Did Jesus really exist? (Part 1)

Did Jesus even exist at all? The answer is “yes.” Evidence for Jesus’ life survives in writings outside of the pages of Scripture.

Usually, people associate Jesus with good works and miracles, thinking of Him as being very popular. But the Bible also records that He was a wanted man—in a criminal sense. John 11:57 says, “But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.”

Outside of the Bible, evidence for this indictment appears in the Talmud for Yeshu Hannotzri, or “Jesus the Nazarene.” It says, “He shall be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and lured Israel into apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf. Anyone who knows where he is, let him declare it to the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.” Jesus had a warrant out for His arrest by the Jewish authorities for practicing “sorcery” and for “luring Israel into apostasy,” or leading people astray from God. Notice that Jesus was accused of sorcery, so His opponents admitted that He had supernatural ability. However, they simply attributed it to the devil. This fits perfectly with accounts such as Matthew 12:22-24: “Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.’” So we have a biblical and historical record of a Jesus who did supernatural things, and who was consequently a wanted man by the Jewish authorities.

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