Recently I had a discussion on social media about the actual existence of Jesus. The person I was discussing this is selling a publication stating, and I paraphrase, there is not enough evidence to prove that Jesus existed. This skeptic even went as far to say that Jesus not existing does not invalidate the gospels! Well, I am afraid that without Jesus there is no Christianity. There is no atonement for our sin! There are more skeptics out there as well.
*This stance becomes problematic when we weigh the evidence that we do have. There are 43 plus sources within 150 years after the death of Jesus.
The 9 Secular Sources:
Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (Roman politician), Phlegon (freed slave who wrote histories), Lucian (Greek satirist), Celsus (Roman philosopher), Mara Bar Serapion (prisoner awaiting execution), Suetonius, and Thallus.
20 Early Christian Writers Outside the New Testament
Clement of Rome, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Fragments of Papias, Justin Martyr, Aristides, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Diognetus, Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Epistula Apostolorum.
4 Heretical Writings
Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, and Treatise on Resurrection.
9 Traditional New Testament Authors
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Author of Hebrews, James, Peter, and Jude.
Yes, even the New Testament authors! The New Testament is indeed a history book, and should be taken as such. There is something worthy to note, and that is there is five times the amount of evidence for Jesus’ life than there is for Tiberius Caesar’s! There is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in the Gospels, so this would date them before AD 70! Why would such an event not be noted? Because it was not known of before that date!
There is no better heresy than to deny Jesus, than preaching that He did not exist!
*Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004, p. 233.