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Imagine serving on a jury. You have the testimony of one witness that the defendant committed the crime. Do you convict? Well, maybe. It depends on what you believe about the truthfulness of the witness and his or her motivation. Now, imagine you had the testimony of two or three independent witnesses saying the same thing. I think you’d agree, this makes it easier to convict. The more sources, the more assurance we have the true story.
So what about Jesus? Did he really live? Was he really crucified? Do we only have the testimony of his followers? Actually, we have several non-Christian sources that tell us Jesus lived. All of these sources wrote within 100 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. Here are some of them:
- Josephus, a Jewish historian, refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, called the Christ.”
- Tacitus, a Roman historian, refers to Christ and his crucifixion by Pontius Pilate
- Suetonius, another Roman historian, wrote about Emperor Claudius expelling Jews from Rome because of disturbances that involved Chrestus, a Latin variant of “Christ.”
- The Talmud, a Jewish document, refers to Yeshu, a form of the name “Jesus.”
- Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor ruling in areas that are now Turkey, wrote a letter about those who worship Christus, another Latin variant of “Christ.”
You see, we have more than just two or three non-Christian sources that speak of Jesus. There are eleven. Rest assured, Jesus is real.
*”Sources for the historicity of Jesus,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sources_for_the_historicity_of_Jesus
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.