Let’s skip over all the documented prophecies telling when, where, and why the Savior of the World would come (as there are many and they are precisei). And let us, for now, skip the fact that Jesus came out of the grave and returned to His Father in heavenii. Let us also go beyond the obvious abundant secular historical evidence that Jesus lived and walked among usiii, and let’s simply look at the three years of His public life here on earth as recorded by the four independent eyewitnesses who authored the Gospels of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Johniv.
1. Jesus is first introduced to us through the last of the great prophets, John the Baptist. John the Baptist stirred up the nation by saying that “He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me”v. When Jesus arrived for baptism, John the Baptist said, “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God”vi. John characterized Jesus’ purpose when he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”vii
2. From then on Jesus went about from city to city, synagogue to synagogue, teaching about righteousness, healing people beyond number, and winning minds and hearts to God. Jesus consistently taught that we should always do good, turn away from sin and immorality, not be proud, help the poor, and trust in Jesus as God’s Son.
Many people loved Him, and, surprisingly, many hated Him.
3. Jesus was so effective at explaining God’s ways that when officers first came to arrest Him, they soon chose to leave because, in their own words, “No man ever spoke the way this man does”viii. Others said Jesus “was teaching them as one having authority, and not as” the teachersix. And Peter said, “You have words of eternal life”x.
4. Jesus healed multitudes of people including lepers, invalids, the blind, the deaf, and the dumbxi. He raised several people from the deadxii. There was no sickness or injury He could not healxiii. The gospels record many specific examples of people He healedxiv and repeatedly tell us that multitudes came to Him, and He healed them all.
5. Jesus freed many people from demonic control. Many specific cases of this are recorded in the Bible.xv
6. Beyond even these amazing facts, however, is that Jesus was able to delegate this healing power to His twelve disciplesxvi. They, however, always attributed this power as coming from Jesus, and not from themselvesxvii.
7. Jesus changed the course of many lives. One of many examples is where an extremely wealthy man gave, when he encountered Jesus, half of all he had to the poorxviii. Another is where a wild and extremely violent man became rational and self-controlledxix. Other men gave up all they had and followed Himxx. Jesus could do these things because He knew what was in the hearts and minds of menxxi. All of these events are well documented by multiple eye witnesses in the Bible for whoever would like to know.
With all this great teaching and all this power it might seem strange that some hated Him. But the reason is also obvious; Jesus claimed to be God’s own Sonxxii. Twelve men lived with Him 24 hours a day for three years, and they never saw Him say or commit any sinxxiii. Instead they described Him as full of truth and gracexxiv. In private and in public He lived a virtuous life, as we would expect the Son of God to lead. He also led a powerful and generous life, as we would expect the Son of God to live. He never lost His temper, never cursed anyone, never pursued fame or wealth. And He cared deeply for people. As a result many of His followers, those who knew Him best, concluded He actually was the Son of Godxxv. Others, however, were not willing to accept this in spite of the abundant evidencexxvi.
8. While Jesus had been healing and teaching for three years the religious leaders became envious of His popularity and decided to force Him to stop. They arrested Him and had planned to accuse Him of sin. But, although they listened to the testimony of many witnesses, they could find no sinxxvii. Finally, not knowing what to do, they commanded Him to tell them if He was God’s Son. When Jesus admitted He was, then they judged Him guilty of just that, of claiming to be God’s Son. And they sentenced Him to death.xxviii He died because He was God’s Son, not because of any sin.
Even at His death on the cross, the Roman executioners were amazed at the way He died and the officer said, “Surely this was the Son of Godxxix.”
Jesus knew from the beginning that the leaders would kill Him and He frequently told His followers this would happen and how it would happen.xxx
9. As for God’s answer to Jesus’ life, He raised Him from the dead on the third day as proof to the world that Jesus was His Son (Romans 1:4)xxxi, and that He won salvation from sin for all who put their trust in Him. Therefore, His grave is empty.
If you would like further information on the life of Jesus, read the Gospels. They were written by close friends of His who were personal eyewitnesses of all He said and did during those three years. These men were so convinced that Jesus was God’s Son that they went everywhere telling everyone all that they knew about Jesus; and many were convinced and believed.
i Here are a couple of websites listing some of the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
See About Religion http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm
See Jesus.org http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/old-testament-prophecies/what-old-testament-prophecies-did-jesus-fulfill.html
Other websites are also available. These were picked at random.
ii Jesus ascension to the Father is recorded several places in the Bible including at Mark 16:19, “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” See also: Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9. In addition, the Bible says in several places that He is now on His throne in heaven.
iiiCheck out these websites for references to Jesus by early non-Christian historians. Probe.org at https://www.probe.org/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources-2/ and ColdCaseChristianity.com at http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/.
iv The Gospels were authored by four personal eye witnesses to these events. Matthew and John were two of the original twelve Apostles and wrote short biographies that today we call the Gospels. Mark was a friend who wrote what Peter, also an Apostle, personally observed. And Luke, though not one of the Apostles, personally interviewed many eyewitnesses of the events of Jesus life and wrote the summary (Gospel of Luke) of what they had to say. So the four Gospels are kind of like a court case where we are presented with four knowledgeable eyewitnesses to the events. Our responsibility is to listen to the eyewitnesses and realize that Jesus really is the Son of God, and that believing we may have life in His name (John 20:31).
v See the Gospel of John, chapter 1 verse 15.
vi John 1:33-34. Prior to this, John the Baptist did not know who the Son of God was, but God had told John that the person upon whom he sees the Spirit descending, He is the Son of God.
vii John 1:29. John the Baptist understood that God’s purpose for sending His Son was to take away our sin, kind of similar to how ancient people used to sacrifice a lamb to pay for their sins.
viii John 7:46.
ix Matthew 7:29. The teachers in the Jewish culture of that day were religious experts specially trained in the laws that God taught through Moses. In spite of their extensive training, their knowledge came second hand from Moses through the Scripture. Jesus, on the other hand, taught with true authority.
x John 6:68.
xi Here are a couple of Bible references to Jesus’ extensive healing:
Matthew 4:23-25 – ” And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”
Matthew 15:29 – 39 - “Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
xii Examples of Jesus raising the dead include:
Lazarus – See John 11:1-45.
The widow’s son – See Luke 7:11-17.
Jairus’ daughter – See Luke 8:40-56.
xiii That Jesus healed all kinds of diseases is attested to in the Gospels. See for example,
Matthey 12:15 “Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.”
Matthew 9:35. “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
xiv Specific examples of Jesus’ healing are too many to enumerate here. A few examples of the many include the mother in law of Peter (Matthew 8:14-15), the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:1-7), and a man born blind (John 9:1-15).
xv Some specific examples of demons cast out of people include the daughter of a Greek woman (Mark 7:24-30), Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), and a dumb man (Matthew 9:32-33) as well as a number of other examples.
xvi Jesus delegating the power to heal to the 12 apostles is mentioned in Matthew 10:1, “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” See also Luke 9:1.
xvii See, for example, Acts 3:6 where Peter heals a crippled man and commands him, “In the name of Jesus, walk” and he walked.
xviii See Luke 19:1-10. He was a prosperous tax-collector.
xix Mark 5:1-15. This guy lived among the tombs and had often been bound by chains and shackles, but was always able to break them apart and escape back to the tombs where he would gash himself with stones and cry out.
xx See Matthew 19:27.
xxi See John 2:24 and Mark 2:8. Interestingly, Jesus not only knew what individuals needed to turn away from sin, but he also knew that some men, who trusted Him on one day, would just as easily hate Him the next.
xxii Jesus presented Himself as God’s Son at a number of times and in a number of ways. Here are a few:
Matthew 16:16-17 – Simon Peter says Jesus is “The Son of the living God.” And Jesus confirmed it.
John 14:19 – John 14:9 – Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”
John 10:33 – Jesus’ opponents said of Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”
See also our article Is Jesus God?
xxiii 1 Peter 1:18-19.
xxiv John 1:17.
xxv John 20:31.
xxvi Matthew 28:17.
xxvii Matthew 26:59-60.
xxviii The trial of Jesus is mentioned in each of the gospels. See, for example, Luke 22:66-71 and Matthew 26:57-68.
xxix Matthew 27:54.
xxx In Mark, for example, Jesus foretells his death at 8:31, 9:31, and 10:33-34.
xxxi Romans 1:4. Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the spirit of holiness…” So the Spirit of God, who is the only Spirit of Holiness, declared clearly to the entire world that Jesus was God’s own personal Son by raising Him from the dead. Trust in Him.
Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.