Earlier today, someone said this to me:
“There is historical evidence for Jesus crucifixion…but not any of his miracles.”
As those words hit me, I groaned inside. Why? Because I think this guy is just expressing something that is mistakenly assumed by so many skeptics of Christianity.
I try to reach a skeptical audience with this blog – i’m not always successful. Having said that…it strikes me that, if I’m a Biblical skeptic, i’m not going to be too impressed by evidence of Jesus miracles from the pages of the Bible itself. So…what about evidence of Jesus miracles OUTSIDE the pages of the Bible? Does any of this corroborating evidence exist…evidence that supports the evidence in the Bible?
Well – I explored some of the earliest reporting from those who were hostile to Jesus here. A priori knowledge about Jesus and his supernatural status is being explained away by some of these skeptical reports. If this is a boot print in history, then the nature defying Jesus of the New Testament is that boot.
You can find more interesting details on how the early enemies of Jesus viewed him here:
But the extra-Biblical evidence of a supernatural Jesus goes further.
Archaeologists have also uncovered evidence suggesting that the followers of Jesus did not simply view him as a good man…they worshipped him as God.
First – the earliest portrayal of Jesus Christ we are aware of is a piece of graffiti that is drawn with the intention of insulting Jesus and Christians in general. It shows a man with a donkey’s head being crucified…and another man standing to the side with one hand outstretched. Beneath this is written in Greek, “Alexamenos worships [his] God.”
Weird, eh? But actually, the early Christian claims of a crucified God were viewed as ridiculous. The Christian claim that Jesus rose from the dead was treated with as much scepticism then as it is viewed by so many today. This graffiti qualifies as ancient satire, it was drawn to poke fun at the early Christians. And it corroborates an important fact. Early Christians – strict monotheists – worshiped Jesus. What would cause strict monotheistic Jews who worshipped Yahweh…to worship Jesus?
Second – two inscriptions found on ossuaries (jars containing skeletal remains) dated around AD 50 – are actually prayers addressed to Jesus…asking for his help. Mark Mittleberg asks a penetrating question. “How is it that Jesus – if he never lived or never rose from the dead – is invoked in prayer a mere twenty years after his death?”
Where does this leave us? Well – if we are willing to look – corroborating evidence supports the claim of the New Testament. Specifically – that Jesus lived, he died, he rose from the dead and his followers worshipped him as God; they genuinely and honestly initiated the spread of Christianity.
If the history is right…and Jesus rose from the dead as the New Testament Gospels affirm…then it confirms His recorded claims to be God Himself. Why? Because the thing that eventually masters each and every one of us – death – has no power over Him. In the light of that…wouldn’t it make sense to bring our lives under His love and care?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29, NIV
 Mark Mittleberg, The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, Tyndale House 2010, 77.