view episode 8—life (english subtitles)
Welcome to the FAQ for module 8—life. The following questions include video and/or written answers and are also included in the guide for your leader. You may like to raise these questions during your group time, and we also place them here for you to explore and re-explore at your leisure.
Q 1. Is there evidence for Jesus’ existence outside the Bible?
Yes, there are other writings (written by non-Christians) that refer to Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings, his alleged miracles, his death and his alleged resurrection.
Q 3. Why didn’t ancient historians record more about the life of Jesus if he is so important?
There are many possible reasons why there are not more ancient references to Jesus of Nazareth.
Q 4. Why should we think that the four Gospels give us accurate information about the real Jesus?
Christians take the four Gospels (and the rest of the New Testament) as their primary and sufficient source for their belief that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed and was the Messiah. Christians believe the Gospels provide a reliable history of Jesus because:
- They were written by men determined to record the truth
- The information in them does not conflict with what we know of history at that time.
Q 5. What makes Christians think the writers of the Gospels could remember the words and works of Jesus so accurately?
The Gospel writers could remember the words and works of Jesus accurately because:
- Events recorded within 30 years do not require extreme recall
- They lived in a world that practised the discipline of ‘oral tradition’
- Jesus said and did things more than once (John 21:25)
- Jesus was a memorable teacher who taught and acted in ‘unforgettable’ ways
- Written records of Jesus’ life and teachings were available long before the Gospels were written
- The Holy Spirit gave special help in the recall process.
Q 9. Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah?
Yes. Three of Jesus’ recorded claims to be the Messiah are found in Matthew 16:16–17, Matthew 26:63–64 and John 4:25–26.
Q 10a. What does it mean that Jesus is the ‘Messiah’?
The word ‘Messiah’ means ‘anointed one’. When the Bible says that Jesus is the Messiah, it means that Jesus is God’s specially anointed servant. God had other servants who were referred to as his anointed servants (e.g. Israel, King Nebuchadnezzar, King Cyrus the Great) but God predicted the coming of one special anointed servant king, Jesus the Messiah.
Q 10b. Where was it predicted that the Messiah would be both God and human?
Some Old Testament predictions that the Messiah would be God and human are found in Psalm 110:1, Isaiah 9:6–7, Jeremiah 23:5–6 and Micah 5:2.
Q 10c. Why did the Messiah need to be God?
There are two reasons why the Messiah had to be God: (1) he needed to be God to restore the world into a place of peace; and (2) he needed to be God to restore the people to himself.
Q 11a. Did Jesus actually claim to be God?
Yes. The Gospels tell us Jesus claimed to be God in three ways:
- Jesus said he was equal with God.
- Jesus used God’s actual names for himself.
- Jesus exercised God’s exclusive rights as his own.
Q 11b. What does it mean that Jesus is the ‘Son of God’?
The term ‘Son of God’ means two things: (1) that Jesus is God’s appointed King; and (2) that Jesus is God’s unique Son.
Q 12. If there is only one God, how could Jesus claim to be God? If Jesus were God, wouldn’t this make two Gods?
There is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6, 8; 1 Timothy 2:5) but there are three persons within this one God. We refer to this somewhat mind-bending concept as God’s tri-unity or the Trinity (see also module 3—the beginning, Q 6).
Q 13a. Why did Jesus do miracles?
The miracles of Jesus show God approved of Jesus and his teaching.
Q 13b. Do people need more miracles today to enable them to believe in Jesus?
Q 15. Was Jesus’ mother really a virgin and why was this necessary?
Two Gospels definitely say that Jesus’ mother was a virgin and the other two (along with the rest of the New Testament) assume it.
The person we now know as Jesus actually existed before his birth as God the Son—the second person of the Trinity. Therefore, he did not need a beginning—he already existed. What he needed was a human body and this was specially arranged by the intervention of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
Q 16. Why is it important to think about Jesus’ perfect life?
There are two reasons why we should think about Jesus’ perfect life:
- To show that Jesus is perfectly ‘sane’ even when claiming to be God
- To show Jesus was sinless and therefore a suitable saviour.
Q: Can the weather presenter predict the future? Part 1
All of us look up a weather report at some stage. When events are weather-dependent (e.g. when to put out the washing or when to go swimming at the beach), we need to know what the forecast is. And hopefully, the forecast is right—but of course sometimes it isn’t.
Q. Eyewitness news: Do the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) contain accurate eyewitness accounts about Jesus?
This video is by Dr Peter Williams from Tyndale House, the University of Cambridge. He discusses some new evidence that the Gospels do record the events of real people in real places in real time. In other words, real history!