To comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, (Ephesians 3:18)
No one has had as profound an impact on the history of this planet as Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and rightfully so because He created it and sustains it: All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3, JKV). Kingdoms and Empires have come and gone. Rulers and leaders of every stripe have arisen for a season and exited the stage of life only to vanish into the dusty trails of history. Some are remembered with honor while others have gone down into infamy. But Jesus has continued to be an imposing Presence towering over all historical events. Muggeridge succinctly observed this when he said, “Behind the debris of… self-styled, sullen supermen and imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind might still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ.”1
What is most astonishing and awe-inspiring about Jesus is His unquenchable love for the inhabitants of this planet; His eternal, unconditional and undying connectedness to you and I. There is no human language rich enough to adequately describe this love. But Scripture exhorts us to “comprehend…what is the width and length and depth and height of the love of Christ which passeth understanding…” (Eph. 3:18). How is it possible for us to comprehend love that is incomprehensible? Only with the help of the Holy Spirit can we catch a glimpse of this enigmatic attribute of our Lord, which the apostle Paul attempted to describe.
What is the width of Christ’s love? Blinded and exiled to the island of Patmos, the apostle John had a series of spectacular visions of heaven. He saw before the throne of God and the Lamb a multitude which no one could number. They came from “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” (Revelation 7: 9). An inter-ethnic, multi-racial, inter-generational community of the redeemed stood before the throne of God- thousands and thousands of glorified saints. Such is the inclusiveness and width of Jesus’ love. No one is banned from it who desires it. Everyone who comes to the Lord Jesus has the privilege of basking in this eternal agape love. That is how massive and intense and vast it is. In His love, there are no social strata, no castes, no walls of separation, nothing that insinuates a disadvantage. Just one blood-bought community standing before Him on level ground. Demoniacs, prostitutes, tax collectors, turncoats, and abusers of human rights have an equal opportunity to enter into this love.
The length of Jesus’ love is its timelessness. It extends from eternity past to eternity future. This love existed before the foundation of our universe, which means it transcends time and space. It is as old as our Lord. It was the motivation for the Plan of Redemption. Jesus’ love never wears out. From generation to generation it crowns our existence. It covers our earthly pilgrimage, keeps us in Him in death, and will rouse us into eternal existence at the resurrection to become part of the eternal family of God and His Christ, forever. Never are we ever separated from it. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom 8: 38, 39). Nothing can intercept or interrupt Jesus’ man-ward love, ever.
The depth of Jesus’ love is exemplified in His incarnation and all His experiences in His flesh. Of course, that was not the inception of His love for us. Rather that was when it began to be revealed and made manifest to us. Jesus condensed Himself so much that He injected Himself into the current of time and space not as an aristocrat but as a carpenter from a poor family. The apostle’s Christological hymn aptly expresses this: “Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross,” (Philippians 2: 6-8). The Incarnation is the most astonishing and mysterious historical event ever! In it, God displayed His shocking humility. In this Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace, God became one with you and I. He grew human limbs and organs and sinew. He had a skeletal system and a circulatory system, too. He became fully human subject to death although He remained fully divine. His life of self-expenditure on our behalf is incomprehensible. It is beyond the grasp of the human mind. The Creator of billions of galaxies and complex life forms became a creature Himself. He condensed Himself into an embryo in His creature’s womb and trusted her with all aspects of His childhood. Since the Incarnation, humanity has been elevated and dignified in a most amazing manner. Jesus allowed Satan to tempt Him, His brothers to doubt His divinity, Church leaders to deride Him and to finally hand Him over to a pagan Empire to crucify Him. On the Cross, He became the sinner’s substitute. Every type of human sin was laid on Him and, because of that, He experienced something He had never experienced before: He was separated from His Father’s face. All alone, He walked through palpable spiritual darkness to destroy the works of the Enemy. His was the greatest battle ever fought by one Man on a hill called Calvary-for your sake and mine. All the powers of darkness were unleashed against Him. The only weapon He had was His love for you and I, and that was enough. This is how deep His love is, and much, much more. But the story does not end here.
The apostle urges us to contemplate and to know the height of Jesus love, too! Jesus, the Eternal Prophet, Priest, and King burst out of the tomb to die no more. He de-fanged death and the grave could not hold Him back. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death,” (Revelation 1:18). When He ascended back to His Father, He did not go alone, but took you and I in Him to sit on the right hand of the throne of majesty, above all principalities and powers. We have passed from death unto life because of Jesus (John 5:24). We have inherited what we do not deserve; what we never worked for – eternal life through Him and with Him. He has given us a weapon with which to overcome the Enemy, His blood (Rev. 12:11). We are now a kingdom of priests in Him who ever lives to make intercession for us. Furthermore, when He appears again, we shall be as He is (1 John 3:2). He will transform our mortal bodies to be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:2). His love has done all this for you and for I. Is it any wonder it passeth understanding?
1 Muggeridge, M. In Ravi Zacharia’s Book: Deliver Us From Evil: Restoring the Soul in a Disintegrating Culture, Dallas, USA: Word Publishing, 1996, pp. 187-8.
Without Jesus nothing was made that was made (John 1:3) and without Him, there is no resurrection. He is both the life and the resurrection. Life inheres in Him.
The intriguing story of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, illustrates and authenticates the claims above. The Bible tells us that Jesus loved the family of Lazarus, Martha and Mary (John 11:5). They were hospitable and kind to Him and received Him in their home from time to time. Therefore, when Lazarus became terminally ill, his sisters sent word to Jesus to inform him about Lazarus’ illness. Ordinarily, when a good friend falls ill with a life-threatening disease, we make it a point to rush to their side to give them the support and comfort they need. But in this case, the Bible says that when Jesus heard about Lazarus’ grave illness, He said “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it,” (John 11:4), and He remained where He was for an additional two days during which Lazarus died. Strangely enough, upon hearing about the death of Lazarus’ death, Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus was merely sleeping. He seemed completely unfazed by Lazarus’ death. He did not even rush to attend the funeral. This must have really puzzled the sisters who must have expected Him to come and heal Lazarus the way He had healed other people, and even raised some from the dead.
Jesus finally went to be with the sisters. When He came near their town, Martha hurried to meet Him while Mary remained at home with the mourners. Martha told Jesus what she thought He would have done if He had been present: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died, (John 11:21). When Mary finally came to the burial site, she reiterated her sister’s sentiments. They both had faith in Jesus, but they did not understand why He had not risen to their expectations during a difficult time in their lives. May be right now the reader feels that Jesus has abandoned them while they are going through a difficult time. When my daughter died, I knew that Jesus could have healed her if He had willed. But He did not. I still believe in Him even when I do not understand what is going on in the spiritual world; behind the physical veil of this life. When Rick Warren was asked this question during a CNN interview after the death of his son by suicide: “Looking back, is it possible to begin to see purpose in your pain?” He said he had struggled with the “why” questions: “Why didn’t you [God] answer the prayer I prayed every day for 27 years?” The prayer I prayed more than any other prayer went unanswered. But… What you need in tragedy is not an explanation, you need the presence of God.” Truer words have never been spoken. God’s presence in our lives is what has kept my family going, too.
During His conversation with Martha, Jesus made a staggering claim that has forever changed mankind’s view of death: “I am the resurrection and life…,” He said. Martha believed in an eschatological resurrection as she confessed to Jesus. She understood the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. But Jesus was trying to help her understand that the resurrection was not an event, as such. It was the Person standing right beside her. He is the life. Where there is resurrection, death is impotent and where life thrives, death is absent. In a nutshell, in Jesus, there is no death. In Him the dead do not pass into oblivion. They live on although they are separated from the physical life. Lazarus was not late Lazarus to Jesus. He was just Lazarus. Indeed Lazarus’ body had ceased to function and his flesh was decomposing, going back into the dust. But although its chemical properties had begun to disintegrate and the blood was no longer circulating, Lazarus was still within earshot of the voice of Jesus. There is never a point at which we are beyond Jesus’ voice or reach. Before the multitude in Bethany stood One who substituted the present for a future event of hope. What had ceased to exist was merely the tent housing Lazarus (2 Cor. 5:1). But to Jesus, Lazarus was more than his physical body. Human beings are spiritual beings and that is what connects us to our Creator God since the flesh has no interest in divine things (Gal 8:8).
Barclay aptly observed, in “Jesus Christ, we know that we are journeying not to the sunset, but to the sunrise” of eternal life with Him. Jesus’ voice pierced the heart of darkness that had engulfed Lazarus in his death, and shone the light of His life. Jesus completely altered the character of death so that although it remains, it is a powerless leviathan to the believer because of the continuity of life inherent in the Person of Christ, our Lord.
Human understanding is always restricted and crippled by our experiences on this earth. The present so pre-occupies us that it has obscured the future, particularly in spiritual issues. Judging from what obtained in the present, Martha implicitly told the Lord that He was too late to do anything for Lazarus. Her view was confined to time and space: “If you had been here…” She thought that Jesus had to be physically present in their geographic location to heal her brother. Capitulation to the prison of time and space limits our focus to what we believe to be present reality, and makes us lose sight of that which is possible. Consequently, our straggling modicum of faith becomes frayed by our fixation to the present; to that which is temporary at the expense of the eternal.
Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead reveals to us that He has permanently defeated death. This means that we have hope even when our loved ones succumb to physical death…
Human beings have spiritual acuity that allows them to experience both the physical and spiritual realms because they are made in the image of God. Although invisible to the eye, the spiritual realm surrounds and undergirds the physical realm. The spiritual realm is eternal while the physical realm is temporary. Human beings are born in the physical realm. They grow and blossom, but soon the telltale signs of their mortality begin to manifest themselves. Our bodies begin to betray us with incessant aches and pains due to degeneration. Finally, our relentless efforts to patch them up, and mend them and restore them back to health fail, and we die. But because we are more than just flesh and sinew, Scripture exhorts us to shift our focus to the spiritual; to remember that even if “our earthly house or tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” (2 Corinthians 5:1). This is where our hope should be anchored during our brief earthly pilgrimage. We are exiles from our eternal home, but we can catch a glimpse of it even in the flesh. This is what gives meaning to our existence.
The spiritual realm is real. It is unlimited and unrestricted, and it will ultimately determine the fate of the physical realm because it has transcendent power and authority. Everything is possible in the spiritual realm. The limitations and uncertainties that characterize the physical realm are of no essence in the spiritual realm. Sometimes the spiritual realm penetrates the physical realm and intersects it to direct and steer its affairs in a specific direction. For example, the angel Gabriel appeared to the elderly Priest Zacharias to announce the birth of a son to him. Zacharias’ son would prepare the way for the One who would change the history of this planet forever by establishing the kingdom of God in the hearts of His followers. After the announcement, the angel stepped back into the spiritual realm and became invisible again. To authenticate his first message, he came back and appeared to Mary to announce the birth of the Lord Jesus. Then again he stepped back into the spiritual realm. On some occasions, human beings have had the privilege of seeing into the spiritual realm. For example, when the king of Syria gathered his military forces and surrounded the Prophet Elisha’s dwelling place with chariots of war in order to destroy him, the prophet was unfazed. To calm down his frightened and frantic servant, Elisha asked God to open his eyes and allow him to see into the spiritual realm. The servant saw chariots of fire surrounding the hills where the prophet was. Forces in the spiritual realm were arrayed for battle to protect the man of God. The Bible tells us that it is the invisible realm that created things in the physical realm.
But there are some that dismiss this as mere wishful thinking. Sigmund Freud, for example, said that religion is a reversion to childish ways of thinking. Similarly, the American president of atheists, David Silverman says this about things of the spiritual realm: “Even children know churches spew absurdity, which is why they don’t want to attend services. Enjoy the time with your family and friends instead. Today’s adults have no obligation to pretend to believe the lies their parents believed. It’s OK to admit that your parents were wrong about God, and it’s definitely OK to tell your children the truth.”1 Stephen Hawking thinks that belief in the spiritual realm is for people who are afraid of the dark. What is amazing is that these individuals do believe in the reality of the invisible realm themselves. For example, they believe in the reality of radiation, the electromagnetic field, gravity, and many more. They also believe the wave function of the universe, which they believe is designed to represent the behavior of the universe. But this wave function has never been observed, “seen, measured, assessed or tested” by any of its proponents.2 This is all based on a theory; a speculation promulgated by physicists and yet they believe it, totally. But when it comes to spiritual things, their argument is that there is not enough evidence. When Bertrand Russell was asked what his defense would be if on judgment day God should ask him, “Why didn’t you believe in Me? Russell said his reply would be “Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!” Maybe the word evidence is being loosely used and thrown around without taking into account its variant application in different disciplines and professions. For example, what a farmer might consider evidence for a bumper harvest of his crop might not make sense to a school teacher. But that does not mean the farmer is lying because, chances are, the teacher has no clue about evidence of predictors of a bumper harvest. Evidence in music might be totally different from evidence in chemistry. Similarly, an atheist physicist or cosmologist has no grounds for dismissing what the theologian claims to be evidence for the existence of God. If he or she did, they would be entering uncharted territory where their expertise would be limited.
1 DeMar, G. (2014). American Atheists Hide Behind the Fairy Tale of Evolution. Accessed from https://americanvision.org/11504/american-atheists-hide-behind-fairy-tale-evolution/
2 Berlinski, D. (2008). Th Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, Crown Forum, New York. pp. 100
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men,” (Matthew 16:23, NKJV).
Satan relentlessly stalked Jesus throughout His life. He had even sought to snuff out His life through Herod’s crime of infanticide. Demons recognized Him and trembled in His presence as He drove them out of people, and shattered the fetters of death. This portended Satan’s ultimate defeat. This was a defining moment in earth’s history and the battle lines were drawn.
Jesus was not oblivious of His impending ignominious death. He told His disciples “”The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things…” (Matt. 9:22, NIV). He knew that the hour for which He had come into the world was the very hour He would leave it. Nevertheless, He resolved to go through it all. This is one death that would tilt the scale in favor of mankind forever by providing the opportunity to be reconciled with our original family, the family of God. Eternal life was within reach, but only through the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God. That’s why Satan was desperately trying to subvert the entire plan by inducing Peter to dissuade Jesus from going through such a painful experience. Satan knows the keen aversion and natural repugnance of the human flesh to pain and death and he attempted to exploit it with the Lord.
Jesus’ sharp response to Peter’s rebuke reveals that He felt the deep barbs of this persuasive temptation that was buttressed with earthly logic from a beguiling nemesis masquerading as a sympathetic disciple. Erring affection should never be entertained. Our most severe temptation can come from those who are unreservedly loyal and close to us. Now, was Peter the embodiment of Satan at this time? Of course not. But he was momentarily a pawn in the adversary’s grip. Jesus’ sharp vision into the spiritual world discerned the twistedness of Peter’s love in his adversarial remark and quickly silenced him. Jesus addressed Satan through the creature he had influenced. This was not the first time this had happened. When God pronounced a curse on Satan in the Garden of Eden, He had addressed the serpent, which Satan had influenced to tempt Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14,15). Jesus’ stinging counter-rebuke to Peter’s was directed at the Enemy and was also meant to jolt the erring disciple into objective reality as a follower of the Lord and not His leader. Have you ever heard a close associate or family member say to you when things are going tough: “I cannot understand why God is doing this to you?” If you think that is from the Holy Spirit, think again. We can never love anyone more than God loves them. But we can inadvertently love them away from God’s purpose for their lives. The best of our intentions are often self-serving and, as such, they are often at variance with God’s will.
The response Jesus gave Peter matched the temptation: Stern and firm, but instructive. Jesus used almost the same phraseology He had used against Satan in the third temptation in the wilderness. Through Peter, Satan was expressing his design to distract the Lord from His Father’s will by offering Him a short cut to glory. Jesus had to repel Satan’s cruel joke of pursuing self-preservation at the expense of God’s purpose for Him. Jesus’ determination to undergo severe suffering to accomplish His mission drew a distinct line that separated the carnal mind from the spiritual. It does not suffice to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah while denying His suffering and death. There is no Gospel message in the absence of the cross and we can never hope to reign with Him unless we are also willing to suffer with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). Disciples of Jesus of every age must not only acknowledge that there is a price to be paid in following Jesus, but they must be willing to embrace that price. Watchman Nee once remarked that the way of the cross is splattered with blood. This is not masochism. It is just how the rules in God’s kingdom operate. This is a kingdom that thrives on sacrificial love. Its laws are diametrically opposed to those of the kingdom of the world. There will never be a point of intersection or convergence for the two. To attempt to interpret the events of the kingdom of God in the context of worldly wisdom is to miss the point, entirely. This is a kingdom whose rules are inversely related to those of the kingdoms of this world…where death is a prerequisite to life.
…to be continued
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/
What makes the Christian faith distinctive are its claims that it can be verified by evidence extracted from historical accounts, both biblical and extra-biblical. But a body of thinkers founded on historical relativism has been challenging the veracity and objectivity of historical records and even history itself as a discipline. Historical relativism denies the reliability of historical records including biblical accounts. The protagonists of this worldview have two main objections: a) that it is not possible for anyone to know exactly what took place in the past since it can no longer be directly observed by anyone, having disappeared into the dusty trails of memory; b) that there is no neutrality in historical accounts; that since there is a lack of direct access to past events our perception of them is inevitably molded by our culture, environment, and passage of time. Relativists argue that no one is able to reconstruct historical events without bias and that historical accounts are mere personal interpretations of what is assumed to have happened in the past. Therefore, the reality of past events and their truth and relevance are otiose and should be treated as such. Historical relativists further contend that unlike scientific investigation which has, at hand, the objects of experimentation that allow the scientist to repeatedly test his hypothesis and experiment, the historical objects that are needed for observable experimentation and investigation of past events are no longer in existence for the historian.
Historians and apologists have not taken this intellectual assault lying down, as it were. They have come back swinging with stinging critiques against relativists. Although they concede that past events are no longer observable, they reject the contention that they are merely biased reconstructionists of historical events and that there is no credence in their reports. Historians assert that just as the scientist is dependent on reports, evidence, and findings of previous research by his peers, the historian is also dependent on archaeological reports of his peers and other evidence and reports of eye-witnesses of past events. For example, it would be folly to reject the historicity of the assassination of President James A. Garfield, the 20th president of the United States on July 2, 1881 at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station less than four months into his term as chronicled by eyewitnesses although this is no longer an observable event! History can be evidence-based and this is what gives it credibility. Regarding the relativists’ objection that historians are not able to objectively reconstruct past events due to being shaped by their personalities and environments and culture, historians argue that there is a plethora of commonly-held and indubitable records of historical facts that are not influenced by cultural or personality bias. For example, the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, the epidemic of the Spanish flu of 1918, the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in Belgium at the hands of the Duke of Wellington on June 18, 1815 are all factual historical events. The objectivity of these historical events has nothing to do with the personalities of the historians who reported them. They are just there…plain facts. The content of the accounts is what matters. In the same manner the accounts of the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ were chronicled by Gospel writers who were eye-witnesses to these events. This is what gives them credibility. Probably the relativists’ confusion is between historical propaganda and factual historical accounts. The apostle John says that “these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…” John 20:31. He wrote what he witnessed for the sake of future generations just like any other eyewitness of other historical events. The relativists’ attempts to discredit history as a discipline is really a covert attack on the foundational tenets of the Christian faith.
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Skeptics discount the existence of Jesus as a mere myth. Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, once remarked that “Historically, it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all…” When someone said to him, “What will you do, Mr. Russell, if after you die you discover there is a God after all? What will you say to Him?” Russell quipped with characteristic arrogance, “I will tell Him He just did not give me enough evidence.”
Even without reference to Scripture the case for the existence of Jesus is as axiomatic as the case for any other historical figure such as Julius Caesar. Extra biblical material compiled by historians and archaeologists is replete with attestations that the Lord Jesus walked on earth in the flesh. Bible students interested in studying further about the testimonies of non-Christian historical sources can look up the following:
1. Mara bar Serapion (Post A.D. 70) in a Syrian manuscript. 14.658. Serapion referred to Jesus as a wise King executed by his own people…
2. Tacitus (AD 56-120). Annals 15-44. Tacitus was a great Roman historian who wrote that “Christians derived their name from a man called Christ who during the reign of Emperor Tiberius had been executed by sentence of the procurator, Pontius Pilate. That checked the pernicious superstition for a short time, but it broke out afresh-not only in Judaea, where the plague first arose, but in Rome itself, where all the horrible and shameful things in the world collect and find a home.” (Excerpt from F. F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the Gospels, Page 22).
3. Pliny the Younger (AD 61.113). Letters 10.96;
4. Suetonius (AD 120). Life of Claudius 25.4
5. Josephus (i) AD 37-100. Jewish antiquities 18.63-64;
6. Josephus (ii) AD 30-100. Josephus wrote that Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again at 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.”18.63.64.
7. Celsus (AD 175). Contra Celsum 1.32.33.
How is that for lack of evidence???