The centrality of the person of Jesus Christ to the Christian faith is an indubitable fact. Jesus is the foundation upon which the Christian faith stands. He is the pillar that holds up the faith; the epicenter around which every Christian tenet and doctrine revolves. He is the essence of Christianity. Accepting and confessing Him as Lord and Savior is the prerequisite for conversion to Christianity.
However, the post-enlightenment era had reservations about the above proclamations about Jesus. This was a period that saw the rise of what became known as the Life of Jesus movement, which was an attempt by some historians to research and investigate who the historical Jesus really was. These people did not believe the accounts of the Gospel writers whom they suspected to have somewhat embellished the image of the “real” Jesus to deify Him. They were intent on “pulling the mask off” the image of Jesus portrayed by biblical authors, particularly the gospel writers of the New Testament and “exposing” the historical Jesus for who He really was. Some of the individuals who doubted the authenticity and accuracy of biblical testimony include David Friedrich Strauss who rejected the gospel accounts as mere reiterations of Old Testament stories and not facts drawn from the life of the real Jesus. He dismissed the miracles as plain myths. Albert Schweitzer, the renown medical missionary who spent a considerable part of his life in Africa indicated that “Jesus may have been psychologically deranges; hence his eschatological expectation and suicidal course of action” (Craig, 2008, 3rd ed.). Similar sentiments were share by Hermann Samuel Reimarus, Adolf von Harnack etc. The tendency has been to dismiss the testimonies of the gospel writers as mere superfluities of a group of “primitive” fishermen steeped in superstition.
The fact is that Jesus does not need to rely on the authentication of human minds to be who He is for He originated from God the Father and not in a sin-saturated mind. Only God can validate His Son. That He is LORD forever can never be shaken by any form of historical investigation. It is one immovable, unshakable, permanent foundational truth. The Jesus that could be subjected to human dissection never existed. The real Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, simultaneously, and not subject to temporal conditions. How do you dissect a being like that? He creates history and steers the events of the nations to their final destiny. His towering image continues to fascinate not just historians but musicians, theologians, movie directors and authors throughout history. The book that testifies of His life, the Bible, continues to be the world’s best seller, according to Guinness World Records. He is the living Lord and not some concocted abstraction by some historians. How in the world could all eleven disciples opt to risk their lives and be martyred than stop proclaiming Him as the Son of God if this was a hoax? Scripture tells us that 500 more people saw Him after His resurrection. Are all these minds inferior to those of a couple of historians of the 19th and 20th centuries??? This is what Josephus, a non-Christian writer says about Jesus “And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him [Jesus] to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (69-130 AD) confirms the Christian faith as being founded in Jesus the Christ… and so do many other notable historians.
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Craig, William L. (2008, 3rd ed.). Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, pp. 290. Crossway, Wheaton, IL.
Guinness World Records (2014). Best Selling Book of Non-Fiction. Accessed August 2014. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-1/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/