turns out, is what all the scholars do. They look at the stories and the other available evidence, they choose what makes the most sense historically, and then they make educated guesses.

Jennings's scholars were educated guessers? Jennings used educated guessing to assert that the Christian faith was founded upon the fabrication, embellishment, and fiction of of those who wrote the New Testament? Based on educated guessing, he sought to detract from the basic tenets of Christian faith?

I think that's especially tragic in view of the fact that many of the people my clinic has counseled have their faith as the last shrub of hope onto which they are grasping before they fall down the jagged face of a cliff into emotional or addictive oblivion. Why would Peter Jennings intentionally cut off their last shrub of hope?

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