The Quest for the Historical Jesus

The historical quest for Jesus has been an ongoing battle throughout history. Christian’s faith should not be just a belief without evidence for the historical Jesus. The quest for Jesus has been an interest for many people, Christian and non-Christian. The historical information of the past will show that Jesus is the true Messiah. The first quest is the historical accounts of Jesus and how it correlates to the Biblical accounts of Jesus. Rationalists believe that not all that the Bible records actually happened. This belief is a way of rejecting any form of supernatural, but using just a rational viewpoint about the life of Jesus. “The first quest had traveled the road of rationalistic historical study and had come to a dead end.[1] The Jewish background of Jesus and the accounts of the gospels are historically and culturally correct. The Dead Sea scrolls are an example of the relevant archeological findings proving that the Biblical account of Jesus is true.

The quest for Jesus must start with the very year of His birth. It was at the time of King Herod and Luke accounts that Jesus was born soon after John the Baptist. Historical fact shows the Matthew account to be accurate about Herod’s murderous reign. The start and length of Jesus’ ministry has also been a debate. His ministry started after John the Baptist, but there is some debate upon the calendar formulation and how it all came about. Determining the length of Jesus’ ministry depends upon the information in the gospel of John. Another question arises, whether the date of Jesus’ ministry and death in John 2:20 about the temple and its construction. Although there are competing dates, there is not dispute about the historical placement of Jesus’ ministry.

Evidence for Jesus’ life from Roman sources include: Suetonius Claudius, Tacitus Annals, and Pliny the Younger[2]. All of these had accounts of Jesus’ life and recorded it to prove that Jesus was who the Bible says He is. Most were history of Rome and how Jesus was mentioned in all their reports. The most powerful extra biblical writer is Flavius Josephus as a historian. He traced Jewish history and closely followed their history and Jesus outside of the Bible. He recorded that Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate and how many people followed Him and became His followers.

The crucifixion and death of Jesus is an undisputed fact of history. The resurrection is a happening that is in debate. Early Christians believed that Jesus died and one the third rose again. No person has ever produced a naturalistic explanation of what happened after the crucifixion that accounts for all the facts, but there is no other evidence that Jesus did not revive from the dead. The historical Jesus found in the gospels has to be the Jesus that Christians worship because God’s Word is inspired, but Jesus is inseparable from the Bible.

The historical quest for Jesus stands upon an important issue, our basis for life and ministry as a Christian. Jesus is the basis that includes the historical and biblical accounts of His life. They are not separate parts, but are inseparable in understanding and believing Jesus who lives in Heaven and the man who walked the earth. The influence of beliefs on Jesus covers every theological topic. Jesus came and walked the earth, lived a sinless life and resurrected from the dead. Historical fact, archeological evidence, and firsthand accounts contribute to the truth of Jesus Christ. Not only is historical facts about Jesus true, but He is truth. Historical fact proves that Jesus came, lived, died, and resurrected into Heaven. Biblical accounts show the Jesus that took the sin of the world upon Himself and paid in full our debt for salvation. The quest leads us to a sinless Savior that is alive and sitting at God’s right hand in Heaven.

[1]Studying the Historical Jesus – A Guide to sources and methods. Darrel L. Bock (Page144)

[2] Studying the Historical Jesus – A Guide to sources and methods. Darrel L. Bock (pages 47-54)