“10 Reasons the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense,” Answered

COPYRIGHT WARNING

Atheist, Bob Seidensticker of “Patheos,” states: “The crucifixion story doesn’t strike me as that big a deal.” He then lists 10 reasons why he views this event is insignificant and lacking credibility.

The preeminent evidence that is absent from all of Bob’s observations regarding Jesus Crucifixion, are facts which would impeach this event. The death of Jesus Christ by Crucifixion is one of the most fully substantiated events in the history of the world. It is clear that Bob has no real knowledge of this event and is simply making comments that originate as opinions, rather than from credible research.

When any person begins with the premise that God does not exist, all further comments regarding any evidence of His existence, is tainted.

When we begin any serious inquiry of an event that has historical validity, supported by evidence which has existed for over 2,000 years, we must examine this evidence without prejudice. The fact that Mr. Seidensticker begins with the premise that God cannot exist, for he has seen no proof of his existence, is not only disingenuous, it is lacking credibility.

Certainly no intelligent person would give significance to any comments or observations which have been made by a person who has determined in advance, what the results will be.

All of Bob’s observations regarding the historical Jesus, are without scholarly investigation, and lack even the most fundamental tools of research.

The following are the comments made by Bob Seidensticker, found on the web site, “Patheos,” with my response and observations–which answer these questions.

Bob Seidensticker:

1. “Sure death sucks, but why single out this one? Lots of people die. In fact, lots died from crucifixion. The death of one man doesn’t make all the others insignificant. Was Jesus not a man but actually a god? If so, that has yet to be shown. It’s not like this death is dramatically worse than death today. Crucifixion may no longer be a worry, but cancer is. Six hours of agony on the cross is pretty bad, but so is six months of agony from cancer.”

Response:

It is very common for a person to make comments or observations about someone whom they do not know or understand. All of Bob’s observations about God are in error, due to his lack of knowledge and inability to understand Him. Every person understands the difficulties which arise for us personally, when another person says things about us that are not true–simply because they do not really know us. God is no different. The errors in statements made by Mr. Seidensticker–regarding God, and the lack of comprehension in the manner by which the Lord has designed the salvation of mankind, are nothing more than misunderstandings–which stem from his lack of knowledge.

If Bob knew God, then he would be qualified to speak on the subject of God. Just as no person can really speak about you until they truly know you. When someone does not know us intimately, it is easy for them to say all sorts of negative things about us. Those who know us well, are best able to express to others,what we are truly like and what our words and actions actually mean.

Because Bob Seidensticker does not know God, he has misunderstood the words which He has spoken and the true intent of all His actions.

A few facts regarding the historical Jesus:

Professor Peter Schäfer, in his book: “Jesus in the Talmud”, records that Talmud Sanhedrin 43a contains the following text regarding Jesus of Nazareth:.[1]

On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover, Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, “Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry. Whoever knows anything in defense may come and state it.” But since they did not find anything in his defense they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover. Ulla said: ‘Do you suppose that Jesus the Nazarene was one for whom a defense could be made? He was a mesit (someone who instigated Israel to idolatry), concerning whom the Merciful [God] says: Show him no compassion and do not shield him (Deut. 13:9). With Jesus the Nazarene it was different. For he was close to the government.”[2]

This statement is not from the New Testament, but from the record of the Jews at the time that Jesus was crucified. There are in fact, many substantial records of Jesus life, death, and resurrection from extra-biblical sources.

Today, the world’s leading scholars agree that the crucifixion of Jesus is a fact of history that is certain and indisputable.[3]

In truth, the events of the scourging and crucifixion are described as ranking so high in certainty that they are considered by experts to be impossible to deny and the very basis for a foundation that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose from the dead, as the New Testament records.[4] These facts are certain by the corroboration of the Bible, as well as secular history. The orders of Pontius Pilate to have Jesus scourged and crucified are documented by one of the greatest Roman historians ever to write on this period, Tacitus.[5]

As early as the second century Tacitus writes in his “Annals” of the Roman Empire, 116 A.D, (Annals 15,44) that under Caesar Nero, Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion.[6]

“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.”

This record of Jesus execution by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, written by Tacitus, is of immense value for the historicity of Jesus Christ. Being an independent source from both the Roman government and the Biblical text, Tacitus authenticates the narrative of the four gospels that Jesus was scourged and crucified exactly as the Gospels describe.[7] Tacitus further relates the certainty that Christians at this time believed that drinking the blood and eating the body of Jesus of Nazareth would grant them eternal life.[8]

Mr. Seidensticker claims that Tacitus account of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, was written at too great a distance to the event to be considered credible.

Tacitus was 7 years old when the Great Fire of Rome took place, he was well aware of this massive inferno, which destroyed most of the city. Tacitus knew in great detail, the accusations of Nero and the reasons for which Christianity was spreading so greatly over the world: the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tacitus never refutes either, and being that he was a patriot of Rome, he certainly was not sympathetic to Christians–whom he believed were responsible for the destruction of the city he loved. Tacitus simply recorded the facts of Jesus Crucifixion, as they were dictated to him by Nero and those who had first hand knowledge of the event.[8a]

Scholars today confirm that the crucifixion of Jesus is a matter of historical fact, equal to any other event of antiquity.[9] Even those who are regarded as scholars who do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, regard the scourging, and crucifixion as actual events that can be proven from extra-biblical sources.[10]

Honest men wrote the accounts of Jesus resurrection

Men who are of such great diligence, honesty, and posses the historical integrity to report the true and accurate names of cities, people and governmental actions of that period of history—must also be men who have told us the truth about Jesus resurrection. All of the cities, people, and actions of the government of Rome during the period described by Luke’s gospel and the Book of Acts, have been verified by the world’s greatest and most proficient archeologists. Luke told the truth about every item he placed into his gospel of Jesus Christ—including the certainty that Jesus rose from the dead.

Historian, Dr. William Ramsey, believed at the onset, that the accounts which are described in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were inaccurate. Over 100 years ago, he undertook an expedition to Asia to try and refute the New Testament, only to become so overwhelmed by the evidence that he became a follower of Jesus Christ.[10a]

“Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.” –Sir William Ramsey, world famous historian and renowned archeologist

Archeological accuracy points to literary accuracy

Since Luke’s description of cities, names, places, and customs are perfect in their historical accuracy, it is certain that the accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are also accurate and reliable.

The fact that Luke has been confirmed as a scholarly historian of specific details regarding the history of the first century, it is certain that he also recorded for us, with the same precision, the specific events which transpired concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke’s integrity as a historical scholar demands that we accept, with confidence, his testimony of Jesus’ resurrection, which is the foundation of the entire Christian church.

Having established the Crucifixion of Jesus as a fact of history, we move on to its moral significance of human life.

No person alive today would dispute the fact that evil exists in the world, originating from the actions of human beings. Every day we open the newspaper, turn on the television, or open our electronic device to read  the daily news, we learn of a new atrocity that has been committed by human beings. All of these evil actions originate in the hearts of people. It is a fundamental truth that human beings have both the capacity for extraordinary acts of goodness, while possessing an ever-present ability for evil.

From the moment that a child learns to move about, he knows how to lie. No one has to teach us to tell a lie, it comes from the heart. When we are hurt or wronged by another person, we often feel such internal anger that we quickly think of a way in which we might visit hurt or pain back upon the person who has injured us. Further, no matter how many material possessions we might accumulate in our life, we are never truly satisfied with what we already have. The lust for more is as much a part of our human existence as breathing air is to our lungs.

The Bible describes these faults of human existence as “sin;” the inability to conduct ourselves as morally perfect beings. The Bible further states that from the beginning of our creation, we were perfect in every way. The first man and woman did not possess the faults of lying, a desire for retribution, nor a lust for material gain. In the beginning, we were morally perfect and without the defect of sin. Adam became a “sinner,” by his disobedience to God’s moral law–in the same way that we, today, become “law breakers” when we violate the laws of human justice.

As a human being inherits the genetic material of their parents, which determines their physical composition, and in many cases, their psychological makeup, so also do we inherit Adam’s propensity towards evil. This sin nature is passed down to every person, over the course of all human history. The moral defect of sin is the reason that evil exists in the world today.

This tendency towards wrongful moral actions was inherited from the first man, and exists in our moral DNA, to the present day. This is indisputable and obvious to every human being. We might blame the first man for our present evil world, but the truth is–we all make decisions every day in our lives which place personal responsibility squarely on ourselves, as agents of moral corruption. Every person on this planet has told a lie, been angry enough to inflict harm on another, and lusted continually for more than they really need in their life.

The Bible describes the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the action which God took, to remove our moral failure of sin, and once again make us perfect.

When we forgive someone of a moral failure against us, we simply choose to set aside the wrongful action and continue to live with that person in harmony once again. When God forgives our moral failures, there is a penalty due for those actions. As a Just God, He cannot simply ignore evil and allow injustice to go unpunished. God is the judge of all human beings, therefore, He must do what He has said: “the soul which sins, must die.”

 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. –Ezekiel 18:4

Under the moral law of God, all sin is equal and without regard to its degree of severity. A lie is equal to a murder, for God does not judge based on a curve, He requires perfection. A person who has committed no other moral infraction, other than the telling of a single lie, is just as guilty as a person who has murdered a hundred people.

James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

We might count the former as a much more grievous action than the first, but this is because we do not understand the severity of sin in the first place. Sin has ruined human life, corrupted the creation of God, and required the death of the Son of God, to eliminate its presence. If you had to allow your son to die for the wrongful actions of another person, you would not count their moral failure as insignificant. This is the reason that God takes personal offense at those who disregard the death of His Son on the cross as insignificant, an meaningless.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

The death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross in Jerusalem, 2,000 years ago, was not simply a misunderstood young man–dying for His cause. Jesus was dying for the sins of the whole world. His death paid the high cost of all our sins and permanently removed them, forever.

How could one man pay for the sins of the whole world?

Jesus is described as God, in the body of a man. Before Jesus took the body of a human being at Bethlehem, He had existed for eternity. The book of Colossians describes Jesus as the agent who created the universe. The life of God, dwelling within the body of Jesus–has infinite value, for He is infinite. This is why His life is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world.

Colossians 1:16 For by Jesus all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Of profound significance–God was willing to take all of the filthy, vile and perverse sins of every person who has ever been born, upon Himself. The Bible describes Jesus as “becoming sin for us.”

 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

This is why Jesus death on the cross is such “a big deal.” Even six hours on the cross, taking all the sins of every person who has existed on the earth–was a catastrophic event for the Son of God. Jesus as God, had never known sin personally. During His 33 ½ years on the earth as a man, Jesus had never sinned. Because He was born without the aid of a human father, Jesus did not posses the defect of a sin nature. His conception was brought about by God, as his mother became pregnant as a direct act of God’s Spirit, working with the seed of a human being. Having lived a perfect life, without sin, Jesus was fully qualified to be a perfect substitute for all of us. His perfect life, took all our sins and paid the debt we owned for those sins.

Imagine God, being willing to take all the sins of every person–into Himself and die for them, incomprehensible!

The fact that Bob Seidensticker does not understand this, nor its significance, is due to his lack of understanding of sin, its consequences, and the great love of God in seeking to save us all from a certain eternal penalty.

Although this first response is sufficient to answer all 10 of Bob’s objections to Jesus Crucifixion, I will continue to briefly answer the remaining 9 points that he has made.

Bob Seidensticker:

2. “What about that whole hell thing? An eternity of torment for even a single person makes Jesus’s agony insignificant by comparison, and it counts for nothing when you consider the billions that are apparently going to hell.”

Response:

Bob has misunderstood the principle of God’s justice. Hell was created by God for satan and his angels, not for human beings. Jesus died for the sins of every person who has existed on the earth, so that no person would ever experience hell.

The sin of rebellion by satan and his angels, occurred without any opportunity for redemption. Unlike mankind, God did not offer redemption to satan or the angels who stood in His presence–who had seen God face to face, and knew intimately of His perfection, love, and power.

God has freely provided a Just solution for the moral failure of man, and given all people the opportunity to have their sins removed by Jesus sacrifices. For this reason, God has commanded all people to repent and turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

Acts 17:30-31 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

If a person ignores the laws of man, his indifference does not void those laws–it simply provides a future penalty for the one who would not obey. In the same manner, God has commanded us all to obey the law of salvation and turn to Jesus as our Savior. If we ignore, deny, or refuse to obey, the law remains in effect and we will inflict upon ourselves, the penalty for our own actions.

Both the reward and the penalty are equal:

The results of obedience to God’s command to receive Jesus as our Savior, has eternal consequences.

The results of disobedience to God’s command to receive Jesus as our Savior, also has eternal consequences.

The results of both our obedience and our disobedience, are equal under the law, eternal in duration. This is fair and just.

  • Those who obey God and receive Jesus, will live with God in perfection–for eternity.
  • This who disobey God and reject the only method by which God can acquit us of all our sins, will live apart from God–for eternity.

God has made this well known to all people, therefore no one can claim that God is not fair in doing what He said that He would do and carrying out His promises, which come to us as a result of our own actions.

Jesus suffering, insignificant?

Jesus suffering on the cross, was not for His own sins, for He had never sinned. Jesus was suffering something which is incomprehensible to us as human beings. Jesus took all the sins of every person who has existed on the earth–into Himself, and suffered the entire wrath of God’s judgement for those sins.

It was not the physical suffering which Jesus endured that was so severe–it was the spiritual suffering inflicted upon Him as He became all our sins. No one could see this, apart from the anguish on His face, but let us rest assured–His mental anguish, far outweighed the physical suffering He endured.

John 12:27  (Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane)“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood* falling down to the ground. (*A medical condition called “Hematidrosis,” manifested by intense stress)

Matthew 27:46 (Jesus from the cross) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me*?” (at the moment Jesus became our sin, He was forsaken of God, separated for the first time in eternity)

We all understand that physical pain, which is inflicted upon us by another person, is not nearly as severe as the mental suffering and anguish that someone can thrust upon our heart and mind. Many people would rather die physically than suffer the emotional torture that is placed upon them by other human beings.

Imagine God, who knew no sin, taking all our sins upon Himself. The emotional suffering of embracing every single sin of every single person–for all time, is beyond comprehension for us as human beings. The real question is “why was God willing to do this?” The simple answer is: “He loves us all.” Jesus was not willing that any of us should suffer eternal separation from Him, so He took the penalty of sin for us, and provided a way of escape.

If we miss this opportunity, it will be our fault, not God’s

Bob Seidensticker:

3. “Jesus didn’t even die. The absurdity of the story, of course, is the resurrection. If Jesus died, there’s no miraculous resurrection, and if there’s a resurrection, there’s no sacrifice through death. Miracle or sacrifice—you can’t have it both ways. The gospels don’t say that he died for our sins but that he had a rough couple of days for our sins.”

“Jesus didn’t even die.” Here we see that the opinions of Bob are the real reason for his opposition to the Christian Gospel. It is not the record of history that Bob sites as proof that Jesus did not die, it is his own personal opinion. In fact, the Historical record of the Jews, the Romans, and the four Gospels, all prove the death of Jesus Christ. Bob has ignored the evidence and instead, inserted his personal comments for the reader to believe.

Is Bob Seidensticker a historical scholar, no. Is he a literary scholar, no. Did Bob arrive at this conclusions, based on the evidence that is available to any person who seeks this evidence, no.

Bob simply declares: “Jesus didn’t die.”

Then he contradicts his own statement and adds: “If Jesus died, there is no miraculous resurrection.”

Which is it? Jesus died, or He didn’t die? Bob declares both with certainty!

Since Bob is in error by the statement: “Jesus didn’t die,” for history itself contradicts his claim, it is equally certain that the second assertion that Jesus did not rise for the dead, is equally without a factual basis, and totally contradicted by the records of both secular history and the narrative of the New Testament.

As early as the second century, Tacitus writes in his “Annals” of the Roman Empire, 116 A.D. (Annals 15,44) that under Caesar Nero, Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion.[11]

“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.”

This record of Jesus’ execution by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, written by Tacitus, is of immense value for the historicity of Jesus Christ. Being an independent source from both the Roman government and the Biblical text, Tacitus authenticates the narrative of the four gospels—that Jesus was scourged and crucified exactly as the Gospels describe.[12] Tacitus further describes the fact that the Christians of this time believed that by drinking the blood and eating the body of Jesus of Nazareth, who was described as the Christ—those who believed could live forever.[13]

Scholars today confirm that the crucifixion of Jesus is a matter of historical fact, equal to any other event of antiquity.[14]

Finally, Bob asserts: “The gospels don’t say that he died for our sins but that he had a rough couple of days for our sins.”

Here is what the New Testament declares, regarding Jesus death:

He suffered both intense physical and emotional torture… and the testimony of those who were there when Jesus died, is that He did in fact, die.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…

Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

1Peter 2:23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit

Crucifixion is described as the most painful and revolting form of death known to man.

The Term “Crucifixion” comes from the word “Excruciating.” The agony that was experienced in dying by crucifixion was described by the Roman orator, Cicero, to be “a most cruel and disgusting punishment.”[15]

Of great concern for anyone who has lost a loved one while defending our nation, is Bob’s statement:

there’s no sacrifice through death.”

The absurdity of this statement can be understood by any person:

A soldier who has suffered and died during an armed conflict in a foreign land, in an effort to defend freedom for all those who are back home, has made a great sacrifice for us all–by his death. By his statement, Mr. Seidensticker does not believe that anyone who has died for another, has made a genuine sacrifice of their life. This would answer the more important question of why Jesus death is insignificant to Bob Seidensticker: he does not consider the sacrifice of a person’s life for another, as a valid reason to honor their efforts.

Whether or not Bob Seidensticker acknowledges Jesus sacrifices for his sins as a valid reason to receive Him, he cannot deny the historical facts that confirm Jesus died on a Roman cross.

The facts of the resurrection are certain and clear: Jesus died.

Jesus was beaten 39 times by the Roman scourge, until his internal organs were exposed and He suffered enormous blood loss. Most men died during this process alone.

Then Jesus was nailed to a wooden cross by His hands and feet and left there for six hours.

A Roman soldier pierced Jesus side, near the cavity of his heart, resulting in blood and serum pouring out from the wound–clear evidence that Jesus heart had ruptured internally. This is confirmed by medical science.

Finally, a Roman soldier came to break the lower legs of Jesus to hasten His death, before the deadline to remove the bodies of the crucified, before the beginning of Passover at 6pm. The Soldier did not break Jesus legs, for he found that He had already died.

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

The testimony of those who were there at the time that Jesus died, in both the four gospels of the New Testament, as well as the record of secular history–all testify that Jesus died on a Roman cross in Jerusalem, 2,000 years ago.

  1. The Annals of Rome, describe Jesus death on the cross.
  2. The writers of the New Testament, all confirm–Jesus died on the cross.
  3. The Jewish Talmud and Jewish Historian, Josephus, all confirm, Jesus died on the cross.

For documentary evidence of these facts, see: “The Historical Record of Jesus Life from Secular sources.

Bob Seidensticker claims that Jesus did not die, or if He did die, He did not rise from the dead.

Again, the record of both secular history and the confirmed record of the New Testament, affirm that Jesus rose from the dead. For detailed information on the Crucifixion of Jesus, as well as the historical confirmation of Jesus Resurrection, see the following articles on this web site:

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Historical Evidence for Jesus Resurrection
The Historical Record of Jesus Life from Secular Sources

Bob Seidensticker:

4. Taking on the sin vs. removal of sin aren’t symmetric. We didn’t do anything to get original sin. We just inherited it from Adam. So why do we have to do anything to get the redemption? If God demands a sacrifice, he got it. That’s enough. Why the requirement to believe to access the solution?

Response:

Bob’s assumptions here are the key to his misunderstanding:

First, we inherited our “sin nature” from Adam, just as we inherited our physical attributes from those whom we are descended from.

Second, we are all personally culpable for our own moral failures. It is certain that Bob Seidensticker has violated all of the commandments of God at one time or another, just as I have, and all other human beings have violated these laws.

For this reason, Bob, myself, and all human beings are equally guilty for our own sins, and therefore remain under the condemnation of God’s righteous justice for those sins.

Finally, it is implied by Bob that if Jesus sacrifice has paid for our sins, that settles it, why the requirement to believe, in order to access the solution. The answer to this question is particularly important and applicable to the Atheists and those who refuse to believe in Jesus sacrifice for their sins.

God will not force you, nor anyone else, to receive Jesus death as the payment for your sins.

Although Jesus death has fully paid for the sins of every person, the personal application of this sacrifice–does not occur until the individual person willingly receives it. To force everyone to be saved, is a violation of our will, and tantamount to spiritual rape. God has made salvation available, and informed us of its availability, as He offered it to us freely. He will not however, force anyone to receive it.

Salvation rests in the hands of those to whom it is made available. Each person must, of their own free will, accept and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. God will not force anyone to be saved.

Bob Seidensticker:

5. The reason behind the sacrifice—mankind’s original sin—makes no sense. Why blame Adam for a moral lapse that he couldn’t even understand? Remember that he hadn’t yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so who could blame him when he made a moral mistake?

And how can we inherit original sin from Adam? Why blame us for something we didn’t do? That’s not justice, and the Bible agrees: Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

Response:

I cannot help but feel a deep sense of empathy for author Bob Seidensticker. His misunderstanding of the Bible’s text and the plan of salvation, are clearly the source of his perplexity and objection to what he imagines is the Christian Gospel.

Again, I have already addressed the issue of man’s sin in the previous answers above. This appears to be a deep point of contention for Bob, one that he clearly does not grasp. The fact of sin in the world, through the moral failures of human beings, is indisputable. This fact remains as the most stunning evidence for the Bible’s claim that “all have sinned.”

Clearly, when we read the account of Genesis; when Adam willingly took the fruit from Eve, he understood what the results of his actions would mean. God had clearly informed Adam that these actions would result in death and loss of fellowship with God. Unlike Eve, who was deceived by the serpent, Adam willingly disobeyed God’s clear command not to eat from this fruit.

Genesis 2:15-17 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word “die,” means, immediate spiritual death, followed by continual physical death, until fully dead.)

This might appear as an elementary exercise for Adam, “don’t eat the fruit,” but we must remember that it is given to us an an example of moral failure, which the Bible calls sin, which has resulted in all the despair and suffering of every human being.

God made a world that was perfect where there was no sin and no death. All that Adam had to do to continue to live in this exquisite environment was to obey one command: don’t eat this fruit in the middle of the garden.

Why the command in the first place?

Love is not an attribute which we can force upon someone and thereby obtain a genuine and meaningful relationship with that person. Love must be given freely, and most often, love is proven by trust.

Without a choice for Adam, he would never know if his love and trust of God was genuine. God already knew, for He knows all things. God knew before He created Adam, that by the freedom of choice, Adam would choose to disobey God and eat from the fruit. God knew in advance that this single sin, would result in the sins of all men and necessitate a Savior, if man would be redeemed.

The Bible describes Jesus as “The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World.” –Revelation 13:8

This means that Jesus, knowing that the creation of man, and Adam’s subsequent disobedience to God’s law, would necessitate His own death to redeem mankind–willingly offered Himself, as our Savior; before God made the universe, or the first man–Adam.

Finally, Bob does not seem to understand that it was not only Adam’s sin, which passed on the sin nature to all men, but also, our own culpability as sinners ourselves, which makes us guilty before God. This point is well emphasized in the verse of scripture which Bob included in this objection he wrote:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

This is correct, each of us will be put to death for our own sins. We are guilty, each one of us, for our sins, and remain under that sentence of death–until Jesus removes our record of wrong, by His sacrifice. Jesus came and took our sins away, and thereby made salvation available to all those who will receive it, by faith.

Bob Seidensticker:

6. Jesus made a sacrifice—big deal. Jesus is perfect, so his doing something noble is like water flowing downhill. It’s unremarkable since he’s only acting out his nature. What else would you expect from a perfect being?

But imagine if I sacrificed myself for someone. In the right circumstance, I’d risk my life for a stranger—or at least I hope I would. That kind of sacrifice is very different. A selfish, imperfect man acting against his nature to make the ultimate unselfish sacrifice is far more remarkable than a perfect being acting according to his nature, and yet people make sacrifices for others all the time. So why single out the actions of Jesus? Aren’t everyday noble actions by ordinary people more remarkable and laudable?

Response:

Bob has answered his own question, by the comments which he has made in this 6th objection.

What Bob has not done, is go far enough with his question. It is not as important that Jesus gave His life for all human beings, since He is so very good; as is the real question: “why would He do this, at all, since it adds absolutely nothing to Himself?”

The Bible describes God as perfect, lacking nothing, completely sufficient in Himself, needing nothing–for all of eternity.

Psalms 50:10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. Psalms 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.

Jesus death for sinners, caused Him untold suffering, the likes of which, we may never fully comprehend–even in eternity. His suffering, His person–being made sin, His torture at the hands of evil men, and the continued hatred that people thrust upon Him to the present day–though He has died for them, is unfathomable.

Why did He do this, since it has really profited Him nothing? The answer is very simple and profound:

He loves us.

Bob Seidensticker:

7. What is left for God to forgive? The Jesus story says that we’ve sinned against God (a debt). Let’s look at two resolutions to this debt.

(1) God could forgive the debt of sin. You and I are asked to forgive wrongs done against us, so why can’t God? Some Christians say that to forgive would violate God’s sense of justice, but when one person forgives another’s debt, there’s no violation of justice. For unspecified reasons, God doesn’t like this route.
And that leaves (2) where Jesus pays for our sin. But we need to pick 1 or 2, not both. If Jesus paid the debt, there’s no need for God’s forgiveness. There’s no longer anything for God to forgive, since there’s no outstanding debt.

Here’s an everyday example: when I pay off my mortgage, the bank doesn’t in addition forgive my debt. There’s no longer a debt to forgive! Why imagine that God must forgive us after he’s already gotten his payment?

Response:

Bob’s inability to understand God’s justice and forgiveness, originates from his lack of knowledge in what constitutes forgiveness. It appears in the mind of Mr. Seidensticker, God could simply forgive and forget sin, if He really wanted to forgive us.

What is missing here in this equation, is the knowledge that God has already pronounced a sentence of death upon the sinner.

Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. –Ezekiel 18:4

 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. –Luke 13:3

 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 6:23

 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. –John 3:18

When we choose to forgive someone of a moral failure against us, we simply set aside the wrongful action and continue to live with that person in harmony once again. When God forgives our moral failures, there is a penalty due for those actions. As a Just God, He cannot simply ignore evil and allow it to go unpunished. God is the judge of all human beings, therefore, He must do what He has said: “the soul which sins, must die.”

In order for God to be “Just,” He must punish evil. A judge who refuses to punish those who have committed crimes against the law, is labeled “unjust.” God has pronounced a sentence of death upon those who have broken His law, and therefore, He must carry out this sentence.

Thankfully, the law of God also allows for the provision of a substitutionary death for the guilty party. The Old Testament calls this a “Sacrifice.” The requirements for such a sacrifice were perfectly fulfilled by Jesus, as He made Himself a Lamb for our sacrifice:

The Passover Lamb was:
1. A Male.
2. Firstborn.
3. Without Blemish.
4. Examined on the 10th, Sacrificed on the 14th.
5. Killed at twilight.
6. His blood covers from judgement.
7. Participants must eat the Lamb.

Jesus was:
1. A Male.
2. Firstborn.
3. Without blemish.
4. Examined on Palm Sunday, 10th of Nissan, 32 A.D., as He rides into Jerusalem as the Messiah, the Son of David, Sacrificed as the Passover Lamb on the 14th of Nissan, 32 A.D.
5. Killed at twilight.
6. His Blood is what covers us from the judgement of God.
7. We must eat or partake of Jesus personally, in order to have eternal life.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

The Passover feast was a picture of the coming of Jesus as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the whole world by His one sacrifice. When any person places the Blood of Jesus’ sacrifice upon the doorpost of their heart today, death and judgement from God passes over them also, and they are covered by God’s Grace and Mercy.

It is the Blood of Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, which justifies us before God and saves us from the coming wrath of God upon all sin.

Whatever it is that you have done in your life which has caused you and others pain and suffering, all of these things are covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ. There is no sin, no terrible and vile act which we have done, that Jesus cannot remove it by His precious blood. Jesus’ blood is the ultimate stain remover. Though we may sometimes feel completely unworthy of the love that the Lord has given us, it was for this express purpose that He died—to remove our sins forever.

The blood of Jesus’ sacrifice does not simply cover up our sins: It completely removes them as if they never existed. The requirement for admission into heaven is perfection. When a person believes that Jesus died for his sins and receives the forgiveness that He offers by His sacrifice, the blood that He shed while on the cross wipes away all our sins and makes us as if we had never sinned in our entire life. From the moment of our confession to Jesus and the acceptance of His death for our sins, we are made perfect in the sight of God.

Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus

The Importance of Blood

God has established the principle that blood is the element which cleanses our sins. When I first heard that blood must be shed for my sins, I was shocked and horrified. Most of us attribute blood to something awful, ugly and repulsive. This is the exact purpose that God had in mind: Our sins are awful, ugly and repulsive. Therefore, it will take something equally horrific to cleanse us. None of us will fully realize the horror that our actions have caused during our lives until we are with the Lord in heaven. The fact that our sins required the death of God’s Son should give us a moment of pause to realize the seriousness of our condition. It was not easy for the Father to allow His Son to die for us. It was not easy for Jesus to take the permanent body of a human being and allow men to torture and brutalize Him, so that all of our sins could be cleansed.

The true definition of sin

Sin is defined as moral imperfection. We all recognize that there is something terribly wrong with the world today. All around us we see and hear things that people do that shock us and cause our heart to feel a sense of sadness. We know that people should not harm each other, take advantage of one another and exhibit such self centered behavior. The world could be such a wonderful place if somehow we could all just treat each other better. What causes the selfish and immoral actions of a human being? Why do people want to hurt others? From deep within us, our heart cries out for justice, mercy, peace, and love. We earnestly desire a life unencumbered by stress, anxiety and fear.

We seem to know and understand what is right, but when the time comes for us to personally do what is right, we often find it difficult if not impossible.

Everyday that we rise to greet a new day, news of pain and suffering fill the newspapers, television and our electronic devices. We ache within our soul for goodness to come upon all the people of our planet, yet in never does. The longer we live on the earth the worse things seem to get. Day after day injustice and selfishness plague us, depriving our world of the joy that could be ours if we were all better people.

One of the most profound proofs for the existence of God in my estimation, is the description by God of our human condition. Everything that the Bible says about us as human beings is absolutely true. The Bible is the only document that is completely honest with us about our genuine moral condition. All of the people who are depicted in the Bible are shown to us with their failures, weaknesses, and wrongful actions. Their lives are on public exhibition before us, not to shame these individuals, but so that we might see that even those who have committed their lives to following God’s way, are still fallible. Without the help and mercy of the Living God, none of us would have any hope of becoming the person we genuinely want to be.

Sin is the act of translating specific thoughts into actions that are morally wrong. All of us understand that certain behaviors are a violation of a moral code of decency that we have implanted in our heart. Whether a person believes that God exists or not, everyone agrees that certain behaviors and actions are morally wrong: the abuse and torture of a child or elderly person, taking something of value that belongs to other people without their permission, and the killing of those who are innocent. These types of behaviors are generally considered wrongful actions by most human beings.

What determines whether or not something is considered morally wrong depends largely on an individual person’s definition of injustice. The problem with using the individual moral judgment of someone’s own feelings is that these feelings vary from person to person. There must be a universally acceptable basis for all morality. For the majority of people who live on the earth, the law of God, as described in the Bible, is the foundation for how we treat each other.

We can trace every law that exists today in virtually every country as having their basis and origin from the Ten Commandments of the Bible. Even those societies who do not believe in the first four commandments that deal with a person’s relationship with God, do agree that the last six are important and continue to be a part of all cultures and social orders.

5. Exodus 20:12
Honor your father and your mother.
6. Exodus 20:13
You shall not murder.
7. Exodus 20:14
You shall not commit adultery.
8.Exodus 20:15
You shall not steal.
9.Exodus 20:16
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Lie)
10.Exodus 20:17
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

The Pharisees had interpreted the law of God as external. Jesus brought us to an awareness that God is most interested in the inner person—the heart, where the will and the emotions reside.

A man may never commit adultery in his life; but all men, at some point, have looked at a woman with lust. Most people will not take the life of another human being, but Jesus said—to be angry with a person in our heart is the same as committing the physical act of murder.

Everything that we do begins within our heart. As we think, our emotions are stirred deep within us. Many times, long before a person ever carries out an action, he has already contemplated what he will do within his heart. There are occasions when a person has not taken time to consider his actions and simply reacts during a particular event. Even what appears to be impulsive actions, often have come from a prior moment when a person has pondered and considered what they wanted to do when provoked.

God looks at the heart first to see why we say and do things, before judging our actions. It is not enough to be righteous externally. We must endeavor to change our heart and also make it obedient.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

To sin is to break these moral laws, which have not only been established by God in the Bible, but have been accepted by all nations and people as a moral code.

Over the years, the word that has been used for someone who commits a wrongful moral act is to designate this person a “sinner.” In ancient England, those who drew the bow to strike the bullseye of a target were called a “sinner” if they missed the mark of perfection. This term was later used as a meaningful definition for all human behavior in relationship to God’s law. When we miss the mark of perfection in our words and actions, we are called a sinner. This term is not meant as a derogatory remark but simply as an accurate description for what immoral behavior is defined as.

Sin originates in the heart

The source of these wrongful behaviors come from the inner fiber of a person’s being. Sin comes from the heart of a person and are not simply outward and unconnected acts. What we do comes from who we are.

This is why all human beings are called sinners. At the core of our being we are flawed. Our tendency is towards wrongful words and actions, not towards those things that are right. We are capable of wonderful deeds of which we may frequently perform. We are, however, more likely to commit unjust acts in many of the situations of our life.

How many times during a day do we have a wrong thought, action or word? If we would measure these against the good things we do throughout our day, we will be shocked to discover we are most times a sinner. This came as a terrible revelation to me when I began to make a mental note throughout my day how many times I commit sin.

If you carefully study human beings, you will notice one startling fact: We are all selfish and self-centered. Now, there are many moments when we are kind, considerate, generous, and thoughtful. These moments are wonderful examples of what a human being is capable of. The problem is that these moments are infrequent in our life. We can be entirely generous and self-sacrificing in one moment; seconds later, so angry that we could inflict harm or death on a person. If we were morally perfect, we would always be kind, generous and thoughtful. The fact that we are not is an indication that something is terribly amiss with our basic nature.

When God originally designed human beings for life on earth, we were perfect in all of our thoughts, words, and deeds. It was at the moment of Adam’s disobedience and personal choice to reject God’s authority over his life that sin entered his being. Because we are descended from this one man, we have all inherited his nature towards wrongful actions; and therefore, we do not have the capacity to be morally perfect.

God describes the true nature of all human beings, in Genesis Chapter 6:

Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

The difficult concept for us to grasp is that it is our heart that is the culprit behind all of our wrongful actions. We do not really have the capacity to understand the deceitfulness of our own heart, nor its tendency towards evil.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

The wonderful and yet difficult fact of the Bible is that although God loves us tremendously, He is also brutally honest with us.

The Bible describes all human beings exactly as they are: sinners with no hope of redemption by themselves. We are all a mess and we need Help. We cannot repair ourselves; it will take God to change us and make us into new people. This was the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross: A perfect human being, dying for the sins of all other human beings. Jesus possesses the life of the eternal God, dwelling in the body of a man. He is described as the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Colossians 1:17). When Jesus became a human being and then lived a morally perfect life, He was qualified to offer His perfect life in exchange for all of our imperfect lives.

The Bible teaches that the Blood of Jesus Christ has the capacity to cleanse us of all our sins and make us perfect in the sight of God. This qualifies us for admission into heaven. The Bible describes the fact that only the Blood of Jesus Christ can do this for us. There is no other way.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission (cancellation of our debt).

Sin is so much more horrible than we can really fathom. For a large part of my Christian life, I did not like to discuss or bring up the subject of sin. It was offensive to me as it is to most other people. The thought that we are known as sinners, is a grossly negative term. This is not so much a title of degradation or humiliation, as it is intended by God as a justifiable description of who and what we are.

We are not called “sinners” because we sin; we sin because we are “sinners.”

Sin is what we do because it is what we are best at. Does this offend you? It should; it certainly offends me. How can I be labeled as someone who constantly does unrighteous acts? This seems cruel and unfair. The fact is, as we look around the world (because we don’t often look at ourselves), we see that the people who live on earth are a mess. I have traveled to a number of places around the world, and I have noticed something that is true everywhere I go: People are the same. In our basic nature, people from all over the earth have one thing in common: We are all sinners.

It is the Blood of God’s Lamb that causes His judgment for our sins to pass over us and declare us not guilty. The blood of the Passover Lamb of Exodus chapter 12 is fulfilled in this 22nd Old Testament Prophecy by Jesus’ death for us as the Lamb of God who has taken away all our sins and makes us perfect in the sight of God.

It was not the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament that God really desired; it was the perfect life of Jesus that would permanently remove all of our sins.

God has carried out the sentence of death for the sinner–just as He said He would do. Instead of executing this sentence upon us, Jesus stood in our place and took the judgement for our sins, and the punishment for those sins–Himself.

This is why those who refuse to place themselves under the protection of Jesus sacrifice for their sins–remain under the condemnation of God, and will suffer eternal death themselves.

Bob Seidensticker:

8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology. Jesus’s sacrifice was small compared to the Greek god Prometheus, who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to humanity. Zeus discovered the crime and punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock so that a vulture could eat his liver. Each night, his liver grew back and the next day the vulture would return, day after agonizing day. The gospel story, where Jesus is crucified once and then pops back into existence several days later, is unimpressive by comparison.

Response:

Not only is the Gospel of Jesus Christ unique, it is unparalleled in the history of the world. The ancient cultures of antiquity did not value sacrifice and virtue, they valued lust and greed. All of the stories of mythology predicate themselves on the lust, anger, and greed of the god’s who are portrayed in these stories.

There is a stunning difference between the love that human beings express towards each other and the love which God has expressed towards us. When the New Testament was written in Greek, the word “agape” did not exist. The Greeks had words to described the love between a husband and wife (eros), the love between friends (philia), and the love between a parent and a child (storge). The term “agape,” was created to describe the type of love which was formerly unknown to the world, prior to the arrival of Jesus. Agape is a sacrificial love that is done for the sole interest of the one who is receiving the love. The love which Jesus exhibited in giving up His life for the very people who put Him to death–defines this new type of love.

David wrote in Psalm 35:11-12, that the Messiah would love, even those who were torturing Him and placing Him on the cross.

Psalms 35:11-12 “Fierce witnesses rise up; They ask me things that I do not know. They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.

There is an idiom that says: “No good deed goes unpunished.” We might speak the words to this little phrase after we have done what we imagined was a good work, only to have those who were the object of our good deed—turn against us in anger or betrayal.

Although Jesus created the universe (Colossians 1:17), when He came to the earth to give His life for the world—evil men tortured Him repeatedly as He was dying for their salvation. David records this event well in advance of its fulfillment: They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.

Isaiah described the Messiah as “a man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3). Not that He would be a depressed man, unable to lift Himself out of the doldrums of sadness, but His mission for man would bring Him to halting emotions of sorrow.

John 11:32-36 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

Even the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus, could see His intense love for Lazarus.

As we read through the four gospels and hear the words of Jesus, it is impossible to deny the great love that He has for all people. Here, Lazarus had died because of the effects of his sins—yet Jesus loved him intensely. Some have the idea that God could not possible love them because of the many sins of their life. In fact, Jesus came into the world for sinners. It was because of our failures that He came to give His life for us.

The horrors that all of us face while living our lives, Jesus observed with His own eyes. Because of His compassion, He volunteered Himself for us—before the foundation of the world. God is not willing that anyone should be lost eternally—therefore, He sent His only Son to bear the consequences of our sins and take them away from us.

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In this, we see the love of God in action. “God so loved the world that He gave.” When a human loves someone, it is most often in reference to something that another person has done for them—and with the expectation of being loved in return. When God loves, He is the one who does the giving. His love is sacrificial and without reciprocation from those whom He loves.

When God says that He loves, He expresses His love by actions that are eternally beneficial towards those whom He loves. We were lost with no hope of saving ourselves, God did something; He gave us His only Son. Those who receive Jesus, experience the forgiveness of their sins and receive eternal life.

1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

In order that we might recognize God’s love for us, He told us ahead of time—who He was going to send to help us and what He would be like. God described the Messiah by many Old Testament prophecies, in rich and stunning detail so that no one would fail to recognize Him when He arrived.

This propensity towards wrongful actions, defines us as “sinners” or imperfect beings. It is while we were in this condition as sinners that Jesus came to die for us. Even when we were at our very worst, Jesus was loving us—and He was willing to come and die—even for the worst of us.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Again, Paul declares that God has not simply stated that He loves us; He has demonstrated this Love by sending His Son to die for us.

Think of the worst thing that you have done in your life—that moment that you are most ashamed of and would do anything to change if you could.

It was at that moment when Jesus was loving you the most. It was for all the moments of our greatest shame that He came to earth and allowed evil men to torture Him to death. Jesus took the punishment that you and I deserved, so that the horrible record of our sins and shame could be erased forever.

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

Jesus came to save sinners. If you know that you are one, then you should understand that He came for you. If you receive Him as your Savior, then you can have confidence in the authority of God’s word that all your sins are forgiven and eternal life is yours.

In this, we see the Love of God manifested. Not that we loved Him, but that He first loved us–even when we did not know Him, and while we were in the midst of our sins.

This love which Jesus has graphically displayed for all people–for all time, is unparalleled or without comparison in the history of the world.

Bob Seidensticker:

9. The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.” This is the 21st century. Must Iron Age customs persist so that we need a human sacrifice? If God loves us deeply and he wants to forgive us, couldn’t he just … forgive us? That’s how we do it, and that’s the lesson we get from the parable of the Prodigal Son where the father forgives the son even after being wronged by him. If that’s the standard of mercy, why can’t God follow it? Since God is so much greater a being than a human, wouldn’t he be that much more understanding and willing to forgive?

If we were to twist the Prodigal Son parable to match the crucifixion story, the father might demand that the innocent son be flogged to pay for the crime of the prodigal son. Where’s the logic in that?

Response:

It is interesting that Bob has chosen the Parable of the Prodigal Son as his point of contention. Jesus taught this Parable–with the sole intent of illustrating for us, what His sacrifice means.

See the Parable of The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32

Before Jesus taught the Parable of the Prodigal Son, He spoke of 100 sheep, then 10 coins, finally, 2 sons. All these parables deal with the heart of God towards people. He earnestly desires that we are all redeemed and have the opportunity to partake of the infinite blessings He has prepared for us.

The issues contrasted in this parable are:

  • A Father who loves His son.
  • A foolish son who makes bad choices.
  • A life that is wrecked because of those choices.
  • Humility by the difficulty of trials.
  • A desire to change.
  • A return to the Father.
  • A Father’s welcome and the restoration of His son.

The major issue addressed in this parable is Repentance.

There are two Greek words that are made use of in the New Testament to describe repentance. First, the verb Metamelomai, which is used to describe a change in the mind that would produce regret or remorse for the sin committed. Although the mind has been changed, the heart remains the same; and therefore, there would be no change in the lifestyle of the individual. This is seen in the repentance of Judas Iscariot who was remorseful, but took no further action to change his behavior.

The second Greek word used to describe repentance is Metanoeo, to change your mind and the direction of your actions after coming into a knowledge of your sin.

Only when our actions are changed, along with a changed mind, can the Lord grant us the forgiveness of our sins. The son described in this parable of Jesus had true repentance that led him to change the behavior of his life. Because of his true repentance, the father ran to the son and welcomed him back home.

Upon the son’s restoration, the father places his ring on his son’s finger as a symbol of authority. The son is given the robe of his father, significant of the fact that his righteousness now comes from his father. A person who is Born Again by the Spirit of God is said to have the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to, or given to them, as described by Isaiah 61:10.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.

This righteousness that comes from the Lord is like a robe that covers those who come to Jesus for salvation. This covering from the Lord, which is His righteousness, is described in the Book of Revelation Chapter 3:5 as a white garment worn by the saved.

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Upon the return of this son, the father places shoes on his shoeless son. Slaves did not own shoes, but a son is free; therefore, he wears the sandals of his father. This is now a time for celebration and feasting, for the formerly lost slave is now home—no longer a slave of sin—he is now a son.

  • Filthy garments removed, robes of righteousness given.
  • Authority and honor given to the son by the father’s ring.
  • Shoeless feet covered with the sandals of his father.
  • The older son is bitter at the treatment his father has shown to his wayward brother. This older brother is a picture of Israel who has not yet come into a personal relationship with God through the Messiah, but attributes sonship to physical birth rather than by the new birth of the Gospel. This older son (Israel) desires that his many years of service to his father would be the basis for his acceptance by the father. This is significant of the fact that the Jew today base their righteousness before God on their long-standing status as “chosen” rather than what the gospel requires: a new birth and salvation by grace through faith.

Though the older son is bitter and the younger son has wasted his life thus far on reprobate living, the character of the loving father rises above all their sins. In this amazing love that this father shows to both his sons, we can understand by this parable that Jesus taught, how much our heavenly Father loves each one of us and so earnestly desires that we are reconciled to Him.

Bob Seidensticker:

10. The entire story is incoherent. Let’s try to stumble through the drunken logic behind the Jesus story.

God made mankind imperfect and inherently vulnerable to sin. Living a sinless life is impossible, so hell becomes unavoidable. That is, God creates people knowing for certain that they’re going to deserve eternity in hell when they die. Why create people that he knew would be destined for eternal torment?
But don’t worry—God sacrificed Jesus, one of the persons of God (whatever that means), so mankind could go to heaven instead.

So God sacrificed himself to himself so we could bypass a rule that God made himself and that God deliberately designed us to never be able to meet? I can’t even understand that; I certainly feel no need to praise God for something so nonsensical. It’s like an abused wife thanking her abuser. We can just as logically curse God for consigning us to hell from birth.
Perhaps I can be forgiven for being unimpressed by the crucifixion story.

Response:

If one thing is certain in the commentary by Bob Seidensticker, it is a continuing theme of misunderstanding. Bob simply does not comprehend the Gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore, he does not believe in God and has set about to try and discredit the Bible and the Christian Gospel.

I personally enjoy reading the comments of Mr. Seidensticker. I have not found one of his comments which would prevent him from understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being saved. If an occasion for serious, diligent study of these topics and problems that he has addressed, was addressed properly, Mr Seidensticker could easily become a follower of Jesus Christ and obtain the forgiveness of his sins and hope of eternal life.

Essentially, Bob’s questions about God, originate from his present inability to understand how Jesus could accomplish salvation for the whole world. This is an excellent question and one that I asked myself some 39 years ago.

How can the life of one man be sufficient to pay for the sins of all other men?

This is the paradox of the Bible and one that requires understanding. The premise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that His death has paid for the sins of the whole world. The reasonable question that should be asked then is: “How is this possible?”

If Jesus were just a normal man, mortal with a limited life span, and possessing the defect of a sinful nature, how could His life be valuable enough to pay the great price of redeeming billions of other mortal, sinful people? The obvious answer is—He could not.

The Book of Colossians declares that Jesus is not an ordinary man.

Colossians 1:16-17 For by Jesus all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Jesus is the eternal God dwelling within the body of a man. It is from this basis that the claim is made that His life is sufficient to pay for the lives of all other men. What is the value of the life of God? If we can agree that because He is eternal and the Creator of all things that His life is of infinite worth, then it would certainly be reasonable that He could redeem all human beings.

God could offer His life in exchange for all of ours, if that was His desire.

In order for God to make His life a ransom, He would have to become one of us. It is only possible for mankind to be redeemed by another man. God could orchestrate the redemption, but He would have to use the vessel of human flesh to redeem those who are also human. For this reason, before time began, Jesus offered His life for us, knowing that we would require a redeemer. The Book of Hebrews presents an interesting exchange between the Father and the Son, when they agreed to fashion a human body for Jesus to live in as a man, when He would come to earth as the Messiah.

Hebrews 10:4-5 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.”

The animal sacrifices, which the 33rd and 34th prophecies speak of in describing the blood that makes atonement, could not permanently remove the sins of a human being. Animals cannot die for human beings to redeem them. The sacrifice of bulls and goats in the Old Testament were meant as an illustration of a future sacrifice that the Son of God would make for the sins of all people, for all time.

Hebrews 10:12,14 But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… 4 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

The life of Jesus, who is God dwelling within the body of a human being, is of such infinite value that it was sufficient to pay for the sins of every person.

Redemption for all men, for all time, is found only in the blood of Jesus Christ, as He died as the one sacrifice that would forever satisfy the righteous requirements of God to put away sin forever.

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

We have the assurance that God will accept anyone who comes to Him through the life of infinite value which the Son of God has presented to the Father on our behalf.

In Leviticus 17:11 salvation is further defined by the blood that the Son of God shed for us, being the method by which our sins are atoned for.

…to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

The term atonement comes from the phrase “at-one-ment.”[1] The idea is that those who are participating in redemption—God and man—are in agreement over the correct procedure. God has defined what must be done; man agrees. Therefore, they are at-one or in harmony or agreement. A secondary meaning is observed in the one who is coming to God in repentance over his sin, as he brings a substitution who will take the penalty for the guilty party. This agreement between the guilty and the redeemer, causes them to be “at one” with each other in the manner by which the sin will be dealt with and removed. In other words, when I bring my sacrifice to God for my sins, I am in agreement with the one who is offering His life for me, that my sins are transferred to Him so that may be acquitted.

This is the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. We agree with God that we have sinned and need forgiveness.
  2. Our sins require a perfect sacrifice.
  3. Jesus was perfect and willing to be our sacrifice.
  4. God accepts Jesus sacrifice for us because He is a perfect man–without sin.
  5. We agree to transfer all our guilt to Jesus; He agrees to take it.
  6. Jesus died to pay the debt we owe to God for our sins.
  7. We are cleansed of all our sins and are made perfect in the sight of God.

From these seven above, we see that the Old Testament procedure for atonement was repentance (#1), confession (#1), and sacrifice (#2-7). No one is ever forgiven of their sins without all three of these parts of atonement being completed.

Repentance: The internal feeling of deep remorse for sins committed against God and a desire to turn from these sins–to a life of righteousness.

Confession: The act of speaking to the Lord, honestly, and specifically–what our sins are, without making excuses, and with an understanding of the wrong that has been committed.

Sacrifice: Understanding that when a sin is committed, a penalty is owed to God. According to the Old Testament, that penalty is death . “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die” –Ezekiel 18:4

A sacrifice then, is the substitution of an innocent life–for the guilty, who will die to pay the penalty owed for the sin committed.

Notice that in atonement, there is very little that is required of the one who is obtaining forgiveness–only item #1 above: agreement with God that we have sinned and require forgiveness. The remaining acts of atonement are accomplished by the one making possible the cleansing of our sin.

Of course, a part of agreeing with God that we have sinned (Item 1) requires that we confess our sins and feel sorrow for them to the degree that we are willing to not continue in the former sins that required a sacrifice in the first place. All of the other components of atonement (2-7) are accomplished during the sacrifice which was completed by Jesus—for us.

This is a good illustration of how salvation is completely the work of God. Items 2-7 were all accomplished for us by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The entire work of salvation is from God, and none of it is made possible by anything that we do–except to believe what God says. After we agree with God that we have sinned and express our sorrow and desire to turn from our sins and not practice them any longer, He does the rest, through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In this way, we see how the life of the Messiah has made it possible for all of us to experience the removal of our sins–forever and gain eternal life.

A correct understanding of the Bible

There are two purposes for the words of the Bible:

First: The clear and plain meaning of each text, meant to be read and understood by anyone.

Second: The deeper meaning and purpose of the verse that can only be understood by those who search out and seek to discover the hidden treasures God has placed there.

Jesus gave an example of this when He taught by the use of Parables:

Matthew 13:13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

The Parables that Jesus spoke were illustrations of greater truths hidden beneath the surface of the story. For the casual listener, these parables were simply stories. To the diligent listener and sincere seeker of God’s truth, they were a treasure trove of eternal guidance.

The Identity of Jesus

When we arrive at the New Testament, we see that the intent of the Holy Spirit in writing the words of the Old Testament was to point the way to a greater understanding of who Jesus is.

Paul revealed that every single word of the Bible is about Jesus and for the purpose of revealing who He is:

Hebrews 10:7 “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.”

When we read the text from Genesis 14:18 and see Melchizedek bringing bread and wine, the wise student of the Word of God should immediately go forward to the New Testament and seek out a counterpart. As we study the gospels, we discover that Jesus is found breaking bread and drinking wine as symbols of His death and resurrection.

Mark 14:22-23 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

The parallel between this event in the gospel of Mark describing the bringing of Bread by Melchizedek is clearly not happenstance. There are no coincidences in the Bible. Every word is placed in its precise location in the Bible for a specific purpose by the Holy Spirit.

Later Jesus said to his disciples something that both shocked and horrified them:

John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

Was Jesus saying that we must literally eat His flesh and drink His blood? Or was there a deeper spiritual meaning behind these words?

Whenever we hear the word “Bread” in the New Testament, we should immediately go back to that place in the Old Testament Book of Exodus Chapter 16, where Manna is given to God’s people in response to their hunger.

Exodus 16:35 “And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”

Later in the New Testament, Jesus reveals that the Manna, described in the Book of Exodus, was really an illustration of Himself.

John 6:49-51 “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Jesus said that He is The Bread of Life, available to anyone who wants to partake of Him:

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

The intended purpose of the Manna in the book of Exodus was to point us to the New Testament where Jesus would give His body as the Bread of Life. The people described in the Book of Exodus who wanted to live had to partake of the bread that God gave them. There was no hope of life apart from it. Each person had to willingly partake of the bread themselves, of their own free will. In order to live, they had to take the bread into their body and allow it to become a part of their life.

What did Jesus mean by the term: …unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you?

The Jewish leadership in Israel also wondered at Jesus’ statement. They were curious whether Jesus was commanding them to literally eat His flesh in order to have eternal life, or did He have some other intent in mind?

John 6:52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?

These men did not understand what Jesus was saying because they were not really seeking spiritual truth. They heard only the surface of Jesus’ words but did not perceive their deeper meaning.

The question is: “Why didn’t Jesus clearly explain to these men what He really wanted them to understand? Why does He hide the spiritual truth of His words under the illustration of eating His flesh and drinking His blood?”

Most people have only a surface awareness of God. Many will say that they “know who Jesus is”, but upon further examination of their life, it is apparent that they do not know Him intimately. If a person comes into a sincere relationship with Jesus, it will affect the words they say, the places they go, the things they look at and the manner of living for their life. It is impossible to surrender yourself to Jesus and make Him the Lord over your life without it drastically changing you. A person who claims to know Jesus, yet lives a life that is a contradiction of the character of Jesus Himself, does not truly know Him.

Those who were well acquainted with Peter and John were aware of their character before they came to know Jesus. In the process of following the Lord, they began to change so drastically, that those who formerly were acquainted with them were shocked and amazed.

Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

By Jesus telling the Jews that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood, one of two things should have happened:

One: They would hear the story and not understand it because their hearts were not really seeking spiritual truth.

Two: They would hear the story and not understand it but be driven to dig deeper and ask, “What is Jesus really saying? Surely He is not asking me to eat His literal flesh and drink His actual blood. What does He mean by this statement?”

A relationship with God does not come by casual hearing and a surface understanding. God only reveals Himself to those who are diligently seeking Him with all of their heart:

Jeremiah 29:13 “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jesus desires that all people know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. The person who comes to the Lord must want to know Him with every fiber of His being. Without sincerity and a diligent seeking of God, He will not reveal Himself to us.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is God, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

With these things in mind, we can understand the purpose behind Jesus’ statement in John 6:53:

John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”

As the children of Israel had to take the Manna and eat it in order to live, so also must everyone, who is sincerely seeking a relationship with the Living God. As we take bread into our bodies and digest it, the elements of that bread become a part of every cell of our body.

So also must each one of us, if we want to obtain eternal life. Jesus must be taken into every fiber of your being and become a part of you. He must become your life and the reason that you live.

John 6:54-56 “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

In response to Jesus’ statement, many of those who heard Him were offended. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to many people because it reminds them that they are a sinner and that they need a Savior. Many people do not want to accept this truth about themselves. People want to believe that they are basically good with a few bad attributes. The truth is that all of us are morally corrupt because of our fallen nature, and there is no cure for this inherent fault except that our old life should die and we are given a brand new life by God.

John 6:61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

The purpose of Melchizedek bringing bread and wine, in Genesis 14:8, was to point the way for Jesus who would come in the New Testament and show us the significance of the Bread and Wine. The Bread is Jesus’ body which was broken for all of us. The Wine represents His Blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

When Jesus said that we must Eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood, He was speaking a spiritual fact that a relationship with Him must be deep and personal and become a part of every area of our life. It is not by a casual knowledge of Jesus that a person is saved. It is through a complete and utter surrender of ourselves to Him as Lord (Master) and Savior (The method for removing our sins).

Jesus words: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”

These words were meant to drive us to find the deeper spiritual meaning of what He was saying. The fact that Jesus was speaking by a spiritual illustration is clear from John 6:63:

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

“The words that I speak to you are Spiritual…

In other words, what Jesus is referencing to here in the illustration of His body and blood are spiritual and have to do with a changed heart. Eating the bread and drinking the wine does nothing for us, if we have not first surrendered our life to the Lordship of Jesus. The Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation is incorrect. Jesus never implied that the bread wafer nor the wine in the chalice were going to become His literal body and blood. He was speaking in a spiritual sense, the deeper meaning of coming into a true relationship with Him by our repentance from sin, and a complete turning to Him as the Lord (director) of our life.

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

The message that Jesus was seeking to convey to every person on the earth is: all those who partake of Him as the Bread of Life and those who appropriate the blood of His sacrifice as the only way for their sins to be removed, are seen as righteous in the sight of God and have, as their present possession, eternal life.

It is my sincere prayer for Bob Seidensticker that through diligent study, he might find Jesus as His Savior.  His zeal in proclaiming the errors of the Christian Gospel is a zeal that I myself have had all of my life–declaring the truth of Jesus Christ and the fact of His singular life as proof for the existence of God and His great love for all people.

See also:

10 Reasons Why Atheists Will Not Believe in God
10 Reasons Why Atheism Makes No Sense
10 Reasons the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense, Answered
God is Not a Christian


NOTES:

[1] 1.Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud, Princeton University Press, 2007. p 64-65. 2.Bernhard Pick, The Talmud: What It Is and What It Knows of Jesus and His Followers, 1887 (reprint Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007. p 115) Talmud Sanhedrin 43a
[2] Talmud Sanhedrin 43a
[3] 1.Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339 2. Jesus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39.
[4] Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
[5] 1.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42. 2.Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 116. 3.A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136.
[6] 1.Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83. 2.Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. p. 168. ISBN 0-8028-2315-7.
[7] 1.Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 33. 2.Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42. 2.Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293. 3.Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi. 4.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42. 5.Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127.
[8] This of course is not true and not at all what Jesus said. It is important that Tacitus recorded that the followers of Jesus believed this—substantiating His existence as a real person who promised eternal life to those who believed in Him. Tacitus’ characterization of “Christian abominations” may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485.
[8a] Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 page 30.
[9] Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus…agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”
[10] Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127.
[10a] William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915, page 222.
[11] 1.Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83. 2.Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. p. 168. ISBN 0-8028-2315-7.
[12] 1.Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 33. 2.Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42. 3.Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293. 4.Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi. 5.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42. 6.Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127.
[13] Tacitus’ characterization of “Christian abominations” may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485.
[14] Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus…agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”
[15] By Cicero, Licona, Michael (2010). The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. InterVarsity Press,. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8308-2719-0.

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