One of the newsletters I subscribe to is trying to sell me a tour of Israel to search for the historical Jesus. But as the newsletter itself says, the gospels are full of accounts of His life and deeds. That is not historical?
In what way would attempting to retrace His steps, visit the places He travelled, taught, and worked miracles, help me find the historical Jesus?
About the historical Jesus
He was crucified in 30 or 31 AD, depending on what ‘school’ of reasoning you follow. The temple where He taught… and confronted the Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees, was destroyed by the Roman emperor commonly known as Titus. That was in 70 AD
How much is left of that first century world in which Jesus lived? Not much I would think.
- The church (followers of Christ) fled before the fall of Jerusalem.
- The Apostle James, brother of John, was martyred in 44 AD.
- The other Apostles fulfilled their commission and took the gospel of the Kingdom of God ‘into all the world’.
- Legend has it that all, except the apostle John, were martyred.
(I have several gigabytes of research about the 1st century AD in folders on my computer.)
So what remains of the country that Jesus grew up in, walked around and taught about the Kingdom of God?
In the two centuries since He walked the land, how many wars have there been?
All that remains of the temple has gone. All, that is, except the Western – or Wailing – wall. Some believe that it is a remnant of ‘Herod’s Temple’, while others say it was part of the Roman fortress and point out that Jesus said ‘not one stone’. If the ‘wailing wall’ is part of the temple something doesn’t fit.
He prophesied it would be destroyed, recorded in Mark 13…
After his teachings in the previous chapter, all set in the Temple courts, Jesus finishes his teaching in the Temple for the day and leaves. On his way out of the Temple an unnamed disciple remarks how great the Temple (Herod’s Temple) is. The buildings might have reached up to 150 feet (45.72 m) in height and they were adorned with gold, silver and other precious items.
“‘Do you see all these great buildings?’ replied Jesus. ’Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
Well, I am sure the tour will be interesting. But all I need to know about Jesus is in the Word of God. I will rely on that.
In the Apostle John Series when Jesus is quoted, it is taken from the Bible.
What would the ‘historical Jesus’ think?
If Jesus was to walk through Jerusalem today would He not be horrified by what people revere? I think so, you might not.
I wonder what He would think of the instrument of His death being revered.
In answer to my opening statement… I remain puzzled about how people can ‘find’ the historical Jesus, two centuries and many changes later.
But I do have a question… is it not more important to know the risen Jesus, the Saviour, than ‘fossick’ around in the past.
Just some thoughts,