To historians, the facts regarding Jesus are as definite and evident as those of Julius Caesar. Not only do we find an accurate portrait of Him in the documents of the New Testament, but dozens of ancient non-biblical manuscripts confirm that Jesus was a genuine historical figure who lived in Palestine in the early part of the first century.
If any adjective were to describe Jesus, it would be “unique.” His message was unique. The claims He made regarding Himself were unique. His miracles were unique. And the influence He has had on the world is unsurpassed by any other.
One very outstanding and undeniably unique aspect of Jesus’ life is that literally hundreds of detailed predictions and prophecies were made many centuries before He was born—specific details regarding His birth, life, and death—that no mere mortal man could possibly have fulfilled. In the Old Testament, over 300 such predictions about the “Messiah” or “Savior” can be found, written centuries before Jesus was born.
In 750 BC, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Seven and a half centuries later, a young virgin in Israel named Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, who announced to her that she would bear a son who would be called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”
The New Testament tells us that “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, seeing I have not lain with any man?’ And the angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God’” (Luke 1:34–35).
When Jesus began His life’s work, He went about everywhere doing good, helping people, loving children, healing heartaches, strengthening tired bodies, and bringing God’s love to all whom He could. He not only preached His message, but He lived it as one of us. He not only ministered to people’s spiritual needs, but He spent a great deal of time ministering to their physical and material needs, miraculously healing them, giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cleansing lepers, raising the dead. He fed the crowds when they were hungry and did all He could to share His life and His love.
Just before He was arrested and crucified, knowing that He would soon be reunited with His heavenly Father, Jesus prayed: “Now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honor in Your presence as I had with You before the world was made” (John 17:5).
The Son of God willingly stripped Himself of His unlimited power and became a tiny helpless infant. He left His throne in heaven where innumerable angels worshipped Him, where all the forces of the universe were at His command, and He took the place of a servant. He was scoffed at, ridiculed, persecuted, and ultimately killed by the very ones He came to save.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is “a high priest who is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, for He was in all points tempted the same way we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Imagine! The Son of God literally became a citizen of this world, a member of humanity in order to redeem us with His love, provide a tangible expression of His compassion and concern, and help us to understand His truth.
Deep in their hearts, most people know that something is missing in their lives. Outwardly they may seem to have everything—money, position, family, friends, all the things that are supposed to make them happy—yet they still have an emptiness, a hunger that nothing really satisfies. Jesus said that He is the bread of life who would fulfill our heart’s “hunger and thirst” (John 6:35). The loneliness, emptiness, and dissatisfaction so common to the human experience can be replaced with lasting peace and joy when we come to Him.
Jesus and His life and teachings are universal. God sent His Son to show all men and women, all nations, all people, what He Himself is like, to freely bring us His great love and truth. In Jesus, the one thing necessary for the salvation and redemption of humankind happened in such a way that it never needs to happen again. It is for this reason that we can claim with certainty that for the greatest ailment of humanity, there is only one specific remedy—Jesus.
The historical facts regarding Jesus of Nazareth cannot be denied by anyone who seriously and open-mindedly examines them. In particular, there is no reason to doubt that after His death something incredible happened that transformed His tiny band of dejected followers into a company of witnesses that all the persecution of Imperial Rome could not stop. Downhearted and discouraged, their Lord cruelly crucified by His enemies, those disciples thought their hopes had died and their dreams had been shattered. But three days after Jesus’ death, their faith was rekindled in such a dramatic manner that no force on earth was able to quench it.
The New Testament tells us that Jesus personally appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses after His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). This was the resounding message that His first disciples boldly proclaimed throughout the world, “God raised Him from the dead!” (Acts 13:30).
And that lowly handful of His original followers went on to tell the entire world the good news that God not only sent His Son into the world to teach us His truth and show us His love, but also that Jesus suffered death for our sake, and then rose from the grave. So we who know and believe in Him never need to fear death again, for we are saved and on our way to heaven, thanks to Jesus.