The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter by Ilya Repin
I believe that it is likely that a man living in first century Palestine with the name of Jesus (a very common name) developed the reputation as a healer and (minor) miracle worker; preached an apocalyptic message; did or said something to antagonize the Jewish authorities; was executed by the Romans; and soon after his death, some of his followers believed that he appeared to them.
But I do not believe that the Jesus described in the Gospels ever existed.
There are many reasons why the Jesus of the Gospels most probably never existed, but here is what I believe to be the strongest evidence against the historicity of this character: Not one non-Christian contemporary of Jesus mentions a single word about him.
Jesus allegedly healed more people during his short ministry than all the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament combined. Yet not one non-Christian contemporary of Jesus mentioned this fact. But here is the kicker: Only three people in all the Old Testament were allegedly raised from the dead. Compare that to the number of people allegedly raised from the dead by Jesus, his apostles, and Paul. If we include the “many” saints who were allegedly shaken out of their graves on the day of the Resurrection to walk the streets of Jerusalem, we are talking about dozens, maybe hundreds of people being raised from the dead!
But let’s exclude this group of people from our count as even some conservative Christians will agree that Matthew’s “Dead Saints Shaken Out of their Graves Story” is most likely theological hyperbole (fiction). Let’s count all the other people (allegedly) raised from the dead in the New Testament: Six, including Jesus. Six! Six people were allegedly brought back from the dead by Jesus and his followers…but not one non-Christian contemporary of Jesus bothered to mention this fact!
The Jewish philosopher Philo was a contemporary of Jesus living in Alexandria, Egypt. Philo mentions Pilate quite a bit, but not one word about the man who raised just as many people from the dead as Elijah and Elisha combined!
Jesus and his followers allegedly performed more miracles and raised more people from the dead than all the prophets of Israel combined…but…neither Philo nor any other non-Christian contemporary of Jesus thought these facts were important enough to record them in their writings.
Give me a break.
The Jesus of the Gospels is fiction, folks!
Alleged Persons Raised from the Dead in the Old Testament:
1. Elijah raised the son of the Zarephath widow from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-22).
2. Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-35).
3. A man was raised from the dead when his body touched Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:20, 21).
Alleged Persons Raised from the Dead in the New Testament:
1. Many saints rose from the dead at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 27:50-53).
3. Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (Luke 7:11-15).
4. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-55).
5. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).
6. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-41).
7. Eutychus was raised from the dead by Paul (Acts 20:9, 10).