RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
We are delighted to share with you our library of resources. You can use the filter feature below to find topics most relevant to your curriculum.
Jesus: Evidence for His Existence
Evidence from history: Old Testament scriptures
An important piece of evidence as to whether the Christian faith in Jesus can be proved is the way the whole Bible points to Jesus Christ - the Old Testament as well as the New.
To take just one example, the Old Testament records how God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. On the way to the appointed place, Isaac asks his father, 'Where is the animal for the offering?' and Abraham replies, 'God Himself will provide the offering.' You can read about this story in Genesis 22.
To us, this is a peculiar story. It does not make a lot of sense until we see that, in the end, when God has told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac after all, God Himself provides the sacrifice. We begin to see how this story points forward to God's sacrifice of His only son.
This story foreshadows God sacrificing his own Son, Jesus, as an atonement for the sins of humanity, providing salvation to the world.
ISRAEL'S DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT
However, it is not just individual stories that point to Christ. The whole record of Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt is a picture of God delivering His people through Jesus. The Passover lamb itself is another picture of Christ, taken up in the New Testament.
THE ANCIENT ISRAEL SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM
The system of animal sacrifices points to the need for death to take away sin. However, the Old Testament sacrifices never completely met this need. Rather, they point forward to the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
THE KINGS OF JUDAH
The kings in the Old Testament also point forward to Jesus, the one true divine ruler. God told King David,
'When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.' 2 Samuel 7:12-13
This is why in the New Testament it is so important that Jesus is a descendant of David. Matthew introduces his Gospel with the words, 'This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David...' Luke also draws our attention to the fact that Jesus' legal father, Joseph, was also a descendant of King David (Luke 1:26-27).
PROPHECIES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The prophetic books in the Old Testament also point forward to Christ. Prophecy reaches its peak in passages like Psalm 110. This Psalm is one of the parts of the Old Testament most frequently quoted in the New, and it is always applied to Jesus.
Or we could think of the 'Servant Songs' of Isaiah. The best known of these is in Isaiah 53, where it says:
'It was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God for His own sins!
But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us were like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the guilt and sin of us all.'
In summary, the Old Testament scriptures point to Jesus through individual stories like Abraham and Isaac, through the sacrificial system, through the kingship of David's line, and through the words of the prophets. Many Christians consider this evidence enough that Jesus existed and was the Messiah, the Son of God, sent to offer salvation to a broken world.
You can read more historical evidence for Jesus' existence by clicking on the links below:
These pages have been produced by David Couchman MA (Cantab), MSc. The material is taken from the Facing the Challenge course and is used with permission.