Nearly every year around Christmas and Easter, there will be specials on T.V. or articles in popular magazines attempting to discredit Biblical accounts of the birth or resurrection of Jesus. Some will say other religions had myths about their gods becoming a man.
One of the things that sets apart the Christian gospel is that it is written not in mythological form but in historical narratives. When we read the Christmas story, for example, in Luke’s gospel. It is grounded historically. Luke 2:1,2 “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” The first-century Jewish historian Josephus says Quirinius was not governor until A.D. 6. Some allege this would contradict the Biblical account because Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great who died in 4 B.C. But there is other evidence showing Quirinius was governor also in 7 B.C. So some believe he was governor twice. It is also pointed out that the phrase translated “WHEN Quirinius was governor of Syria” should be translated “BEFORE…”.
I say all of this to point out that the reality of the existence of Jesus is unique and should not be grouped with mythological figures from other religions. Josephus published his “Antiquities of the Jews” in A.D. 93. And his writings contain passages about Jesus, His life, death and resurrection, John the Baptist, and James the brother of Jesus.
Skeptics allege those passages were forgeries added to Josephus’ writings by later Christians. But there is not even one single copy of Josephus’s writings that do not contain those passages. Every single copy contains those references as we have them. How could they have introduced some new material in the middle of what were complete texts?
Josephus was a virtual contemporary of Jesus who lived and wrote in Galilee and Jerusalem. He would have encountered many who were eyewitnesses to these events. If he had any doubts about the existence of Christ he would not have included the details. Not even one other passage of Josephus where the authenticity is called into question.
You know as well as I do that if Josephus had not mentioned Christ, it would be used as evidence against our faith in Him. Isn’t it funny how people don’t want the gospel to be true? It is important for us to be able to defend our faith. It is important for us to be able to tell our children as they grow up that these are not just children’s stories but actual accounts of real events. God really did come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He is “Immanuel” – “God with us!” (Matt. 1:23).