Did Jesus Exist…

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Hi Jeffrey,

I know it has been a while since we “chatted” on Twitter. I am not usually one to jump into theological debates, and am certainly not an expert on apologetics, but felt I had to interject on that day. It saddened me when the professed ‘Christian’ you were talking to claimed that there is no love apart from God, and that you were not capable of love, not even for your son.

I felt a heaviness in my spirit. It bothered me that you were being unfairly judged, and that my faith was being inaccurately represented. I replied, “This saddens me. Of course you love your son – we are all made in God’s image – capable of love”.

My comment at that time was not to ‘convert’ you, or to persuade you of my beliefs. Only to do what I could to right an obvious wrong.

After a bit of conversation, you commented that Jesus was a myth – to which I replied that Jesus was certainly not a myth, a fact, I suggested, that most atheists would agree was true.

Somewhere in the midst of our conversation, you said that if I had any evidence to back up my beliefs, that you would be willing to consider it.

I know it has taken me a while to get back to you, and for that I apologize. It is important to me to present information in a way that provokes thought, but also shows grace for differences of opinion.

There was a comment, that day, about the need for the evidence presented to stand up to the rigors of the scientific method. One of the other gentlemen went as far as to comment, “We will convert for double blind tested and peer reviewed scientific evidence”.

It is clear that you are an intellectual man, Jeffrey – one who enjoys analytical thought, evaluating ideas, and engaging others in conversation about a variety of topics.

A person of reason.

My question, respectfully submitted, is this…

How reasonable is the demand for scientific, peer reviewed, double blind tested evidence for proving the existence of a historical figure?

Would you demand the same caliber of evidence when considering the existence of Plato or Alexander the Great?

Isn’t it true, that there is a vast difference between empirical science and historical inquiry?

The question of whether Jesus existed is a historical one. This being the case, it would seem logical to use criteria that is typically employed for examining historical claims of any kind.

There are over 42 sources of historical textual evidence for the existence of Jesus, each written within 150 years of his death. Of these, 9 are found within the Christian Bible, 20 are written by other Christian writers, 4 are heretical sources, and the remaining 9 are written by secular sources, some which would be considered ‘hostile’ witnesses. (Turner, Did Jesus ever Exist?)

Here is but one example, written by Tacitus, a Roman historian writing in 112 AD…

…But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular…

Tacitus, Annals 15.44.

Of course, one quote by itself proves nothing, but examples like this are plentiful. If you are still not convinced, perhaps you will consider the opinion of a man who shares your skepticism regarding the deity of Christ, but is fully convinced of his historicity…

Independent confirmation is not necessary to establish the mere existence of the Jesus of the New Testament. There simply is nothing epistemically improbable about the mere existence of a man named Jesus. (Just because Jesus existed does not mean that he was born of a virgin, that he rose from the dead, etc.) Although a discussion of the New Testament evidence is beyond the scope of this paper, I think that the New Testament does provide prima facie evidence for the historicity of Jesus. It is clear, then, that if we are going to apply to the New Testament “the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material,” we should not require independent confirmation of the New Testament’s claim that Jesus existed.

Lowder, 1997. Independent Confirmation and the Historicity of Jesus

I know that, in my own strength, I will never be able to convince you of the things I believe. Thankfully, it is not my job to convince – only to share what I know to be true.

And this I know…

Knowing Jesus has made a tremendous difference in my life. Changed everything really. I’d love to share more about this, but I don’t want to shut down the conversation by sharing things that you may not yet be ready to hear.

This may sound like foolishness to you. The Bible teaches that spiritual truths are not understood by human reason or understanding. We need God’s spirit to help us discern, or understand, his truth and his ways.

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)

I would challenge you, Jeffrey, to ask God to reveal Himself to you – that if He is real, you will become aware of His presence in a way that you will be able to recognize and understand. If there is no God, as you believe, then there will be no harm done by asking. But suppose, for a moment, that you are mistaken. Then, arguably, there is much at stake.

I am praying for you, my friend. That you would come to know Jesus personally, and not just as a topic to be debated. I would love to share more with you, either my personal experience or non-biblical reasons to believe. I hope you will be willing to continue the dialogue.

Blessings,

Kamea

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31 thoughts on “Did Jesus Exist…

  1. And what a beautiful side of this conversation you have presented to Jeffrey. I lift him up in prayer, Kamea, as well as you. Praising God for His words through you.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda,

      Thank you so much for your #Prayers4Jeffrey – Our prayers are powerful and effective. I have seen a real softening of the heart in this man. As God brings him to mind, please continue to pray!

      Blessings sweet friend,
      Kamea

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    • Welcome Lynn,

      I am so thankful that you found my words to be both sensitive and sincere – I was praying that I would come across as genuine and caring, that Jeffrey and others would see the Father’s heart of love through my words, and be drawn to Him. Please keep Jeffrey in your prayers, as I hope to continue chatting with him in the days to come.

      Blessings and hugs,
      Kamea

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kamea! There just doesn’t seem to be a platform that God can’t use to sway His children. What an honor that He chose you for Jeffrey. And what a challenge! I read somewhere that faith, for those who have it, needs no explanation. For those without faith, no explanation is enough. You had an up-hill climb, yet you just shine in your faith.

    I’m standing up and cheering you on my sister!!
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an honor indeed, sweet Ceil! As I am praying for a miracle in Jeffrey’s life, God is working a miracle in my own. I have been blessed with a glimpse of the Father’s amazing heart of love for the lost. I agree that an explanation will never be the thing that leads to salvation, so ask that you please continue to pray for this dear man.

      Much love,
      Kamea

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    • Sweet Jann,

      I genuinely believe that my heavenly Father allowed me the great privilege of experiencing a small degree of His love for the lost. I have wept for this man who I have never met, and prayed persistently for him. I am so glad that my words accurately reflected that kindness and consideration. Jeffrey is a wandering child, but he is deeply loved by the Father. Please remember him in your prayers.

      Blessings,
      Kamea

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  3. Kamea,
    I’m so glad you responded to Jeffrey with grace and truth…So thankful for you and praying for Jeffrey to be drawn to God’s love because of your testimony…praying God is continuing to be with your father also…((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww, thanks for remembering my father sweet friend. It has been a challenge. I feel that he is in a bit of denial, and am not sure that he has adequate supports in place. Thank you for your #Prayers4Jeffrey as well. It is such a privilege to be invited into His kingdom work, and I am honored to have you by my side interceding on Jeffrey’s behalf.

      Rich blessings, my friend,
      Kamea

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  4. ***** UPDATE *****

    IN RESPONSE TO THIS POST, ONE OF THE COMMENTS THAT JEFFREY MADE (ON TWITTER) WAS THIS ~ “I accept that Jesus likely existed, but we know very little about him for certain”

    I ALSO NOTICED A MARKED DIFFERENCE IN THE TONE OF HIS CONVERSATION WITH ME, JEFFREY WAS POLITE AND RESPECTFUL, AND EVEN THANKED ME FOR MY EFFORT!

    Our prayers are powerful and effective! Please continue to join me in interceding for Jeffrey. It is such a privilege to join our heavenly Father in the work He is doing!

    Thank you, sweet friends,
    Kamea

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow! It seems to me as if Jeffrey was polite and respectful because of your approach. You were kind, polite, and respectful, and offered a simple invitation. Your thoughtfulness was beautiful, and I think there is a lesson in that for all of us. We can win more when we engage in a loving manner, rather than dooming people to hell. Grace is something we all need!! Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome Tondra,

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I agree with your words that, “We can win more when we engage in a loving manner”. This is biblical as well. Romans 2:4 says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” His kindness leads us to repentance. It is His way to draw us! I hope to connect again soon!

      Blessings and hugs,
      Kamea

      Like

  6. This post brought me to tears. I was like Jeffrey once: I finally believed that Jesus existed – as a good man – but I just couldn’t be convinced of a personal God, or a plan of grace. Like Jeffrey, I didn’t rant and rave against Christianity, I just didn’t believe. I went to church with family during visits – out of respect for their beliefs. Hopefully, Jeffrey will reach the point where I came – the point where I couldn’t argue against what I hadn’t bothered to actually research. It sounds like he’s there. It was CS Lewis’s writing that gave my brain the answer that my heart had been seeking. I’ll pray for your continuing relationship, and that Jeffrey receive what he is truly searching to fill –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sweet Janet,

      How wonderful that I can call you sister! I am so thankful that God drew you to Himself. Do you remember what you read by C.S. Lewis that finally broke through to you? I’d love to know! Thank you for your #Prayers4Jeffrey, sweet one. And again, I’m so happy that some day I will meet you in Paradise.

      Much love,
      Kamea

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  7. Kamea, heavy stuff, girl! I’m glad you took the time and energy to respond to Jeffrey – I hope he reads it. Evidence of Christ’s existence? I tried leaving Him out of my life for a season and my life was hell – He’s as real as the air I breathe! Beautifully thought-out post. Visiting from Testimony Tuesday, where you’ll find me at #65

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, sweet friend. Jeffrey did read my words. He was able to respond that Jesus likely did exist, but that we know very little about him for certain. This was what I was hoping for, to be able to reach common ground before attempting to discuss some of the more difficult issues. I love your statement that, “He’s as real as the air I breathe!” So glad you have embraced Him as a very real part of your life.

      Blessings and hugs,
      Kamea

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    • Welcome Kristen,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my response to Jeffrey. I would appreciate your prayers for this man, as I continue to reach out to him, as God directs.

      Blessings,
      Kamea

      Like

    • Welcome Rachel,

      So glad to have you here! I hope you will stop by again soon! Please pray for Jeffrey, that God will soften his heart, and that he will come to know Jesus personally, and not just as a subject to be debated.

      Love,
      Kamea

      Like

  8. Gosh, Kamea, I have been praying that you’d find the words of grace and love and humility in Him since the day you mentioned your desire to have an honest convo with this gentleman. And you have. You really have. He is faithful!
    I love this post!
    God has supplied such a wonderful response, and He will see the rest of it through, like He has for any one of us who have struggled with our beliefs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww, thanks so much Christine. To be honest, I did not really want to have this discussion. I was sure that I would be shot down, but I sensed God reminding me “to always be prepared to share the reason for the hope that you have”. I am so thankful for your prayers, and am thrilled at the positive response from Jeffrey. When we first connected, I had told him that I respect his right to decide what to believe. He told me that he had no respect for my position, since it was complete nonsense. So the fact that he thanked me for my effort and was polite was HUGE. I can totally see God’s hand at work in this situation. Please continue to pray as God brings Jeffrey to mind!

      Much love,
      Kamea

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely apologetic response … Talking with someone w/o faith, or a completely different from faith from my own, is challenging. In fact, I often have to “come back later” when I’ve had some time to do my own research on stuff so I have a strong answer. You are brave and faithful to pursue this with your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome Dianne,

      There is much wisdom in coming back later – I am so glad that I did so in this case. I answered after prayerfully considering what God would have me share. And He is faithful. It has been exciting to see the outcome, as I have walked this in obedience.

      Blessings and hugs,
      Kamea

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t imagine either, my sweet friend. Living the adventure with Jesus is everything to me. I can’t imagine how people go through this world without Him.
      Much love,
      Kamea

      Like

  10. Kamea, I’m coming late to the conversation here but I’d like to add how much this has affected me. You took time out to pause, pray and ponder before responding more fully to Jeffrey, and it is evident in the reflective, kind, understanding approach you take and the compassionate sensitivity and sincerity of this post. God has rewarded your faithfulness with further opportunity to engage in conversation by keeping those lines of communication open. Continuing to pray for you and Jeffrey as you feel your way through this situation and respond with the loving grace so characteristic of Christ in you, the hope of glory. Blessings and love. Xx 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are such a source of encouragement, sweet friend. The heart of Jesus beats strongly within you – what a precious gift. Thank you for your continued prayers for Jeffrey. You are such a blessing!

      Blessings and hugs,
      Kamea

      Like

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