Proverbs 2-5-23

Throughout history, even non-Christians who liked Jesus and non-Christians who didn’t like Jesus talked about Him.

41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. Luke 4:41

We continue to study the Fallout of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension. Not only did Christians talk and write about Him prolifically, even people who twisted the truth or even denied it were party to proving the authenticity of Jesus. From, “Person of Interest,” by J. Warner Wallace,

Why aren’t the noncanonical accounts (the writings from non-Christians who liked Jesus) considered equally authoritative? Were they eliminated solely because they disagreed theologically with Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John? No. More than any other reason, they are disqualified as eyewitness accounts because of their late arrival outside of the region of Jesus’s life and ministry. True eyewitness accounts are written early and within the region, as were the four gospel accounts we have in the New Testament. Page 107

These details about Jesus and his followers come not from the church fathers but from the authors of heretical texts. Even if you destroyed every page of Christian Scripture and the writings of Christians who liked Jesus, you would still know a lot about him from these non-Christians who liked him. But the noncanonical authors weren’t the only non-Christians to talk about Jesus. There were others who interacted with Christians in antiquity, and unlike the noncanonical writers, they didn’t like Jesus at all. Page 107

From just this group of hostile non-Christians who disliked Jesus, a robust profile of Jesus can be reconstructed. Even though these historical figures typically slandered him, they based their attacks on a set of common claims. These foundational details related to Jesus (and his followers) can be heard from the voices of those who opposed him. Page 109

What are those foundational details?

  • The LIFE of Jesus
  • The MINISTRY of Jesus
  • The TRIAL of Jesus
  • The CRUCIFIXION of Jesus
  • The RESURRECTION of Jesus
  • The RETURN of Jesus
  • The TITLES of Jesus
  • The FOLLOWERS of Jesus

At a time when Christians were pursued, pillaged, and persecuted, we might not expect much information related to Jesus and his followers to survive. Instead, we can reconstruct every major claim of the New Testament without reading a single gospel or letter of Scripture, even though many of these non-Christian authors did their best to co-opt and twist the story of Jesus or were mockingly hostile toward the claims of Christianity.
There are more non-Christian voices in this extrabiblical collection (ninety-two historical figures) than Christian ones (just fifty-one), and regardless of their social stature, ethnicity, motivation, or region, the common description of Jesus (at their core) remained the same. At their foundation, they reiterated the claims of the New Testament authors long before these claims became popular or Christianity became the religion of the empire.
Page 110

It all points to this: We can trust the New Testament about who Jesus is, why He came, and what He said and did. And, we can trust the Old Testament because it told us ahead of time about Jesus, the Messiah. Tomorrow, we will look at some more evidence.

Abba, as we worship You today, may we all thank You for providing so much evidence for us. There should be no doubt in our minds that Jesus is who He said He is, that He did what He said He’d do, and that He will do what He told us He will do. We can trust Your Word, and that’s Good News. Amen.

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