Scourged

Part One: The Prophecy

The purpose of the scourge was to exact a confession from the accused, before being put to death. Not that a confession would change the final disposition of the condemned, but for the purpose of setting an example for the crowd who were witnessing the judgment of a convicted criminal. Literally, all punishment that was committed against a breaker of the law, was for the purpose of preventing others from committing the same crime themselves.

The punishment of the guilty was intended as the ultimate deterrent. A vividly bloodied criminal who was publicly put to death before crowds of people, might prevent others from committing a similar crime. Those who would see a man on the cross, might think again before committing the crime they were considering. It is certain that every person who watched a man die by crucifixion would leave the scene with a graphic reminder of the consequences of breaking a Roman law.

If the criminal should confess their crimes at the beginning of the lashes that were thrown against the criminal’s back, they might be spared further suffering or even death. Very often the obstinate criminal who would not confess their crimes, would be forced to endure all 40 lashes upon their body and would perish.

Because Jesus had committed no crime and therefore had nothing to confess, each progressive lash laid upon his body became harder and tore deeper into His flesh. As no confession ever came from Jesus lips, he endured 39 of the 40 lashed prescribed. The Jews desiring to be seen as merciful, often ceased the lashing at 39 instead of the prescribed 40.

The Messiah will give his back to those who will scourge him.

Isaiah 50:6a I gave My back to those who struck Me…

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 27:26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

“I gave My back to those who struck Me…”

The scourge was not simply a leather strap that struck the back of Jesus. It was a multi-thonged whip that could have; up to 9 separate leather cords attached to a single leather handle. Attached to the end of each leather cord were pieces of broken bone, jagged pieces of glass, or sharp metal objets. As the nine cords were laid upon the back of Jesus, the handle was pulled away violently. This caused the sharp objects at the ends of the nine cords to grab at the flesh of the back, stomach, shoulders and arms; tearing away ribbons of flesh with each pass. By the time Jesus endured the 39th lash, his body was a piece of torn and shredded flesh that exposed His muscle and bones. Jesus was bleeding profusely and by the shear loss of blood alone, He should have expired from the scourge. Jesus was a strong, hard working carpenter, who had built a sturdy body by physical work; coupled with Holiness and purity. Although Jesus was likely stronger than many men, this was not the power that sustained Him. It was his love for us, and desire to accomplish the Father’s will; that kept him on course to finish the payment for all our sins. Jesus did not falter, nor fail to take the full measure of all God’s wrath. He continued in His atonement for all our transgressions until everything was accomplished.

The Scourge:

  • The Scourge is better known to us as “The Whip” or “The Cat.”
  • It could have 6, 9, or 12 leather tails attached to the handle.
  • Pieces of broken glass, twisted metal, or broken bone were often fastened to the end of each strip of leather that was attached to the handle.
  • Jesus was on His knees, His hands were tied to a post in front of Him.
  • The Scourge was laid across His back and then pulled away suddenly, and violently.
  • This action caused the flesh to be ripped and torn into ribbons.

The normal number of strikes by the Scourge, for a capital crime, was 40. Seeking to be seen as merciful, the Jews asked that Jesus sentence be reduced to 39.

The results of these 39 stripes upon Jesus body was to tear his flesh into ribbons and expose His internal organs, muscle and bone. Massive blood and fluid loss would result from these wounds. The pain and suffering of such abuse upon a human body is unimaginable. A simple paper cut can cause amazing pain. Imagine having most of the flesh from your chest, stomach, and back, torn to pieces. Many of those who were scourged; died from the ensuing shock and massive blood loss that occurred as a result of the punishment inflicted upon their bodies.

[1]

The pain that Jesus felt while having his flesh torn from his body was more intense than any suffering we will encounter during our life. Paul later recorded that it was your face and mine that kept Jesus true to His course. He saw us all fully redeemed, standing before Him, purified of all our sins. This is what kept Jesus tied to the post where He was scourged and beaten. It was not the power of men that secured Jesus to the scourge post, it was His love for us, that would not allow Him to surrender or use His power as God to stop the brutality being committed against Him.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was for you that Jesus took this pain. It was so that you might have the chance to experience the glory of heaven in a perfect body, that He allowed His body to undergo so much suffering. Even today, Jesus still bears the marks of the scourge. In the book of Revelation, we see Jesus as He appears today. He is described as a Lamb that looked as though he had been killed.

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…

Jesus told Thomas to put his finger into the holes in His hands and side where He had been pierced. Jesus bore the marks of His crucifixion, even after He was raised from the dead.

John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.

Today in heaven, sitting on the throne of God; is a man, Jesus Christ. He apparently remains a brutally disfigured man. Jesus will bear the scars of His suffering as a eternal reminder to all of us who love him of what He endured so that He could deliver us from hell and death, forever.

For a complete description of the terrible suffering Jesus endured for us, see the chapter: Crucified


Part Two: The Evidence

The facts of Jesus scourging and crucifixion are intricately attested-to by the four Gospels of the New Testament. The certainty that these events took place, is firmly established in history as indisputable matters of fact.[2]

By the vast number of Hebrew prophecies, we have compelling evidence that the events of the Messiah’s scourging and His subsequent crucifixion, were well known and widely understood by these Old Testament scriptures. Through the prophecies of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, we have 55 detailed predictions of every possible aspect of the crucifixion of the Messiah.

When we arrive at the New Testament and discover that both the Bible and Secular history authenticates that Jesus of Nazareth was scourged and then crucified; in stunning fulfillment of the many Old Testament references, we have great confidence that Jesus is the Messiah who is described by these prophecies.[3]

Today, the world’s leading scholars agree that the crucifixion of Jesus is an established fact that is based on empirical evidence.[4] As matters of history, the events of the scourging and crucifixion are described as ranking so high in certainty that they are considered by experts as impossible to deny. These facts are the very basis for a foundation that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose from the dead, in confirmation of the the New Testament narrative.[5] The reason that these facts are certain is that we have the corroboration of not only the Bible, but secular history. The orders of Pontius Pilate to have Jesus scourged and crucified is documented by one of the greatest Roman historians ever to write on this period, Tacitus.[6]

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.[7]

“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. As an independent source from the Roman government, Tacitus authenticates the narrative of the four gospels that Jesus was scourged and crucified exactly as the Gospels describe.[8]

Isaiah writes: The Messiah will be scourged with stripes that will bring healing to all who believe.

Isaiah 53:5c … And by His stripes we are healed.

New Testament Fulfillment:

John 19:1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.

1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Matthew 27:25-26 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Evidence that speaks for itself:

The certainty of Jesus’ existence; His life, death, crucifixion, and resurrection are established today by reliable historical records, other than the Bible. The writings of Tacitus proves beyond any doubt that Jesus was a real man, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate under Roman authority.[9]

The fact that Tacitus and the history of the Roman government record the same events, occurring during the same period of history that the four Gospels record these events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—should cause any serious historian to conclude they are authentic. There is no contradictory evidence in any of the writings of Tacitus that controverts the New Testament narrative of Jesus Christ. Scholars today have discovered that Tacitus had access to “Acta Senates;” the official records of the Roman Senate, from where he derived an accurate basis for his writing.[10] Critics who have stated that Tacitus was not a reliable witness for many of the articles that he published in his writings, specifically those of the early Christian church; have been proven wrong in their objection. All of the work that Tacitus has accomplished in his “Annals,” originated from the year-by-year records of the official Roman Senate transcripts.[11]

See a copy of the Tacitus second Medicean manuscript of Annals, Book 15, chapter 44, with the reference to Christians, in the chapter: Tacitus.

The most credible scholars today have confirmed that this text from Tacitus is authentic and reliable.[12] Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd, in their masterpiece of critical assessment of the Gospels: “Jesus Outside the new Testament,” describe the verity of the Tacitus text as firmly establishing by extra-biblical sources—Jesus was crucified under the Roman government, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, under Pontius Pilate; precisely as the New Testament Gospels describe.

“Tacitus provides us with independent, non-Christian confirmation of Jesus’s crucifixion, that it occurred during the reign of Tiberius (14– 37 CE) and under Pilate’s governorship (26– 36 CE). He also shows us that within three decades of Jesus’s death there was a strong Christian presence in some quarters of the Roman Empire—enough so that Nero could use them as a plausible scapegoat for political purposes. And he tells us that many of these Christians were willing to suffer and die for their faith.”[13]

John Meier, Professor of the New Testament and Biblical Scholar said this regarding the authenticity of the Tacitus manuscript:

“Despite some feeble attempts to show that this text is a Christian interpolation in Tacitus, the passage is obviously genuine.”[14]

Other Scholars which include Bruce Chilton, Craig Evans, Paul R. Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd also agree with John Meier’s statement.[15]

Academic experts confirm that the crucifixion of Jesus is an established event, equal to any other respected and confirmed event of antiquity.[16] Even those who are regarded as scholars who do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, consider Jesus scourging, and crucifixion as actual occurrences that can be proven from extra-biblical authorities.[17]

A surprising source for Jesus crucifixion comes from the Babylonian Talmud-Sanhedrin 43a, Soncino edition. This text confirms from the records of the Jews, the gospel narrative of the events that led up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. [18]

“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!”

About 93 A.D., Renowned Jewish historian, Josephus wrote that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the “Antiquities of the Jews”, 18.3.[19]

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, …. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles… And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross.”[20]

Josephus was born in 37 A.D. And died in 100 A.D. It is certain that he was aware of the writings of the the Gospels which described the scourging, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know today that by recent discoveries of New Testament papyrus that have been dated during the period of time in which Matthew was still alive, that Matthew and Josephus were contemporaries.

If any of the events which Matthew recorded, concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus were untrue, Josephus would have certainly rebutted these statements in his writings. Josephus was not a Christian, nor sympathetic to the Christian church. The fact of his silence in having any contradictory testimony regarding what the disciples wrote concerning Jesus—is in my opinion, substantial confirmation that Josephus did not have any facts in evidence to discredit the claim that Jesus was not only crucified, but also resurrected three days later.

For more information regarding the historical authenticity of this section of Josephus, see the chapter: Josephus.

A recent discovery, dates Matthew’s gospel at 28 years after Jesus death

One of the most stunning discoveries in the field of New Testament reliability, comes from an Egyptologist in the late 19th century by the name of Charles B. Huleatt.[21] Three small fragments of papyrus from upper Egypt, found at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1901, contained twenty four lines from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 26:23 and 31. Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, the director of the Institute of Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany, discovered—by a scanning laser microscope; that these fragments were certainly from the original gospel of Matthew that was written while Matthew was still alive, about 60 A.D.[22]
x
Matthew-Papyrus02[23]

The most important aspect of this discovery is the fact that these conclusions came from physical evidence instead of the conventional method used for dating ancient papyrus; by literary or historical supposition.

On December 24, 1994, the Times of London reported, on the front page of their newspaper, that a German Biblical Scholar had discovered what was believed to be the oldest extant fragment of the New Testament ever found.

“It provides the first material evidence that the Gospel according to St. Matthew is an eyewitness account written by contemporaries of Christ.”[24]

“What separates Thiede from his academic predecessors, is that he has identified an artifact—albeit a tiny one—which seems to prove his point…”[25]

This discovery, considered by many as the greatest discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, proves that the Gospel of Matthew that we have in our possession today was written by first hand accounts of a person who witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Papyrus was likely handled by some of the 500 eyewitnesses that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15:6, who saw, with their own eyes, Jesus risen from the dead.

The gospels that are recorded in the New Testament are certainly no more tendentious than any other ancient documents in their declaration of facts of history. It is ludicrous to insist that because the New Testament is a religious book that it should not be taken seriously as an equally important historical document which contains facts of history. This was the very reason that the writers of the gospels and the Book of Acts set out to record these events. These men felt that the events of Jesus death and resurrection were of such extraordinary value, that the whole world should know about them. For this reason, these men made an accurate and honest accounting of what really took place.

Based on Dr. Thiede’s conclusions that the Jesus Papyrus dates Matthew’s gospel as written during the time these events occurred, this revelation brings a grand confirmation for the authenticity of Jesus Resurrection.

• Jesus was crucified on April 14, 32 A.D.
• Matthew’s gospel is confirmed at the latest, 60 A.D.

This means that Matthews’s eyewitness account of Jesus death and resurrection was written within 28 years after the events took place. The critical disqualification of the gospels; as written at too great a distance from the actual events, has been impeached by Paleographical evidence. Matthew wrote and recorded—for all posterity—events of such profound magnitude that they have changed the entire course of human history. We know today that Matthew penned his narrative of Jesus, or he dictated them to a scribe, on documents that we now have in our possession.

See the chapter: David’s Son, for detailed information that further validates the writing of Matthew’s gospel in 28 A.D.

This is compelling evidence for the historical reliability of Matthew’s gospel; revealing a true and accurate account of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There remains no further speculation as the whether Matthew’s narrative is genuine. This disciple of Jesus, lived in close relationship with Him during the three and one half years of His public ministry here on earth. Matthew was present during the time Jesus was unjustly arrested at Gethsemane. He was present during Jesus scourging and crucifixion. Matthew repeatedly stated in his gospel that all of the actions and words of Jesus were direct fulfillments of the ancient Hebrew prophecies of the Old Testament.

Ten times, Matthew records the words: that it might be fulfilled; describing the words and actions of Jesus, as direct fulfillments of the ancient Hebrew prophecies of the Messiah.

Matthew 1:22-23 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Predicted in Isaiah 7:14

Matthew 2:15 …and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Predicted in Hosea 11:1

Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Predicted in Isaiah 11:1

Matthew 4:14-16 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Predicted in Isaiah 9:1

Matthew 8:17 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” Predicted in Isaiah 53:4

Matthew 12:17-21 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” Predicted in Isaiah 42:1

Matthew 13:35 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Predicted in Psalm 78:2

Matthew 21:4-5 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” Predicted in Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 26:56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. Predicted in Zechariah 13:7

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Predicted in Psalm 22:18

Clearly, Matthew understood that Jesus was the Messiah, who is described by these many prophecies. He wanted to ensure that every generation of souls—all through time, would have adequate evidence to believe that Jesus is the only Savior of the world.

Certainly the firsthand evidence of Matthew’s gospel must be considered more reliable than the unsubstantiated claims which critics make today regarding hypothesis which cannot be proven conclusively. Assertions that the four gospels are not reliable and are merely artifacts of myths which were created to deceive, are absolutely false.

Since we have confirmation that the text in our possession today, which has Matthew’s autograph attached, was written by him within 28 years of Jesus death and Resurrection, our confidence in these statements must be high. The secular accounts of Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and many other non-Christian writers, agree with the text of Matthew. Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and resurrected three days later; in fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies that were written as much as 1,500 years before Jesus was born.

Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd write:

“Christian scholars have long noted that a number of ancient non-Christian literary sources make mention of Jesus, including Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, Celsus, Lucian of Samosata, Mara bar Serapion, and certain Jewish rabbinic traditions. They have argued that not only do these sources attest to Jesus’s existence in history but also that some of them offer information that serves to corroborate certain aspects of Jesus’s life as recorded in the Gospels.”[26]

Dr. Thiede concluded that these three papyrus fragments must have been written between the time of the crucifixion, about 32 A.D, and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, in 70 A. D. This places the writing of Matthew’s gospel, at a time, when the events he describes, took place. This makes his testimony; first-hand, eye witness accounts.

Prophecy as evidence

Prophecies which described the Messiah’s Crucifixion are anticipatory evidence of the events which Jesus accomplished. All the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament, were written by the Hebrew prophets—from 600 to 1,500 years before He was born.

Similar to Isaiah chapter 53, Psalm 22 contains the detailed descriptions of an individual who is being crucified. At the time that David wrote Psalm 22, Crucifixion did not exist. It would be many hundreds of years beyond David’s descriptions of Psalm 22, before the Persians would devise this vicious and brutal form of execution.[27] One thousand years after David wrote a vivid portrayal of the most horrible method of execution known to man; Jesus would be crucified and fulfill every point of this amazing prophecy from Psalm 22.

The Details of Jesus Crucifixion found in Psalm 22:

• He will be forsaken by God: Psalm 22:1
• He will die during the afternoon: Psalm 22:2
• He will be despised: Psalm 22:6
• Observers disgusted with Him: Psalm 22:7
• Observers will mock Him: Psalm 22:8
• He was Born to die: Psalm 22:9-10
• He will die from a ruptured heart: Psalm 22:13-17
• He will thirst: Psalm 22:13-17
• He will be hated and mocked Psalms 22:16a
• His hands and feet will be pierced: Psalm 22:16
• He will be naked before the world: Psalm 22:17-18
• His clothing will be gambled for: Psalm 22:18
• He will commit Himself to God: Psalm 22:19-21
• He will destroy the works of the devil: Psalm 22:20-21
• The true meaning of love defined: Psalm 22:22
• His death wins Him Rulership: Psalm 22:27-29
• Eyewitnesses will record this event: Psalm 22:30-31

Isaiah adds a specific detail to the above crucifixion of Jesus: He will be scourged resulting in stripes upon His body.

The description of Isaiah’s prophecy, portrays the suffering that the Messiah experienced by scourging, for the express purpose of punishment for our sins. Every tearing of His flesh, every drop of blood that fell upon the ground, each searing arrow of pain that shot through Jesus body, was for the sins that you and I have committed. The judgment which Jesus endured, while under the scourge, and later while hanging upon the cross; was intended for us. Jesus was innocent of any sin. He had never committed any wrong, nor was He guilty of any offense. Despite His innocence, Jesus willingly allowed evil men to torture Him to death so that we would never have to endure judgement for our sins.

With each and every stripe placed upon Jesus body, Isaiah describes our healing. All of His suffering, was for the express purpose of setting us free from our own future and eternal suffering.

For a detailed account describing what Jesus experienced during His arrest, scourging and crucifixion, see the chapter: Crucified.

The cross and the scourging by which Jesus suffered, is meant to be an illustration of God’s love for us. Paul reminds us that our life is similar to a race. We are not spectators, we are active participants. Therefore, as we keep our eyes on Jesus and remember the suffering He endured, we stay faithful to Him and endure our own suffering.

Because we are in a race, we are seeking to throw off or lay aside anything that might slow us down. This is not limited to sin only, but anything that would hinder our ability to finish well.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

The term: Lay aside every weight, is translated from the Greek word onkon, which is any weight or hindrance.[28] An athlete in the ancient Olympic games would often run their race completely naked in order to prevent even their own clothing from slowing them down. The implication for us here in this illustration is that we should travel as light as we can, maintaining a light touch on the things of the world. The more heavily we become entrenched in this world, the less we are able to accomplish the things the Lord has designed for us.

When I was a young man, I worked hard and purchased everything that my heart desired. As a result it took me many years to pay off the debt that I accumulated. The things that I believed that I could not live without, preventing me from enjoying the things that I should not live without.

Today I live a simple lifestyle, based upon what the Lord provides. Though I am far from wealthy, the Lord always provides all that I need and I have no want for anything more. By living this way, I am able to devote all of my time to writing, teaching, and encouraging people in their own relationship with the Lord.

If there is anything in our life that is slowing us down in our race to finish well with Jesus, we should lay it aside.

A final important point of this prophecy from, Isaiah 50:6a: I gave My back to those who struck Me. The suffering that Jesus endured under the scourge, and later by the cross; are an important illustration of His Sonship as a servant to the Father. Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. In the same way; we have the privilege of learning our own obedience, by the various trials that we suffer. May we all remain faithful, and ready to learn—regardless of our suffering.

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

Jesus thought so much of us that He thought so little of Himself. He suffered the scourge and the cross without regard to His own well being—so that today we might be free.


NOTES:
[1] From Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the Physical death of Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986;255(11):1455-63. Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, all rights reserved.
[2] 1. No credible Biblical scholar today believes that Jesus was not a real person of history. The evidence for His existence is so overwhelming, that to deny Jesus lived in Galilee at the time depicted in the New Testament would place any writer in a classification of incompetency
2. Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: “biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted”
James D. G. Dunn “Paul’s understanding of the death of Jesus” in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are “a thoroughly dead thesis”
The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.
[3] 1. 1. The certainty of Jesus’ existence and His life, death, crucifixion, and resurrection are established today by reliable historical records other than the Bible. The writings of Tacitus proves beyond any doubt that Jesus was a real man, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate under Roman authority
The fact that Tacitus and the history of the Roman government records the same events occurring during the same period of history that the four Gospels record these events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—should cause any serious historian to conclude they are authentic. There is no contradictory evidence in any of the writings of Tacitus that controverts the New Testament narrative of Jesus Christ.
Further writings of the Emperor Trajan, Pliny the Younger, and Josephus—all affirm the accounts, given by Tacitus, of the events that took place at Jesus’ crucifixion before Pontius Pilate
Tacitus displayed no favoritism nor sympathy towards Jesus or the new Christian church. The tone in which Tacitus describes Christians is both hostile and negative—so much so, any reader would never conclude that Tacitus was trying to record events to assist the Christian message, nor authenticate or validate Jesus as the Messiah, whom the Christian church claimed Him to be2. Eddy & Boyd (2007) The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127 states that it is now “firmly established” that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.
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 30-32
The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 109-110
Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Doubleday: 1991. vol 1: p. 168-171
[4] 1.Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
J2.esus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39
[5] Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
[6] 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
[7] 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
[8] 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
[9] Eddy & Boyd (2007) The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127 states that it is now “firmly established” that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus
[10] “The annals by Cornelius Tacitus,” Anthony John Woodman 2004 ISBN 0-87220-558-4 pages 10-20
[11] 1.The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero by Cornelius Tacitus and J. C. Yardley ISBN 0-19-282421-X Oxford pages 2-27.
2.”Tacitus and the Writing of History,” by Ronald H. Martin 1981 ISBN 0-520-04427-4, pages 104–105.
[12] Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53
Tradition and Incarnation: Foundations of Christian Theology by William L. Portier 1993 ISBN 0-8091-3467-5 page 263
[13] Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (2007-08-01). Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (Kindle Locations 3424-3428). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[14] John Meier, Marginal Jew, 1: 90; see also Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” 465.
[15] Studying the historical Jesus: evaluations of the state of current research by Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 90-04-11142-5 pages 465-466
The Jesus Legend: a case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition by Paul R. Eddy, Gregory A. Boyd 2007 ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 181
[16] 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.”
[17] 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
[18] 1.Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfer (Aug 24, 2009) ISBN 0691143188 page 141 and 9
2.Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 177-118
[19] Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83
[20] See Josephus, Antiquities, trans. L. H. Feldman, LCL (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), 48, 50.
[21] Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996.
[22] Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996
[23] “P064-Mat-26.7-8-26.10-26.14-15-II” by unknown writer in 3rd century – http://chrles.multiply.com/. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P064-Mat-26.7-8-26.10-26.14-15-II.jpg#mediaviewer/File:P064-Mat-26.7-8-26.10-26.14-15-II.jpg
[24] The Times of London, December 24, 1994
[25] Ibid.
[26] Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (2007-08-01). Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (p. 166). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[27] 1. Stavros, Scolops (σταῦρός, σκόλοψ). The cross; encyclopedia Hellinica
2. Translation by Aubrey de Selincourt. The original, “σανίδα προσπασσαλεύσαντες, ἀνεκρέμασαν … Τούτου δὲ τοῦ Ἀρταύκτεω τοῦ ἀνακρεμασθέντος …”, is translated by Henry Cary (Bohn’s Classical Library: Herodotus Literally Translated. London, G. Bell and Sons 1917, pp. 591–592) as: “They nailed him to a plank and hoisted him aloft … this Artayctes who was hoisted aloft”.
3. W.W. How and J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1912), vol. 2, p. 336
[28] From Strongs #3591, Greek Lexicon