This is the fourth post in a series based on John Maisel’s lecture and book “Is Jesus God?” Click here to receive your free download of this resource.
One day Jesus asked some of His followers two questions:
- “Who does the world say that I am?”
- “Who do you say that I am?”
Those two questions are our starting point. First, who does the world say that Jesus Christ is? If you have already investigated Jesus Christ, you probably agree with most thinking people that Jesus is the most unique personality the world has ever known.
Jesus is not simply a great man among men; He’s the greatest man who has ever lived.
The more you study His life, the more you are impressed. Even atheists and skeptics acknowledge the uniqueness of Jesus. Listen to what the skeptics of the world have said about Jesus and His unparalleled contribution in human history.
Renan, the French thinker and atheist, has said, “Whatever surprises the future may bring, one thing is certain, Jesus will never be surpassed.”
Rousseau, another French thinker, compared Jesus with Socrates, saying, “If the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage-the life and death of Jesus were those of a God.”
Napoleon said, “I know men, and Jesus Christ was no mere man.
Lord Byron, the English poet, who certainly did not embrace Christian principles, and died at the age of twenty-six because he lived his life only for his selfish pleasure, said this of Jesus: “If ever a man were God, or God were a man, Jesus was both.
More recently one writer described His influence in this way:
“I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched and all the navies that were built, and all of the parliaments that ever have sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life, Jesus of Nazareth.”
So Jesus Christ, according to the skeptics and people who knew His life, is considered the most unique person who ever lived. Remember our question: “Who does the world say that Jesus Christ is?” Some people say that Jesus was a legend or a myth, that He never really existed.
Historian Phillip Schaff says, “The certainty of Jesus Christ is as certain as my own identity.”
Dr. F. F. Bruce has said, “Some people play with the myth, legend, ideal of Christ; those who do so, do not do so on the basis of historical investigation!”
Even secular historical sources such as Cornelius Tacitus, the Roman historian of the first century, speak in detail of the person of Christ. Flavius Josephus, the well-known first-century
Jewish historian, speaks of the life and death of Jesus and how He went about claiming to be the Messiah and performing great works. Skeptic H G. Wells, in The Outline of History, devotes over twenty pages to Jesus Christ, substantiating His life and death from a historical perspective.
Of course, in the Bible we have four different detailed accounts of the life of Christ. I realize that many people question the Bible’s historical authenticity, but once again we must take care with remarks that are not based upon thorough investigation.
As a matter of fact, there is more secular evidence for the historical reliability of the four Gospels than for any other piece of classical literature.
Next week, let me make a short detour and point out some basic facts about the bible’s reliability compared to other historical documents.