What are the historical facts of Christís existence?
Apart from the historical content of the Gospels, Roman and Jewish texts record the activities of Christ and his followers.
Two well-known Roman writers—Pliny (writing in the year 112) and Tacitus (second century)—both mention Christians and clearly regarded them as troublemakers.
The Jewish historian Josephus writes at some length about Jesus Christ as the “miracle worker.”
He describes his life and death, and then writes about the “awe-inspiring signs” following the crucifixion.
Josephus was born a Jew and worked for many years for the Romans as a politician, soldier, and historian. He had no association with Christianity.
His identity and writings are absolutely authentic, and he provides an unbiased record of the reality of Christ’s life and death.
What is the point of following someone who died 2,000 years ago?
Christians don’t view Jesus as a dead historical character—similar to someone like Benjamin Franklin or Napoleon.
The central belief of Christians is that, after his death by crucifixion, Jesus was raised to life by God, his Father.
So it’s inaccurate to say that Christians follow someone who died 2,000 years ago. Christians believe Jesus is alive now and through his Spirit still has an influence on the lives of his friends and followers.
Over the last 2,000 years, millions of people have experienced the living presence of Jesus, and they have discovered the point of following him by experiencing the difference he makes in their lives.
How can anyone believe that Jesus Christ came back to life after dying on the cross?
You may be surprised to learn that Christians don’t believe Jesus came back to life.
They believe God, his Father, raised Jesus to a new kind of life—a life that’s eternal and which death can no longer touch. If Jesus had come back to life, he would still be subject to death, because death is an inevitable part of our human life. But Christians believe that the risen body of Jesus can never die again. He has conquered death. That’s why Christians say Jesus is alive now.
The foundation for belief in the resurrection rests on the witness of the first disciples of Jesus. They saw him after his resurrection and ate and drank with him. This experience of meeting the risen Lord transformed them. They became his witnesses—proclaiming that Jesus who was crucified had been raised to life. Many of those first witnesses were put to death for their belief.
The resurrection of Jesus is a unique event. We can’t describe it or say how it happened. Nor can it be proved scientifically. We can only say it did happen. For 2,000 years, Christians have proclaimed their faith in the resurrection of Jesus because they experience his abiding presence in their lives.