the big question
Q: I recently saw an article about finding the historical Jesus which claimed Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. Does this invalidate our faith?
overcome the forces of nature when interacting with man. C.S. Lewis commented the Scriptures have the feel of reality. When people saw Jesus heal someone, they displayed appropriate reactions like awe and fear, yet animals didn’t talk nor did trees walk. Plus, the authors depicted real people who had faults and weakness. Even Jesus, the only sinless man, had normal emotions we can all relate to.
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ACTUALLY, YOU BROUGHT UP TWO ISSUES. The first relates to the validity behind the movement to find the historical Jesus.
In 1985, New Testament scholar Robert Funk began the Jesus Seminar because he refused to believe in miracles and didn’t trust the Gospels. Instead, he looked for sources outside the Bible to explain the human behind what he considered a mythical person. He used several sources written hundreds of years after the death of Christ. The length of time between the event and the recorded story lends a greater tendency toward legend. On the other hand, writers of the four Gospels interviewed eyewitnesses and penned their ancient biographies in the early years after Jesus ascended. John was the last, dating earlier than A.D. 90. This enhances their reliability. In comparison to the historical Jesus movement, Christians believe the Bible, which states God can
The second subject you questioned was the date of Christ’s birth, but no one can be certain of that. Gospel authors cared more about the timing of the Crucifixion and Resurrection since redemption forms the center of our faith. However, many intellectuals have guessed. My favorite theory of the many proposed bases the date on the Crucifixion. Early scholars thought great events happened on the same day, so in A.D. 200, Tertullian of Carthage calculated the exact time of Christ’s death. He placed the Conception on the same day, March 25, so nine months later, the Nativity would have occurred on December 25. The Eastern Orthodox Church chose a day in April, so they celebrate Christmas on January 6, hence the twelve days of Christmas from December 25 to January 6. In summary, we have strong evidence the Gospels present our Lord accurately, since writers wrote soon after the events occurred. As John the Baptist declared, Jesus was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. The exact moment of His birth may always remain a mystery, but we can celebrate His birth because He brought hope to the world. This holiday season, rejoice in the angel’s good tidings.