We, Christians already know that Jesus was a historical figure, and so does most of the world. That indicates that his life took place during a particular time period, and in a particular place. It was in the first thirty-three years of the first century, in what we now call Israel, or more geographically appropriate according to Roman history, Palestine.
History is so important to support what the Bible tells us in Jesus’ case that E.F. Harrison said: “Some religions, both ancient and modern, require no historical basis, for they depend upon ideas rather than events. Christianity is not one of these.” We as Christians need to recognize at the beginning of our study on Jesus that the quality of evidence, based on eye-witness accounts in the New Testament is very good.
So often we forget that people in biblical days were just as skeptical as we are, if not more so due to the massive amounts of different creeds of the time. Peter said: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. He also said in Acts: “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him”.
Many love to quote from Luke because he was so thorough, which came naturally to him as a Doctor. As a matter of fact Grant Jeffreys has pointed out that: “One of the greatest subjects of dispute is the question of what historical evidence qualifies as acceptable proof of t he life of Jesus of Nazareth”. This has been debated throughout all of history since the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ.
In the latter part of the 1800’s, Sir William Ramsay decided to disprove the gospel’s historical events. He decided to use the best tool at his disposal, archaeology. But all of hist studies on Luke’s works forced him to one simple conclusion. “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy; he is possessed of the true historical sense…In short this author should be placed along with the very greatest of all historians.”
The eye-witness nature of the gospel, and the fact that they were all written by different men stands to reason that they are indeed accurate. And those same facts, have not changed, and will not change. God is God, Jesus is Jesus, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.