By Tom Quiner
A critic of Quiner’s Diner took me to task for my recent post, “Would you die for a lie?“
He challenged me as follows:
“There’s practically no historical evidence for the crucifixion. What are you talking about?”
In other words, they’re not even willing to consider Christ’s resurrection until we resolve if Jesus was even crucified in the first place.
The New Testament is loaded with evidence.
The apostle Matthew is believed to have written his gospel 17 to 37 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. He corroborates the accounts of the crucifixion.
Mark the Evangelist wrote his gospel about 22 to 37 years after Jesus was crucified. Mark was a traveling companion of Peter and corroborates the accounts of the crucifixion.
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul and would have known Jesus’ disciples. His gospel is believed to have been written no more than 29 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and corroborates the accounts of the crucifixion.
John was another apostle and eyewitness to the crucifixion. His gospel was written some fifty to sixty years after Jesus’ crucifixion and corroborates the accounts of the crucifixion.
Paul is an interesting historian when it comes to Jesus’ crucifixion. He was a former enemy of Christianity who underwent a mystical conversion and became a Christian himself. He spent the rest of his life spreading the message that Jesus is Lord. He wrote a series of thirteen epistles some 18 to 25 years after the crucifixion, again testifying to the veracity of the events.
Interestingly, when you look at other major figures in the ancient past, their histories were written much later than the accounts written about Jesus.
For example, the earliest surviving histories of Alexander the Great were written 300 to 500 years after he died.
The earliest surviving histories of Buddha were written some 600 years following his death.
The accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth were written within a generation of his life when there were eye witnesses to corroborate … or refute … the testimony of the authors.
Detractors dismiss biblical accounts as being all about religion and lacking historical objectivity. Nonetheless, non-biblical sources confirm the life and death of Jesus, such as Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus:
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive.”
Roman Senator, Cornelius Tacitus, also referenced the early Christians and Jesus:
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the
most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the
name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome.”
The Greek satirist, Lucian, acknowledged the life and death of Jesus:
“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…”
Few critics deny that Jesus existed or was crucified by the Romans. Biblical and non-biblical evidence is compelling in this regard.