At this time of year it seems appropriate to describe the event in history that, at some point, forces each of us to make a decision.
Easter is the holiday marked by a Christian claim that a man allegedly living in the first century was killed and actually came back to life.
Well, this is difficult to just…believe.
As we take an extremely abridged look at the traditional claims of Easter, remember that first , we don’t have all the answers. Second, things in this world happen that we can’t explain, yet they are empirical, or can be observed. And finally, if we already have our minds made up, we begin at a premise that is indefensible. Our pride, which every one of us has, yet denies, is utterly incompatible to a search of facts, honesty and truth. So set it aside for 2 minutes.
All of Christianity stands or falls on one event. Fortunately for truth seekers, that event is measurable, researchable and, as opposed to every other world religion, actually happened in a time/space dimension that we can examine.
That event of course is the resurrection of a man of flesh and blood.
Many pastors or theologians or apologists would begin this discussion by opening the Bible. But to do this commits a fundamental error called circular reasoning; or reasoning establishing itself on…itself. Faulty.
After decades of personal research, I have concluded that there are really only three men of history that are dependable historians relative to this resurrection event.
Tertullian was born about 100 years after Christ and was the son of a Roman centurion. He was raised inCarthageas a pagan, but after great research, became a Christian apologist. He writes that the Jews were so exasperated by Chrestus’ teaching, mostly because so many had turned to him, that at last they brought him before Pontius Pilate, at the time the Roman governor ofSyria, and by the violence of their outcries against him, extorted a sentence of crucifixion.
We have now seen that Jesus, or “Chrestus” lived in the first century and taught something that got him killed by a Roman governor; all examined apart from Biblical texts. But, we have a long way to go to label this man divine. Or even supernatural.
Josephus was a Jewish historian of the first rank, he was NOT a christian, writing at the end of the first century in his Antiquities.18.3.3
“now there was about this time a man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works (miracles perhaps)? A teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. Some say this man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross,…but he appeared to them alive on the third day, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him and even now, the sect of Christians, so named from him, has not died out.
Remember Josephus was not a Christian, but a Jew, writing to Romans, This story would not have pleased them in the slightest. He would hardly have included it if it were not true. And in all fairness some academics have claimed this portion of Josephus’ writings to be a later Christian interpolation, precisely because he would not have written it. However, this argument is from silence and therefore discounted.
Pliny, a governor under Emperor Trajan, requested counsel about what to do with this “spurious sect named after Chrestus who were willing to die for their belief that a man had died but a few years earlier claiming to be a god and rose up again“.
Why didn’t the Jewish (religious) or Roman (civil) authorities simply go to the sealed stone tomb, pull his body out and drag it through the streets dispelling rumors about this “magician’s resurrection”.
We have no more time. It is said that the resurrection and life of Jesus of Nazareth is better documented than any other single event in history. To avoid bias, we have avoided scriptural information of Jesus. Historical accuracy of the New Testament canon, however can not be matched either textually or archaeologically. Homer’s works are a distant second. Sadly, these non-subjective facts are utterly ignored in our failing schools and lives of the next generation. 25 of the 54 signatures on our Declaration of Independence are from men who were Christian seminarians.