Redeemer Lutherhan Church

Praising God, serving neighbors with Christ at the center!



| March 8, 2020

Christians can sometimes forget that the events that mark the beginning of their faith occurred within the context of real history. As we enter into the season of Lent we will consider the events that founded our faith. Here are some indisputable facts surrounding the advent of our faith.

  1. Something happened in the Middle East two thousand years ago to give birth to the Church and the documents we today call the New Testament
  2. Someone taught the things that Jesus is reported as saying in the New Testament, to kick start this revolution that had totally changed the world in relatively short amount of time.
  3. Many other ancient texts refer to the start of Christianity
    • The Roman historian Tacitus (he actually mentioned Jesus)
    • The Roman governor Pliny the Younger
    • The Roman historian Suetonius
    • The Babylonian Talmud (this actually mentioned Jesus)
    • The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus

Plinius Secundus (AD 61-112)
[“Pliny the younger”] considered world’s greatest letter writer, governor of
Bithynia in Asia Minor. A letter written to Emperor Trajan (AD 112) “They [Christians] were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god” Jesus Christ recognized as God

Cornelius Tacitus (AD 55-120)
A senator under Vespasian; held office of consul and proconsul (governor) of Asia. Annals (~ AD 116)
“Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate, and the pernicious [destructive] superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself [Rome]”
Origin [Judea] & spread of Christianity [to Rome]

Seutonius (AD 70-130)
Roman historian & annalist of the Imperial House
“As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.” Chrestus is a Greek misspelling of Christ Validates Aquila & Priscilla’s expulsion from Rome in book of Acts

Lucian of Samosata (AD 120-190)
Greek Satirist
Account of Lucian (~ AD 170) “The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rights, and was crucified on that account…”
Jesus noted as crucified

Phlegon (AD 80-140)
Greek historian
“In the 4th year of the 202nd Olympiad [33 AD] there was the greatest eclipse of the sun…it became night in the sixth hour of the day [noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia and many things were overturned in Nicaea.”
Correlates with darkness when Jesus was crucified

Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100)
Consultant for Jewish rabbis; military commander under
Emperor Vespasian
“at this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that He was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”

[Antiquities XVIII, 33]
Extra-Biblical Historians say…
Jesus was a historical figure
Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate
Jesus appeared to disciples three days after His death
Early Christians worshiped Jesus as God
Historical accounts match that found in Bible