Today is Easter Day, so may I wish you a very Happy Easter! “At Easter Christians will be remembering how Jesus Christ showed the ultimate service and hope of eternal life through his death and resurrection. Let us resolve to show some of that service by giving some of our most vulnerable a new life, and a hope for the future.” These are not my words, but the words of David Burrowes, the British Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate, writing in the Huffington Post, as he makes an impassioned plea for the British authorities to help individual refugees settle into normal life here in the UK more quickly. What a surprise to find someone in public life acknowledging the fact that Jesus did actually die and rise again!
Recently I have read much ‘fake news’, or more correctly false information, about Jesus; from online comments declaring that Jesus never existed and that there’s no evidence that he ever did, to a historian who claims that Jesus was really a warrior king called Izas Manu of Edessa and Adiabene. So what a surprise it was to find an article by Dr Simon Gathercole on the Guardian.com website last week, which spelled out the historical facts, showing that Jesus really did exist. It’s conclusions are that, “the historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread,” and “the value of this evidence is that it is both early and detailed.”
The Guardian article goes on to say that, “Strikingly, there was never any debate in the ancient world about whether Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure.” Yet today there are intellectuals who still deny the existence of Jesus, declaring it simply a myth. But as the article says, this “Jesus-myth” approach is criticised most heavily by the two mainstream historians “Maurice Casey (formerly of Nottingham University) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina)”, who are themselves atheists, and have nothing to gain by suggesting that Jesus actually lived. In fact they describe the “Jesus-myth” approach as “pseudo-scholarship”. I have met many people, who tell me Jesus wasn’t a historical figure, but who have never studied the evidence. Is it that they are afraid of what they might find? Because the evidence for his existence also corroborates his words, which are both life-giving and full of love, yet personally challenging. He is a fascinating figure.
The video above asks the question, “Do you know Him?” Yes, the historical Jesus can not only be known about, but can also be known personally today. “Do you know Him?”