Will the real Jesus please stand up?

What is the evidence for Jesus? Can we trust the accounts of his life in the New Testament? Some people claim he never lived – is that plausible? How much can we really know about a man who lived, died and allegedly came back to life again 2,000 years ago? In a new booklet we’re publishing online today (and available for free), Justin Brierley, presenter of the show Unbelievable? on Premier Christian Radio, and author of the book Unbelievable?, looks at the arguments surrounding the life of Jesus.

Download the Will the Real Jesus Please Stand up? booklet for free here.

The booklet explores the way the story of Jesus has been recast in modern times, looking at Jesus as a guru, Jesus as a rabble-rousing political revolutionary, and Jesus as the husband of Mary Magdalene. But it also looks at attempts to eliminate Jesus, from writers who claim that Jesus was a fictional character created by the church. Despite the fact that no respected historian holds this view, any simply internet search asking, ‘Did Jesus exist?’ produces hundreds of results, showing that it is a widely-argued subject with no serious academic foundation.

Justin Brierley says: ‘Jesus-mythicism is a classic example of a movement that can only exist online. Yet, for mainstream academics, the view that Jesus never existed belongs in the same category as those who claim that the moon landings were a hoax.’

The booklet goes on to look at the historical evidence for the life of Jesus, and for his death by crucifixion. It concludes by asking why any of this matters. Says Brierley: ‘I meet plenty of people who are happy to agree that a man called Jesus lived in first-century Judea. They will usually affirm that he was a good moral teacher whose words would have an impact on the world for centuries to come. But believing he was the Son of God whose death paves the way to salvation? That’s a step too far.’

Find out more by downloading the Will the Real Jesus Please Stand up? booklet for free here.

This booklet is an extract from the book Unbelievable? by Justin Brierley, published by SPCK.