The Case for Christ – download the book here
For those Christians who would like to solidify their beliefs through facts in black and white, I suggest you read the Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I also suggest this book for people who have been skeptic in the Christian faith most especially in Jesus’ existence. This book presents different evidences like those presented in court in order to prove the existence and works of Jesus.
I will be sharing a chapter that was discussed in the book which I reported during the apologetics session of FORMDEV. The chapter’s entitled, “The Corroborating Evidence.”
The definition of corroborate is to make more certain or confirm. The chapter talks about different people during the early times (or the time of Jesus) who intentionally or accidentally mentioned the works of the Lord in their daily lives. For instance, Josephus, a first century historian born on AD 37 created a book called Antiquities. This is a history of the Jews from the creation until his time. A section there called Testimonium Flavianum talks about the life, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus. Although some of his works may have been interpolated, it still summarizes the events that happen in the life of Jesus. The corroboration of Josephus is very important since his citing of events are accurate with the correctness of his record on the Jewish War.
Another corroborator is Tacitus, who was a senator and a Roman historian. In his works, he mentioned that Nero persecuted the Christians in AD 115. He also mentioned Christus, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition. This previous statement corroborates to the existence of Jesus and that He suffered the extreme penalty which was crucifixion (during his time). He also mentioned the most mischievous superstition which was the spread of Christianity. How can you explain then the spread of a religion based on the worship of a man who had suffered the most ignominious death possible?
Some Jewish accounts also corroborate to the existence of Jesus. According to the Talmud, Jesus was referred to as false messiah who did magic and justly condemned to death. He was born from a Roman soldier and Mary with an unusual birth. Although of course it was written in their point of view, it still corroborates to the events that happened in the life of Jesus like unsual birth (born from a virgin), false messiah (He is the messiah), did magic (miracles) and condemend to death. In the Jewish literature, Jesus was regarded to as a teacher with disciples and a heretic deceiver. This corroborates to the existence of Jesus’ apostles and followers.
There are also people corroborated the time when the day went dark after Jesus died. In the book made by Thalus, it was written that there was darkness after the crucifixion of Jesus and he speculated that it was an eclipse. Tertullian aslo corroborated by stating that there was an eclipse visible in Rome, Athens and other Mediterranean cities. Phlegon in his book, corroborated in specifically that on the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., 33 A.D.) there was “the greatest eclipse of the sun” and that “it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. This statement is very straightforward to corroborate the event written in the bible.
What I mentioned above is an excerpt of the Case for Christ. I just put some explanation to make it more understandable. But the point of the chapter and the rest of the book is that the Holy Bible is not just a piece of book where stories are written. The events recorded there are true. Therefore, since there are corroborating evidences that confirm the events in the bible then the bible is also a history book not just stories or myths. Remember, the corroborating evidences come from documents not only from Christian but even those opposing Christianity.
Most of the skeptics don’t consider the bible as a source of history. But removing the bible as a source, other records will say that:
a. Jesus was a Jewish teacher
b. People believed that he performed healings and exorcisms
c. Some people believed he was the Messiah
d. He was rejected by the Jewish leaders
e. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius
f. Despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by A.D. 64
g. All kinds of people from the cities and countryside-men and women, slave and free-worshiped him as God
It still proves the exisitence and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. So if you are very factual and a person who needs to see to believe then you this should answer your questions. And the rest, I recommend you to read the book and it’s for you to judge.