A friend of mine posted this on their Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. And I preface this my saying I think David Cross is a very funny individual. And I don’t know him personally so I can’t speak to his character, but I’m sure he’s a delightful person. I’m just glad I don’t look at celebrities for my religious compass.
His comment to this was, how can I believe in something that has all these variables? How can we know that Jesus even walked the earth, performed miracles, healed the sick, I mean, did this guy even exist?
I tried to break it down to him like this.
Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55-120) was considered the greatest historian of ancient Rome. He wrote of Nero who “punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus [Christ], the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originiated, but through the city of Rome also.”1
Also, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, (A.D. 38-100+) wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities, saying that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, that Jesus was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected.2
The existence of Jesus Christ is recorded not only by Josephus and Tacitus, but also by ancient writers such as Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian. And from the Jewish Talmud, “we learn that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, gathered disciples, made blasphemous claims about himself, and worked miracles, but these miracles are attributed to sorcery and not to God.”3
Thus, historians both favorable and unfavorable regarding Jesus did write about him. Also there were many historical writings about the early Christians.
So, that answer is pretty clear, Jesus was a man and he walked the earth.
So let’s just start with that, Jesus walked the earth, he was a man, he died on a cross. It’s all written outside of the Bible, so I take that as fact. So then I asked, did he preach about peace, loving thy neighbor, taking care of the sick, forgiveness and love? Sure, I believe that’s true. Okay, so we’ve established he lived, he preached on some pretty cool stuff, but was he the son of God? Well, first you have to believe in God, that’s a whole other struggle. If you do then why would it be so hard to believe he sent Jesus to die for our sins? That’s simple, right?
Ok, so let’s recap, you believe in God, Jesus was a real dude, he walked the earth and he preached of Love, this is all fact now, you believe this. So connect the dots.
“We walk by faith not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7
I left it at that for him, I didn’t want to push too hard on the Jesus is my savior thing. I heard from one of my other friends (a brother in Christ) that Bibles were made for reading not thumping. But I did encourage him to go deeper, find some answers for yourself. Thomas Jefferson clipped verses out of his Bible that he knew were true and that he could follow and left the rest to doubt. What the Jefferson Bible left was a lot of blind faith. And when you go through the Bible, pick out the good lessons, believe that Jesus died for your sins and open your mind to some pretty supernatural stuff then how hard would it be to go back to those “blind faith” versus and have just that, faith.
“You are loved more than you will ever know by someone who died to know you” Romans 5:6
In conclusion, I don’t know if my friend saw the light from my Facebook comments. I did invite him to church, he did not reply. But with my blind faith I find it hard to just write off the whole Jesus thing as a fluke. I think so many people these days find ways not to believe rather than finding ways to bridge that gap between themselves and God. The Bible says Jesus is that gap. He died to restore our relationship with God. And all we have to do is except the gift we cannot earn and do not deserve. Powerful stuff that so many people miss out on because of a comment from David Cross (or the World).