Are the Stories of Jesus Really True?

In my last blog, I demonstrated that the Bible is not a myth or an invented story, as some people claim.  Some still assert that the stories of Jesus are not really true.  However, anyone asserting such a radical claim must be able to prove it using sufficient enough proof to overturn the vast amount of evidence in favor of the Bible.

Now, usually, the Apostles are accused of inventing the story, either because they really wanted Jesus to be divine, or because they wished to deceive others with this story.  For anyone mildly acquainted with Jewish belief, the first objection holds absolutely no weight.  No Jew in history would think that a human being would be divine or rise from the dead, so the Apostles would never have made up such a preposterous story about it, much less attempt to convince others of its reality.

Some people may not like President Barak Obama and may even speak ill of him.  However, nobody would seek to write an authoritative account of his life, claiming that he was a woman.  Not even his most ardent followers could convince people that he was actually a superhero with the powers of flight and invisibility.  This would be laughable.  It would be the same for the Apostles if they actually attempted to fashion a story inventing a divine Jesus who rose from the dead – either by accident or because they “wanted Him to.”  No Jewish person would even conceive of such a story in their mind to concoct, much less then trying to convince others of it.

Thus, the Apostles would have had no good motive to preach the resurrection of Jesus as the Jews were the least likely people in all of history to believe a story where a “man” was “divine” and rose from the dead.  All throughout the Old Testament, it teaches that God is God, God alone, and there is no one like Him or beside Him.  This was drilled into their Jewish heads from childhood.  Therefore, to create a lie that a poor carpenter was actually  God Himself would be doomed to utter failure if not true.  A lie like that is just as preposterous as believing Obama was a female superhero.

Philosopher Peter Kreeft rightly adds, “There could be no possible motive for such a lie.  Lies are always told for some selfish advantage.  What advantage did the [Apostles] derive from their lie?  They were hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled, and fed to the lions. Hardly a category of perks.”[1]

So, in other words, the Apostles didn’t receive fame, fortune, women, or anything other perk that comes with inventing tall tales.  Rather, they were tortured, persecuted, and killed … all for a lie?  If this story was just invented, someone needs to demonstrate a credible motive.

The Gospel and New Testament writers (unlike the Gnostics, for example, who wrote hundreds of years later), were people who knew Jesus and his followers.  Some walked with him, touched Him, spoke with Him, and learned from Him every day and every night for years (or they knew the people who did).  This is additionally authenticated by their knowledge of dates, specific places, famous people, first century Jerusalem, and other information that non-eyewitnesses could not have known about as well.  This is important.

All of these dates, people, places, and events that the New Testament authors detailed were written within the time of eye-witnesses.  What does this mean?  It means that all of it could proven or disproven, verified or shown to be false.  If the Apostles merely invented this story, or if there were mythical layers added on, then people need to demonstrate who did it, how, when, and why … and why nobody ever pointed out any errors or proposed to possess the true historical account.

All of the people of the first century knew the stories, the traditions and passed them on faithfully.  Some of these stories and details, as mentioned in my last blog, were verified by Jewish and Roman historians who had no vested interest in Jesus or Christianity.

Lastly, there needs to be a good deal of time for myth and legend to develop, and there was not enough time for this to take place (as we will see in the next blog).  Thus, the evidence that the Bible writers had other motives or were themselves deceived is not in the least bit credible or convincing.  Therefore, the Gospels and the stories of Jesus are true and can be trusted!

[1] Kreeft, Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics