Archeology is providing information that Jesus of Nazareth was not and is not a myth, but walked our planet some 2000 years ago for about 33 years, died and was resurrected.
The blog of August 28, 2015 addressed the issue of whether Jesus was a ‘copycat’ version of some other so called deity of the past. The October 29, 2015 blog noted what historians from the past recorded about him.
The bottom line for all the blogs is to answer the question, is there a God? In order to determine a valid conclusion one needs to look at all the evidence. As was mentioned in a previous blog, Satan, going back to the distant past, rebelled which had very negative ramifications for all life on earth. As humans we were not and are not exempted. However, we know from scripture that Jesus came to address the evil that came from Satan’s actions.
Palestine in Jesus’ time had a population of about a half million. The average life span reportedly was only about 40 years and many children died at an early age. The scriptures tell us that droves of people followed Jesus to receive help. Medical knowledge was minimal so there was a great deal of suffering.
Jesus healed the sick and the demonized wherever he went. There were others with the name Jesus, but it was only Jesus of Nazareth who could bring relief for the suffering, die, be resurrected, and provide redemption for all mankind. If Jesus had died and not been resurrected he would be considered to be just another philosopher, mentioned briefly in University introductory philosophy courses. However, he was God in the flesh and is alive. This is difficult for non-believers to grasp because of the belief that nothing incorporeal exists.
History tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection he told his followers to go and preach the good news everywhere. In addition there were times when Christians were persecuted and many martyred. Many moved on to other locations. At first Christians worshipped in their homes. As their numbers grew they built small churches where they could meet and worship. Archeologists are finding some of the churches from early Christian times. Over time these churches disintegrated and often destroyed by invading armies. Jerusalem, for example, although not a minor centre, has been overrun by seven different armies and usually rebuilt.
Recently, an ancient church has been unearthed in Jordan. If you enter into your computer, World”s Oldest Christian Church, Jordan, you can view the floor mosaic laid down in about 230 CE. A dedicatory phrase was found that reads, ‘to God Jesus Christ’. According to current information at least 40 such ancient churches have been discovered. The early Christians knew that information passed down to them by previous Christians was reliable, because miracles were still happening as they did in Jesus time and as they did in the time of the apostles. All the early churches being discovered today are evidence that Jesus was not a myth.
With Constantine as Roman Emporer (306-337) the Christian faith was tolerated and larger churches became more common. Enter, ‘Constantine and Churches’, and you can view the larger churches of that time.
As churches were established in the early years of Christianity, church leaders wrote letters as there was no bible as we know it today. The letters were written on papyrus, a plant material, or on parchment made from animal skins and formed into a scroll. All the originals, it seems, are lost, but early copies have been found.
In 1934 an Oxford Scholar, while sorting through unpublished papyrus belonging to the John Rylands library recognized a fragment in Greek containing part of four lines from the gospel of John 18:37-38. The fragment, among other items, had been found by a farmer in a town along the Nile River in Egypt. Scholars have dated it to be from about the beginning of the second century. Since it is a copy of an original, the original very likely was written by John, an eye witness of Jesus. There is no evidence from this piece of archeology that Jesus was a myth.
An author, Josh Mcdowell, in his book, ‘Undaunted’, tells he was an atheist and was going to prove Christianity was a sham. He went to Europe to talk to scholars to get the information he needed. He also went to the John Ryland museum and there he saw the fragment mentioned in the above paragraph. The fragment when matched with our modern bible said in part, with Jesus speaking, “I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice….and (Pilate) going again to the people said to them, “I find no fault in him”. (John 18:37-38).
The fragment mentioned above is on display in the John Rylands University Museum. You can see it by entering into your search engine: John Rylands University Library, Papyrus P52.
Jesus said, “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38)
Jesus speaking said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”. (Luke !9:10)
Archeology is one indicator, among others, that Jesus is not a myth. He is looking for you and if you look for him he will become your friend.