Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"
If we are to asked an Atheist the answers would vary from calling Jesus as a lunatic, a pretender, and a myth. Probably there would be those who will consider him as a somewhat Gandhi type hero but not what He claims to be--as the Son of God. Yes, to some Jesus is just a Good Moral Teacher but NEVER a God.
Let us see if the above view against the personal character, history, and existence of Jesus had any basis at all.
If Jesus is NOT the Messiah or the Prophesied Christ from the Old Testament, then this will proved many things: First, Christianity is just a futile and meaningless religion. Next, there is a possibility that there is probably no God at all or maybe other faith is Real.
Jesus claims that the prophets had wrote about Him before he came into this world in human form. (John 8:58)
There are about 300 prophesy from the Old Testament (OT) regarding the coming Savior of Israel. About 50% of these future events are beyond the control of His follower if they had "invented a conspiracy" regarding His establishment of Jesus Sect. Sorry, I am getting ahead of the story.
Did you know that the odds of your being injured by a lightning strike on any given day are only 1 in 250 million. Now, what are the chance that a baby born from Bethlehem 2000 years ago could be the Messiah.
Let us examined the baby's birthplace. Jesus was born in Bethlehem...so what specific verse tell us that?
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”--Micah 5:2
Check! Well, from Ancient times does not seem to fit just an ordinary human savior we are talking here. Micah is not telling here another Moses or David. He is specifically describing a pre-existing being here. And yet, he is also telling that this person will come from the lineage of Judah. Gospel writer like Matthew and John painstakingly trace the bloodline to prove their claim. Another check!
In 1012 B.C. David wrote this in Psalm 22
16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. 17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
That was 800 years to the future before the Romans adopted the extreme penalty of crucifixion. The 12 apostle could plot Jesus suicide but not the above specific prophesy. They would need the cooperation of the Roman Government to act the scene. Invent an execution around 200 years in effect before this was applied to the intended fake person. They would need a director who will survive more or less 1000 years to make this play work from first shooting day to end. Would make another problem when you will need the help of your own oppressor who do not consider YHWH as their God.
The Jesus sect would have to ask the help also of non-Christian and even non-Jewish historian to write the fake events.
The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious “Christians” (from Christus, which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44). Also read Tacitus on Christ
Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).
These was also described by the Gospel writers what happen that day. So the plotters was also able to influence the timing of a solar eclipse.
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. -- Luke 23:24-25 (see also Matthew 27 and Mark 15)
From the OT there's a prophesy (circa 750 BCE) about this event also in Amos 8:9...
On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight.
Malachi 3:1, was written in about 425 B.C., specified that the Messiah would be contemporary with the temple in Jerusalem--a temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D. and has never been rebuilt.
Maybe you can call this writing from Zechariah in chapter 11(500 years before Jesus was born) as coincidence to what Matthew recorded in 27:3-10 w
11 And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.Now let us see what really are the ODDS?
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.--Zechariah 11:11-13
A number of years ago, Peter W. Stoner and Robert C. Newman wrote a book entitled Science Speaks. The book was based on the science of probability and vouched for by the American Scientific Affiliation. It set out the odds of any one man in all of history fulfilling even only eight of the 60 major prophecies (and 270 ramifications) fulfilled by the life of Christ.
The probability that Jesus of Nazareth could have fulfilled even eight such prophecies would be only 1 in 1017. That's 1 in 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.
Stoner claims that that many silver dollars would be enough to cover the face of the entire state of Texas two feet deep. Who in his right mind would suppose that a blindfolded man, heading out of Dallas by foot in any direction, would be able, on his very first attempt, to pick up one specifically marked silver dollar out of 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000?
More prophesy fulfilled shall be discuss on future blog if God allow...
That is why I don't have enough faith to be an Atheist.