Historian and writer H.G. Wells wrote, “It is interesting and significant that a historian, without any theological bias whatever, should find that he cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth. A historian like myself, who does not even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man.”
If you read the four Gospel accounts for yourself you will see that the picture of a real personality emerges. You sense a real person who went against the social norms of his time. He cared for the poor, taking a personal interest in neglected women and children. He stood up against the powerful religious and political system. His disciples did the same.
First century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus not only acknowledged the existence of Jesus Christ in his well documented book, “Jewish Antiquities,” but confirms how Ananus, a high priest in the first century “convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.”
Other writers who were hostile to Christianity also made mention of Christ and his impact on those who were willing to die for exercising faith in him. In his historical biography, “The Twelve Caesars,” Roman historian Suetonius wrote regarding Roman Emperor Claudius: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he expelled them from the city.”
The Encyclopedia Britannica concluded, “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus.”
As Historian Will Durant said, in the first century, to deny that Christ had ever existed “seems never to have occurred even to the bitterest Gentile or Jewish opponents of nascent (just beginning) Christianity.”
“The Historians’ History of the World” noted, “The historical result of his (Jesus’) activities was more momentous even from a strictly secular standpoint, than the deeds of any other character of history. An new era, recognized by the chief civilizations of the world dates from his birth.”
Elaborating further on this, the World Book Encyclopedia says, “Dates before that year are listed as B.C. or before Christ. Dates after that year are listed as A.D. or Anno Domini (in the year of our Lord).”
That was the kind of impact this man from Nazareth had on the world. No one could have dreamed up such a detailed character, so different than anyone in his time, or even in our time — especially a few men who were described at Acts 4:13 as “uneducated and untrained men.” — New King James Version.
Durant reasoned, “That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”
Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Read it for yourself with an open mind and see how real this person becomes to you and throughout your life. You don’t have to ask around, solicit the thoughts of others. At Romans 12:2, the Author of this inspired book says, “Do not be like the people of this world, but have a new mind. Then you will prove for yourselves what God wants you to do.” — Worldwide English (New Testament).
Why not prove it to yourself? Read about this historical figure and decide whether he lived and died as millions believe today. The behavior of this wise and wonderful man, whom we call Jesus, was out of the ordinary in first century Rome and in Jerusalem. His simple truths are quoted often, his ways are admired by leaders of other religions, government officials around the world and educators from all walks of life.
Jesus took time to listen to children, to help widows and orphans, to lay his hands on those in physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Could you forget such a man? He defied his generation of leaders and stood next to lowly people who could not stand up for themselves. He got up early in the morning, went out to declare good news to people and didn’t rest until late at night, sometimes not at all. He prayed for them, cried with them and always encouraged them. Could you ever forget such a man?
Nearly 2,000 years later and more people believe in the reality of Jesus than what they are able to see with their literal eyes! Their faith in his existence and sacrificial death on behalf of the world is so powerful, that they are willing to sacrifice all they have to follow in his example. Like many people today, I believe Jesus lived, died and was raised to heavenly glory. And the world is better for it!