Mystery Versus History
The Gnostic gospels are not historical accounts of Jesus’ life but instead are largely esoteric sayings, shrouded in mystery, leaving out historical details such as names, places, and events. This is in striking contrast to the New Testament Gospels, which contain innumerable historical facts about Jesus’ life, ministry, and words.
Who would you be more likely to believe—someone who says, “Hey, I’ve got some secret facts that were mysteriously revealed to me,” or someone who says, “I’ve searched all the evidence and history and here it is for you to make up your mind on”? Keeping that question in mind, consider the following two statements, the first from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (c. 110-150 A.D.) and the second from the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke (c. 55-70 A.D.).
- These are the hidden sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Judas Thomas the Twin recorded.
- Many people have written accounts about the events that took place among us. They used as their source material the reports circulating among us from the early disciples and other eyewitnesses of what God has done in fulfillment of his promises. Having carefully investigated all of these accounts from the beginning, I have decided to write a careful summary for you, to reassure you of the truth of all you were taught. (Luke 1:1-4, NLT)
Do you find the open and aboveboard approach of Luke appealing? And do you find the fact that it was written closer to the original events to be in favor of its reliability? If so, that’s what the early church thought as well.
And most scholars concur with the early church’s view that the New Testament is the authentic history of Jesus. New Testament scholar Raymond Brown has said of the Gnostic gospels, “We learn not a single verifiable new fact about the historical Jesus’ ministry, and only a few new sayings that might possibly have been his.”
Thus, even though the Gnostic writings have impressed some scholars, their late dating and questionable authorship can’t compare with the New Testament. Such contrast between the New Testament and the Gnostic writings is devastating to those pushing conspiracy theories. New Testament historian F. F. Bruce wrote, “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.”
Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?
The greatest question of our time is “Who is the real Jesus Christ?” Was he just an exceptional man, or was he God in the flesh, as Paul, John, and his other disciples believed?
The eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ actually spoke and acted like they believed he physically rose from the dead after his crucifixion. If they were wrong then Christianity has been founded upon a lie. But if they were right, such a miracle would substantiate all Jesus said about God, himself, and us.
But must we take the resurrection of Jesus Christ by faith alone, or is there solid historical evidence? Several skeptics began investigations into the historical record to prove the resurrection account false. What did they discover?
Was There A “Da Vinci” Conspiracy?
“Mona Lisa’s Smirk” investigates the world’s leading conspiracy theory about Jesus Christ. Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene married? Did Constantine order the destruction of the true records of Jesus Christ reinventing him into the God Christians worship today?
Did Jesus Say What Happens After We Die?
If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then he must know what is on the other side. What did Jesus say about the meaning of life and our future? Are there many ways to God or did Jesus claim to be the only way? Read the startling answers in “Why Jesus?”
Can Jesus Bring Meaning To Life?
“Why Jesus” looks at the question of whether or not Jesus is relevant today. Can Jesus answer the big questions of life: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” And, “Where am I going?” Dead cathedrals and crucifixes have led some to believe that he can’t, and that Jesus has left us to cope with a world out of control. But Jesus made claims about life and our purpose here on earth that need to be examined before we write him off as uncaring or impotent. This article examines the mystery of why Jesus came to earth.
Permission to reproduce this article: Publisher grants permission to reproduce this material without written approval, but only in its entirety and only for non-profit use. No part of this material may be altered or used out of context without publisher’s written permission. Printed copies of this article and Y-Origins and Y-Jesus magazine may be ordered at: http://jesusonlineministries.com/resources/products/
© 2012 JesusOnline Ministries. This article is a supplement to Y-Jesus magazine by Bright Media Foundation & B&L Publications: Larry Chapman, Chief Editor.