Contents

Chapter 1: An introduction and Overview.
Chapter 2: What have people and movements said about Jesus?
Chapter 3: What does the Bible say about Jesus?
Chapter 4: A conclusion and few ending words.
Chapter 5: Reference list.

 

 

Chapter one: An introduction and overview

What is the purpose of this book? It all started with a
conversation I had in April 2016 with a friend of mine
named Mike. Mike and I had a short chat in a bar about
Jesus which led to me thinking deeply about why I believe
in Jesus and what I believe about him. I spent some time
putting my thoughts into writing and gathering together
the thoughts of some respected thinkers – this book is
the culmination of asking two important questions: Jesus
– was he real? And if so, then who was he?

Not everyone in the world believes that Jesus was a real
person. Maybe you believe he existed, maybe you do not
– I don’t know. For many years of my life I would describe
myself as someone of disbelief, doubt, confusion and
questioning. If you find yourself in that space, I can
somewhat relate to you, and I hope you find this book
interesting. If you would describe yourself as someone
who has faith, but still with a lot of questions, I hope this
book will be of help to you too.

The way that I have set this little book out is very simple.
There are five chapters (including this one). In the second
chapter I briefly list what different people and movements
have said about Jesus over the past ± 2000 years. In
chapter three I discuss what the Bible (both Old and New
Testaments) say about Jesus. I know I’ve just mentioned
the word Bible, but before you put this book down, you
should know that there is more to the Bible than you
might think! Try stay with me. Finally, I end with what I’ve
discovered in this investigation and share my sources.

 

 

Chapter two: What have people and movements

said about Jesus?

We have in our possession today (libraries, museums, the
internet and so on) thousands of copies (and some
originals) of ancient manuscripts, documents and books
that articulate in different languages what various people,
cultures and movements have said about a man named
Jesus. Was he a real person? If so, then who was he
exactly? I don’t intend to set out a comprehensive list of
the different viewpoints across the last ±2000 years, but
I’ve done my best to objectively list the most well-known
viewpoints below (and tried as best I can to hold back any
of my own opinions).

From the first century A.D. onwards, mainstream Judaism
has both mentioned a man Jesus and accepted that he
was a great prophet, but rejected (and still do reject) the
idea that he was God [1].

In the first century A.D. the Ebionites (who were a sort-of
mixture of Judaism and other beliefs) believed in a man
named Jesus. They would have said, “That Jesus was a
prophet, a spokesman for God, but a man [2].”

During the first century A.D., some (non-Christian)
historians wrote about the life of Christ (Jesus). Flavius
Josephus was one such historian, and perhaps one of the
most respected of the time. Josephus was Jewish, and he
briefly mentioned Jesus in his Antiquities of the Jews. He
said, “Jesus who was called messiah… [3]” Along with
Josephus there was a Roman historian named Tacitus,
who mentioned Jesus in his He said, “Christ from whom
they derive their name [Christians] was condemned to
death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of the
Emperor Tiberius[4].”

Other historians worth mentioning are Suetonius, Lucian
of Samosata, Pliny the younger and Mara Bar-Serapion.
During the first century A.D. Suetonius wrote a book
called The Twelve Caesars. In it he said, “He drove the
Jews out of Rome who were rioting because of
Chrestus[5].” Here we see him mentioning a man named
Jesus. Lucian of Samosata in his book The death of
Peregrine said, “The Christians, you know, worship a man
to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced
their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…[6]”
Pliny the younger, while writing to Emperor Trajan, “to
seek counsel as to how to treat the Christians… explained
that he had been killing both men and women, boys and
girls… Pliny goes on to say that he also, ‘made them curse
Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to
do[7]’.” Later on in the same letter Pliny said, “… when
they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a
god…[8]” Here we see Pliny mentioning a person called
Jesus. Lastly there was Mara Bar-Serapion who was a
Syrian Stoic Philosopher. In a letter written to his son he
compared Jesus o Socrates and Pythagoras [9]. In doing
this he reveals that he believed Jesus was a real figure.
Gnosticism (a religious movement) in the second century
A.D. mentioned Jesus. They taught that Jesus was, “an
aeon which had never ceased to be spirit but merely
seemed to be a man [10].”

In the second century A.D. a movement named
Marcionism began. It began (you guessed it) with a man
named Marcion. Marcion’s followers believed that Jesus
did exist and that he was not a man as such, but was God
only appearing as a man [11]. The Marcion movement
taught that Christ “proclaimed a new Kingdom” and that
he was crucified by his opponents. After his death, they
believed that Jesus rescued some people from the
underworld.

In 313 A.D., Constantine, the Roman Emperor, accepted
Christianity as true. There has been much debate as to
whether his faith was genuine or if it was a political move.
Either way he came to see himself as “God’s kingly
representative on earth [12].” Now whether this was
wrong or right I won’t discuss this now, but what do know
is that he was a forceful man who engaged in war – in the
name of his god. From what I can figure out, it appears he
believed Jesus was a real historical figure and that he was
some sort of warlord to be followed.

In 325 A.D., many church leaders gathered together as
what has become known as the Council of Nicea, and
there they agreed and wrote what was (and is now
famously) known as the Nicene Creed. In this, the church
communicated that they not only accepted that Jesus was
real but that he was fully God during his life on earth [13].
They affirmed that Jesus was born in the flesh [14] (i.e. he
was a man). What I find interesting is that all the
Protestant Churches, along with the Greek Eastern
Churches and the Roman Catholic Church have always
(even up to today) agreed with what is affirmed in this
famous creed [15].

In 451 A.D., many years after the Nicean Creed, another
council (the Council of Chalcedon) affirmed both the
divinity and the humanity of Jesus [16].

Tertullian (155 – 222 A.D.) who was a Christian leader and
writer from Carthage taught that Jesus was, “both divine
and human [17].” This shows us that he believed Jesus was
real.

Clement (155 – 220 A.D.) who was a Christian Theologian
from Rome held to the idea that Jesus was real and that
he, “shed his blood to save humanity [18].”

Origen (185 – 254 A.D.) who was a Christian Theologian
born in Alexandria believed that, “Jesus Christ is the Logos
(which is the Greek word for ‘Word’) become flesh [19].”

Athanasius (296 – 373 A.D.) who was a Bishop in
Alexandria emphasized, “monotheism (i.e. that there is
only one God) and that God alone can save. God as the
Son, God Jesus Christ, alone is the saviour [20].” During
his life, Athanasius strongly opposed the teaching known
as Arianism. To the Arianists, Jesus was not God. [21]

Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.), one of the greatest African
Theologians and Philosophers, firmly believed that Jesus
was a real person. He taught that the bread and wine used
during Communion (a Christian tradition whereby bread
and wine are taken) are the symbols of the body and
blood of Jesus. Ambrose, however, who was one of his
teachers, taught that bread and wine literally became the
body and blood of Jesus when the priest blessed it.
Ambrose’s ideas greatly influenced the 12th century
church and to this day Roman Catholics believe that the
bread and wine blessed by a Priest during Communion,
literally become the body and blood of Jesus. Whereas
Protestants follow Augustine and say that they are only
symbols of his body and blood. The Babylonian Talmud,
which is an ancient Jewish writing completed in the 500’s
A.D., claims that Jesus was real, but that he was a, “false
messiah who practiced magic and who was justly
condemned to death [22].”

The Talmud also claims that, “Jesus was born of a Roman
soldier and Mary… [23]”

By the first century A.D., Monasticism was in full swing
[24] as many Christians sought after a simple, poor and
relatively solitary lifestyle. Their view of Jesus was that he
was a sort of ascetic who roamed around alone, avoiding
most forms of wealth. It was during this century that many
major debates took place as to who Jesus was. Some of
the monks even claimed that Jesus had many natures [25].

In 680 and 681 A.D. a so called sixth council met to debate
the will of Jesus. Some taught that, even though he was
human and divine, he had one will and that was his divine
will. The council met and agreed that he had two wills,
both human and divine but that the “two were in harmony
[26].”

By the seventh century, Islam had been established as a
religion. The Qur’an (the primary text in the Islamic faith)
teaches that Jesus (known as “Isa”) lived but that he did
not die on a cross and was only a prophet [27].

An interesting difference of views on the crucifixion came
up between Anselm and Peter Abelard. They both lived in
the early twelfth century A.D. and both believed that Jesus
was real. However, they differed in their belief of the
crucifixion. Abelard believed that God did not have to die
to forgive sins. He believed that the purpose of Christ’s
life, death and resurrection was to show the love of God.
Anselm on the other hand held to the view that humans
have sinned and have broken God’s holy law. He held that
we therefore need a saviour to pay for our sins. He taught
that Jesus, the saviour, died to pay for sins [28].

Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274 A.D.) who was a
Philosopher and Theologian, born in Italy, held to the
belief that it is primarily through Jesus Christ that God’s
grace is to be found. He believed that Jesus was Christ
was born of a virgin and was a “God-Man” – both human
and divine [29].

Bonaventure (1221 – 1274 A.D.) who was a Theologian
and Franciscan Bishop had a deep love for the, “Child
Jesus and the crucified Christ [30].” He believed that Jesus
was a real person.

The Crusades that took place between the eleventh and
thirteenth centuries A.D. reveal some interesting views of
Jesus. During the Crusades some people taught that a
person fighting for Christ (i.e. fighting in the Crusades)
would liberate themselves from sin [32].

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546 A.D.) who was a German
priest, desired to see the Catholic Church reformed. He
was a brilliant student who believed in being made right
with the Father through faith in the Son (Jesus). He
believed in the gospel. He claimed that he realised his
own sin and saw that the only way out was by received
the gift of salvation offered through the death and
resurrection of Jesus [33]. On a complete side note: I have
met one of his descendants.

John Calvin (1509 – 1564 A.D.) was born in France but
spent much of his life in Geneva, Switzerland. He taught
that humans are saved by the righteousness of Jesus
Christ. He believed that religious authority was to be
found in Jesus and not in the Church [34].

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778 A.D.) who was a
writer and philosopher born in Switzerland “sought to
gain understand” into “the life and faith of Christ [35].”
Rousseau believed in Jesus as a historical figure and
compared him to Socrates. He once said that, “if the life
and death of Socrates are those of a wise man, the life
and death of Jesus are those of God [36].”

In 1605 A.D. a document known as the Racovian
Catechism was put together which denied the deity of
Jesus, but it did accept his existence. It was based on the
teachings of a man named Faustus Socinus and it made
known the teachings of Socinianism. This work, “also
attacked the doctrine that Christ’s death on the cross was
an atonement for man’s sins [37].”

At some point near 1774 A.D. Socinianism became
Unitarianism which was a movement that taught that
humans are saved by character not by the, “blood of
Christ [38].”

Bryan Williams quotes the eighteen century English writer
William Paley in his book New Testament I, the life of
Christ where Paley said that the miracles of Christ were
evidence that he had heavenly origin and was the divine
son. Paley believed that Jesus was real.

John Mill (1806 – 1873 A.D.) who was an English writer,
philosopher and political economist, “believed in God,
supported the ethical teachings of Jesus, but disavowed
supernatural support for them [39].”

In 1830 A.D. Joseph Smith claimed that he received a
message from God. Later, Smith began what is known
today as Mormonism or the Church of the Latter-Day
Saints. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is both divine
and human, that he is the saviour and that when we
submit to his will, the divine light inside of us all is
awakened [40].

German born David Strauss (1808 – 1874 A.D.) was an
influential philosopher and theologian of the nineteenth
century. He doubted the accuracy of the records of Jesus
and rejected the Virgin birth [41].

The French Joseph Renan (1823 – 1892 A.D.) published a
book called Vie de Jesus where he describes Jesus as,
“attractive, but unpractical and futile, a son of Joseph and
Mary [42].” Joseph also taught that Jesus did not rise from
the dead. He clearly did believe in his existence.

In 1910 A.D. Albert Schweitzer published a book called
The Quest for the Historical Jesus: A critical study of its
progress from Reimarus to Wrede. This book caused a big
stir in its day because it challenged the traditional
(orthodox) viewpoint of Jesus. On a more careful
examination of this book I discovered that there have
actually been three big quests to discover the historical
Jesus. The so called, original quest (1778-1906 A.D.),
included men like Reimarus, Harnack, Hess, Wrede, Weiss,
Renan and Schweitzer. The second quest spanned the
time from the history of the religious school to the new
quest and included scholars such as, Bousset, Troeltsch,
Hengel and Bultmann. The third and final quest is the new
quest which started roughly in 1988 and continues to
today. What is blindingly obvious from these three quests
is that most of the scholars involved believed that Jesus
did exist. What differs between these academics is who
they believed Jesus was. Renan’s Christ was not the Jesus
of history [43]. Schweitzer believed that, “the true
historical Jesus should overthrow the modern Jesus.” To
him Jesus was not a teacher but was, “an imperious ruler
[44].” To Hengel, Jesus was compared to, “other types of
Jewish leaders [45].” “Harnack’s Jesus was the reflection
of a liberal Protestant… Schweitzer’s Jesus had the
demeanour of Nietzsche’s superman. The Jesus of the
new quest sounded like the existentialist philosopher…
[46].” Within these three movements the views of Jesus
are indeed wide, however all believed he existed.

Bertrand Russell the famous philosopher claimed that,
“historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever
existed at all and if he did we do not know anything about
him [47].” He clearly did not believe Jesus existed.

“In 1969 A.D. the constitution of the SACC (South African
Council of Churches) was drawn up… for purpose of
membership. It applied formula accepted by the World
Council of Churches., It is a fellowship of Churches
confessing the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour…
[48]” They accepted that Jesus existed.

In 1988 A.D. journalist Lee Strobel wrote a book called The
Case for Christ and in it retraces his “journey from atheism
to Christianity by interviewing thirteen leading experts on
the historical evidence for Jesus Christ [49].” From his
research he concluded by claiming that Jesus did indeed
exist.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity: “I am trying
here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that
people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as
a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be
God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who
was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said
would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a
lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a
poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You
must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the
Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You
can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him
as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord
and God, but let us not come with any patronizing
nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has
not left that open to us. He did not intend to [50].” Lewis
believed Jesus was a real historical figure.

Hitler, Germany’s leader during World War II, seemed to
echo Constantine’s opinion of Jesus. In his speech on April
12th 1922 he said, “my feeling as a Christian points me to
my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man
who once in loneliness, surrounded by few followers,
recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned
men to fight against them… [51]”

In his book, Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris the
famous Atheist and philosopher appears to believe that
Jesus did exist [52].

Ellen Johnson on Larry King Live said, “There is not one
shred of secular evidence there ever was a Jesus Christ …
Jesus is a compilation from other gods… Who had the
same origins, the same death as the mythological Jesus
Christ [53].” She clearly believes that Jesus did not exist.
Gilbert Bilezikian in his book Christianity 101 says: “No
serious student of history denies the fact that then man
Jesus live in Palestine at the beginning of the first
century…there are many people who believe that Jesus
was an exceptional man, even an original visionary who
set the course for new ways of thinking about life and
about human relations. But they would consider any claim
of Christ as having a divine nature a myth that was
invented by the early church… Other theologians have
proposed a view that Christ was an exceptionally
righteous man, a holy prophet uniquely sensitive to God’s
will… According to this view, while the teachings of Jesus
should be followed, he cannot himself be considered
divine… Today some evangelical theologians claim that
Christ was equal to the Father in his essential being, but
that he is in functional subjection to him [54]. Bilezikian
continues in his book to share his own views, which are
that Jesus was born, lived, died and rose from the dead
and is now reigning over the world [55].

Albert Einstein the world-renowned scientist once said,
“no man can deny that Jesus existed [56].”

J.B Philips once said that, “I have read, in Greek and Latin,
scores of myths, but I did not find the slightest flavour of
myth here (talking about the record of the life of Jesus) ….
No man could have set down such artless and vulnerable
accounts as these unless some real event lay behind
them” (1995:20).

Even though the famous Atheist and scientist Richard
Dawkins once claimed that Jesus, “probably existed [57]”
on further investigation it appears that he believes that
Jesus did not.

In his book The Reason for God, Tim Keller, the New York
City pastor reveals that he thinks Jesus did exist, he wrote:
“Who then was the original Jesus? The scholars I read
proposed that the real, ‘historical Jesus was a charismatic
teacher of justice and wisdom who provoked opposition
and was executed… After his death, they said, different
parties and viewpoints emerged among his followers
about who he was. Some claimed he was divine and risen
from the dead, others that he was just a teacher who lived
on spiritually in the hearts of his disciples…[58]”

Josh McDowell, a famous writer claims in his book The
evidence that demands a Verdict that: “Howard Clark Kee,
professor emeritus at Boston University, makes the
following conclusion…, ‘the result of the examination of
the sources outside of the New Testament that bear
directly or indirectly on our knowledge of Jesus is to
confirm his historical existence, his unusual powers, the
devotion of his followers, the continued existence of the
movement after his death… [59]

Along with these comments and ideas I could mention
Zoroastrianism which did (it was formed from as early as
the 5th century B.C.) and does not accept the deity of
Christ [60]. The Jehovah’s Witness Movement sees Jesus
as a created being, namely, an angel [61]. Hinduism
teaches that there are many gods and many ways to
paradise. It would of course make sense for Hinduism to
accept Jesus as divine (as one of the many gods). The
Docetists, Modal Monarchianists, Apollinarian
Paulicianism, Monophysitists and New agers – all of
whom deny the humanity of Christ but hold to his divinity
[62]. Rudolf Bultmann who has, “separated the Christ of
faith from the Jesus of history [63]” in his view of Christ,
he is more like a Greek god. I could mention the gospel
of Philip which claims that Jesus and Mary Magdalene
were married [64]. I could mention Mike Lawrence and
Scott Burdick who both believe that Jesus did not exist or
lastly, Charles Spurgeon (a nineteenth century Baptist
preacher) who once said, “Your sin has been laid on Christ
[65]” and “if you believe in Christ, you shall never die [66].”
These quotes show that Spurgeon believed Jesus did
exist.

As you can see I have done my best to briefly describe
what some have said about Jesus. There are for sure many
more quotes and comments that I could have mentioned.
As you would have noticed – much has been written
about Jesus, and there is much disagreement! Before we
arrive in the last chapter where I pull together some final
thoughts on all these various views of Jesus I want to look
at what the Bible says about Jesus.

 

 

Chapter three: What does the Bible say
about Jesus?

You may have seen that I have dedicated an entire
chapter to exploring what the Bible says about Jesus. Why
would I do this? Some people might say that I am
favouring the writings of the Bible above other works. The
main reason why I have given an entire chapter to the 66-
book library called the Bible is because it contains
eyewitness accounts of his life. Books such as Acts,
Matthew, 1 Peter and John were written by men who have
been recorded to have talked, walked and even eaten
with Jesus. I do believe that eyewitness records hold a
higher importance then non-eyewitness writings or
words. Decide for yourself if what I am saying is right or
wrong. In court, who will the judge value more – the
person who saw the event (car accident for example) or
the one who heard about it from a friend? The judge in
court will hold the eyewitness account as more useful
than the other account. I remember that once my friend
Ian and I were called to testify in court against some men
who mugged us. We were called in because we were
eyewitnesses of the event. The same is true for written
pieces about Jesus. The eyewitness accounts are surely,
more useful. I do think that the other views on Jesus that
are found in chapter two are useful. I do believe that we
must listen to and read all opinions of Jesus. However, at
the end of the day an eyewitness account is more
important when trying to discover Jesus.

When it comes to the Bible, I know that many people do
not read the Bible. Just hearing the word Bible makes
some people angry or close off. I know that many people
in the world today do not believe that the Bible is to be
trusted. They might say that it is a string of myths or a
product of a game of broken telephones. In many ways I
think I can understand someone who thinks this way
because I myself did not always trust the Bible. I
remember sitting in church meetings listening to a talk
from the Bible and through some of it doubting the book
that the preacher was reading from. I remember coming
to the point where I thought to myself that I must do
some research into the trustworthiness of the Bible. I took
about four years to read and talk to people, all the time
wanting to know if this book was unreliable or reliable. In
the end I saw so much evidence that supports these
documents that I just had to trust them. I am not going
to spend time talking about the evidence now, but if you
are interested them I suggest one or more of these books:
Christianity 101by Gilbert Bilezikian, The Bible as History
by Werner Keller, Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ,
The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable? By F.F.
Bruce, What Christians believe: A Biblical and Historical
summary by Johnson and Webber, The new evidence that
demands a verdict by Josh McDowell, Tim Keller’s book
The reason for God Or Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and
Gerry Breshears.

Why the Bible? Philip Yancey tells us why in his book, The
Jesus I never Knew, he says that while searching countless
books to discover information about Jesus of Nazareth he
became confused. However, whenever he, “returned to
the gospels themselves the fog seemed to lift” (1995:20).
It is for this reason that I now turn to the Bible itself to let
it speak to us about Jesus. The answer to the first question
(was Jesus a real person?) that the Bible gives is a definite
yes. The answer to the second question (if so, then who
was he?) is not that straightforward. I mean, how would I
go about describing my wife? There is so much I could
say. In the same way the Old and New Testaments says a
lot about Jesus.

To help us understand what the Bible says about who
Jesus was I have picked four (to be quick) bits of the Bible
to look at. My goal is not to interpret these sections much
but to merely quote them and say a few words. The best
way of making sense of any book, including the 66 books
of the Bible is by reading it in its natural way [67], the way
the author intended it to be read. Put another way, the
way to gain the true meaning of any text is to see the
“plain meaning of the text [68].” Put yet another way, if
you want to discover that the Bible is really saying, not
what people interpret into it is by using the whole book
to make sense of the whole book. By cross referencing
the meaning of any words or idea becomes clear. I will
use these three methods on the passages below.

Acts 3:17-26. “Now, fellow Israelite’s, I know that you
acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how
God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the
prophets, saying that his Messiah [the meaning of
messiah is the, ‘sent’ or ‘chosen’ one] would suffer. Repent,
then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that
he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for
you—even Jesus…. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will
raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own
people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone
who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from
their people.’ Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the
prophets who have spoken have foretold these days….”

This is part of a talk given by a man named Peter who
claimed to be an eyewitness and follower of Jesus. He
gave this talk to a group of people who had gathered in
the temple in Jerusalem (the one that fell in A.D. 70). He
clearly thought and taught that Jesus was the prophet
promised beforehand who suffered and died. He believed
that in this Jesus the messiah was to be found the
forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 21:6-11. “The disciples went and did as Jesus
had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the
colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A
very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while
others cut branches from the trees and spread them on
the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those
that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered
Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is
this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet
from Nazareth in Galilee.”

These people (including the writer Matthew) believed that
Jesus was the messiah, the son (or in the bloodline) of
King David.

1 Peter 2:21-25. “To this you were called, because Christ
suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should
follow in his steps. ’He committed no sin, and no deceit
was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at
him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no
threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges
justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by
his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like
sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the
Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

Peter said that Jesus suffered physically, and this is an
example for Christians – they should be willing to suffer
to. When Jesus was insulted he did not fight back. This is
an example for us. Peter believed that Jesus took on our
sins in his body on the cross and died in our place. The
consequence is that we can now die to sins and live for
righteousness. Peter believed that we have all wandered
away from our maker but that in Jesus we return home.

John 20:24-29. “Now Thomas (also known as Didymus),
one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus
came. So, the other disciples told him, “We have seen the
Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in
his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put
my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his
disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with
them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and
stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then
he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop
doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and
my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen
me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not
seen and yet have believed.”

In this account we can clearly see that John believed that
Jesus rose from the dead and met with, not only himself,
but others to – including a man named Thomas. This
Thomas, after seeing that Jesus had risen from the deadthen
called him, “…Lord and God…” John believed that
Jesus was God.

 

 

Chapter four: A conclusion and few ending
words.

How should I end this short little book? What could I say?
At the start I mentioned that the aim of this little book
was for me to put together some thoughts (mostly the
thoughts of others, but a few of my own) on the topic of
Jesus and to then see what turns up. I did this in the
second chapter by quoting and discussing what many
different people and movements from the first to twenty
first centuries A.D. have said about Jesus. I continued
doing this in chapter three, but this time I explored briefly
what the Bible says about Jesus.

So then, what did I find? Four things:

1.) Jesus must have been a real person.

I think that it can be said that Jesus did exist. There is an
overwhelming amount of evidence that supports
this from not only the ancient New Testament (and
Old Testament) documents but also from
thousands of people from all different cultures and
worldviews. Yes, sure there are many people,
especially in the last century, who claim that he was
and is only a myth. There are, also many people in
the last century who believed that he was a real
person. Surely there was a man named Jesus who
lived during the 1st century A.D.

2.) People seem to describe Jesus based on their
own likes, dislikes, cultures, worldviews and
religions, etc. To the weak, Jesus is weak.

To the strong, Jesus is strong. To the religious, Jesus was
religious. To the atheist, Jesus is not real. To the
revolutionary, Jesus was a revolutionary. To the
Agnostic, Jesus is unimportant. To the feminist,
Jesus was pro-women’s rights. To the racist, Jesus
was a racist. To the war-lord, Jesus was a war-lord.
To the communist, Jesus was a communist and so
on. Is it right to see Jesus through the lenses of our
cultures, worldviews, experiences and son on? I
don’t think so. Why? Because of the danger that
we may distort the real Jesus. Not all views on
Jesus can be right. Think for yourself – how can
Jesus be God but also not be God. How can Jesus
both die for sins but also not die for sins. How can
Jesus be a warlord but also be one that children
were comfortable around? These views contradict.

3.) Not all the views on Jesus can be right.

I want my perspective of who Jesus really was to come
from those who knew him best. I do want to listen
and learn from all people about Jesus. But
ultimately, I want my perspective of who Jesus
really was (and I dare say is) to come from those
who knew him the best. I believe that although I
must and do and want to listen to all sorts of
people (mentioned in chapter two) and what they
have to say about Jesus I must go to the closest
source to his life to find the answer. Since that
source are all 66 books of the library called the
Bible, this is where I go and in there I see that Jesus
lived in flesh and bones (1 John 4:2), was a prophet
(Deuteronomy 18:15 and Acts 3:22-23), was a
priest (Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 9 and Hebrews 10),
was a king (Matthew 2:2, Matthew 21:4, Matthew
27:11 and Revelations 19:11-14), was the messiah
(1 Samuel 7), revealed the creator to humanity
(John 1:18, Hebrews 1:13-17), was the Son of Man
(which is a title for the messiah(Daniel 7:11-14,
Matthew 9:6, Matthew 20:28, Mark 8:38, John 1:51,
John 12:23, Acts 7:56 and revelation 1:1), was
declared to be the messiah by others (Luke 9:18-
20), called himself the messiah, was crucified for
the sins of the world – to pay for them (Isaiah 53,
Romans 4:25, 1 Peter 3:18 and 2 Corinthians 5:21),
healed the sick and cleansed the lepers (Mark 1:40-
45 and Mark 2:1-12), forgive sins (Marks 1:1-12),
salvation is found in no other name, was kind to
children (Mark 1:13-16).

4.) What will you do with Jesus?

Let me end off with this summary of Jesus by Philip
Yancey,

“Other people affected Jesus deeply: obstinacy frustrated
him, self-righteousness frustrated him, simple faith
thrilled him. Indeed, he seemed more emotional and
spontaneous than the average person, not less. More
passionate, not less. The more I studied Jesus, the more
difficult it became to pigeon hole him. He said little about
the Roman occupation, the main topic of conversation
among his countrymen, and yet he took up a whip to
drive petty profiteers from the Jewish temple; He urged
obedience to the Mosaic Law while acquiring the
reputation as a lawbreaker. He could be stabbed by
sympathy for a stranger, yet turned on his best friend with
the flinty rebuke, “Get behind me Satan!” He had
uncompromising view on rich men and loose women, yet
both types enjoyed his company. One-day miracles
seemed to flow out of Jesus; the next day his power was
blocked by peoples lack of faith. One day he talked in
detail of the second coming; another, he knew neither the
day not the hour. he fled form arrest at one point and
marched inexorably toward it as another. He spoke
eloquently about peacemaking, then told his disciples to
procure swords. His extravagant claims about himself
kept him at the center of controversy, but then he did
something truly miraculous he tended to hush it up. As
Walter Wink said, if Jesus had never lived, we would not
have been able to invent him.” (1995:23).

 

 

Chapter five: Reference list

1. (2011). The Holy Bible. Colorado Springs: Biblica.
2. Bilezikian G. (1993). Christianity 101. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan.
3. Blanchard J. (210). Dealing with Dawkins. EP Books.
4. Breshears G, Driscoll M. (2010). Doctrine, what
Christians should believe. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway.
5. Eaton M. (2011). Preaching through the Bible, 1 and
2 Corinthians. Kent: Sovereign World Trust.
6. Fee G. (2003. How to read the Bible for all it’s worth.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
7. Green J, Mcknight S. (1992). Dictionary of Jesus and
the Gospels. Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press.
8. Hofmeyer J, Pillay G. (1991). Perspectives on Church
History. Pretoria: De Jager – HAUM.
9. Keller T. (2008). The Reason for God. New York:
Riverhead Books.
10. Keller W. (1961). The Bible as History. Suffolk:
Richard Clay and Company Ltd.
11. Kuiper B. (1964). The Church in History. Grand
Rapids: Christian Schools International.
12. Latourette K. (1965). Christianity through the ages.
New York: Harper&Row.
13. Lewis C. (1944). Mere Christianity. London:
HarperCollins.
14. McDowell J. (1999). The New Evidence that
Demands a Verdict. Texas: Here’s life Publishers.
15. Spurgeon C. (1997). Discovering the Power of Christ,
the Warrior. Lynwood: Emerald Books.
16. Strobel L. (1998). The Case for Christ. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan.
17. Strobel L. (2000). The Case for Faith. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan.
18. Williams B. (2000). New Testament I: Life of Christ.
Bible Institute of South Africa.
19. Yancey P. (1995). The Jesus I Never Knew. Grand
Rapids: Zondervan.
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Keller, 1961:357. ● [4] Keller, 1961:357. ● [5] Keller,
1961:357. ● [6] McDowell, 1999:121. ● [7] McDowell
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Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:97. ● [22] Strobel, 1998:86. ●
[23] Strobel, 1998:86. ● [24] Latourette, 1965:69. ● [25]
Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:44. ● [26] Latourette, 1965:81. ●
[27] Qur’an 5:71-75. ● [28] Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:87. ●
[29] Latourette, 1965: 128. ● [30] Hofmeyer&Pillay,
1991:87. ● [31] Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:87. ● [32]
Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:90. ● [33] Hofmeyer&Pillay,
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[35] Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:185. ● [36]
Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:185. ● [37] Kuiper, 1964:282. ●
[38] Kuiper, 1964:282. ● [39] Latourette, 1965:239. ●
[40] Mormon Website. ● [41] Latourette, 1935:239. ●
[42] Latourette, 1965:239. ● [43] Green&Mcknight,
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Green&Mcknight, 1992:339. ● [46] Green&Mcknight,
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Hofmeyer&Pillay, 1991:293. ● [49] Strobel, 2000:263. ●
[50] Lewis, 1944:52. ● [51] Harris, 2007:40. ● [52] Harris,
2007:3-90. ● [53] http://y-jesus.com/wpcontent/tcpdf-pdf/1848.pdf
● [54] Bilezikian, 1993:81-
83. ● [55] Bilezikian, 1993:51-83. ● [56] Blanchard,
2010:68. ● [57] Blanchard, 2010:68. ● [58] Keller,
2008:101. ● [59] McDowell, 1999:136. ● [60] Latourette,
1965:14. ● [61] Jehovah’s Witness Website. ● [62]
Driscoll&Breshears, 2010:235. ● [63] Driscoll&Breshear,
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Spurgeon, 1997:80. ● [66] Spurgeon, 1997:81. ● [67]
Eaton, 2001:209. ● [68] Fee & Stuart, 2003:18