Mark 1:4, Did Jesus Exist?

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

//In a recent forum, the topic came up of whether Jesus, the man, ever existed. Doubters point out the unlikelihood that any writer of the New Testament had ever met Jesus, and then point to the lack of reliable evidence external to the Bible. The external references that do exist are rare, and some, such as the famous Testimonium Flavianum passage by Jewish historian Josephus, where Josephus describes Jesus as the Messiah and tells how he rose on the third day, are universally considered forgeries.

Yet most New Testament scholars have little doubt about Jesus’ existence, based on the sheer volume of indirect evidence. Let me give you an example.

Virtually every scholar recognizes from the Bible that the Baptist movement and the Christian movement were in competition. And virtually every scholar recognizes the embarrassment of admitting that Jesus was initially a follower of John, and was even baptized by John. Mark’s Gospel hints that, like everyone else, Jesus approached John to be baptized “for the forgiveness of sins!” Yikes! No wonder the connection between Jesus and the Baptist is progressively downplayed in the Gospel accounts until, when we get to the final Gospel, John’s Gospel, Jesus isn’t even baptized!It’s safe to conclude that, if Jesus wasn’t baptized by John, there wouldn’t be a whisper of the whole embarrassing connection in any of the Gospels.

So, there you have it, one little indirect piece of the pie that helps scholars conclude Jesus was a real, living, breathing person.

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