Jesus' Greatest Miracle?

 During His time on earth, Jesus performed a total of thirty-seven miracles. These are recorded in the gospel accounts written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Of the thirty-seven, are there certain miracles that were more important or more significant than others? Is there one miracle that stands out as the greatest miracle performed by Jesus? The answer can be both yes, and no.

Each miracle performed by Jesus was done to not only show His power over natural law, but to teach His disciples. These miracles were recorded in the Bible so they could also teach us, nearly two thousand years later. In this way each miracle story is unique and very important in helping us to understand Jesus, who He is, and what He was trying to teach the disciples, and indeed us. While every miracle is certainly important, can we pick just one? Perhaps the gospel writers did this for us. 

Of the thirty-seven miracles recorded in the gospels, nineteen of them are only listed in one of the four gospels. Seven miracles are recorded in two of the gospel accounts, while another ten are recorded in three of the gospels. Only one however, is recorded in all four of the gospels. This miracle is the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand men.
As mentioned, this story is unique in that it is the only one of the thirty-seven miracles performed by Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. Is this just an odd fact, or does it signify this miracle has special significance and should therefore receive special attention? I find it hard to believe that anything in the Bible happens by chance or without a higher purpose. 

Whatever the case, there are several messages which can be gleaned from this story. The first is to note that Jesus had gained a very large following. On this day five thousand men had left their homes, jobs and responsibilities to come out and listen to the teachings of Jesus. Given human nature, a great many of these people were probably there in hopes of witnessing one of the miracles Jesus was so well known for. Jesus would not disappoint.
Denarius – This was a Roman coin, made of silver, which was used extensively throughout the Roman empire. It first came into use in 211 B.C. and remained in use up until approximately 244 A.D.
Jesus sees the large crown and turns to Phillip and asked how they are to feed these people. Phillip gives a very practical answer saying that even two hundred denarii would not be enough to feed this multitude. In that day, a denarius would have been equivalent to a day’s wages. Not even two hundred days wages could have bought enough food. Jesus knew this, but he wanted to show the disciples that he had no need of money to fulfill the needs of His followers.
John wrote his gospel in Greek and the term he used for the crowd of people is gender specific (men). This would mean he had only included the men and not the women and children. While there is no way to be certain, it is certainly possible the crowd was as large as fifteen thousand people.
Andrew, Peter’s brother, then tells Jesus that they have five loaves of bread and two fish. Andrew did not see this as an answer but was more likely mentioning these to show just how desperate their situation was. Jesus did not see this as a detriment, but as an opportunity. Jesus was about to show His disciples, as well as His followers, that He could supply their needs with very little.

Jesus took the fish and bread from the youth. When it was all distributed the crowd ate all they wanted and there was excess. Jesus here shows we should not waste, even when we have an excess and even when we did not pay for the items. Jesus ordered the leftovers to be gathered “that nothing be lost”. In all they gathered up twelve baskets of leftover bread when they started with just five loaves.
Jesus used someone and their resources that everyone else overlooked and thought of as insignificant. The boy, who goes unnamed, had very little, but we must assume he surrendered it to Jesus when asked. It seemed like very little, but was more than enough in the hands of Jesus. What do we have that can become something special in the hands of Jesus?
There is a potential significance that the number of baskets was twelve. Some believe the twelve baskets of bread is a direct reference to the twelve tribes of Israel.  – In the time of Moses God feed the twelve tribes of Israel with manna from heaven. Here Jesus feeds the multitude of followers with bread multiplied from five loaves.

The people, when they saw what had happened, began to call Jesus a prophet. It is highly probable they were making a reference to scripture and a statement made by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15.
“Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from among you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him.” – Deut 18:15
In the next verse Jesus sees that the people are ready to take Him away and crown Him king. This was certainly not His plan and He withdrew to the mountains to be alone.

Archaeological DiscoveryA church was erected at the location where the miracle of the loaves and fishes is believed to have taken place. The church is known as the “Church of the Multiplication”. The first church known to be built here was constructed in 350 A.D. – The church was significantly expanded in 480 A.D. The enlargement included the addition of mosaic floors showing a basket of loaves and two fish. The church was mostly destroyed in 614 A.D.  and the site of the church was then lost until 1888. Full excavations took place in 1932 and a new church was inaugurated in 1984.


This miracle is special in a number of ways. It shows Jesus is ready willing and able to supply the needs of His followers. These needs include not only their spiritual needs, but their earthly day-to-day needs as well. He can not only meet these needs but meets them in abundance. It also shows a possible direct reference to an Old Testament scripture and teaches us to not be wasteful with the gifts and blessings supplied by Jesus. There is a great deal to be learned by all of us from this miracle, but is it the greatest miracle Jesus Performed.

Can the feeding of five thousand, or even the potentially fifteen thousand, compare to raising someone from the dead? Restoring a blind man's sight, or casting out a demon? A case can be made for any of these miracles, but the feeding of the five thousand is in a unique setting. Jesus is meeting the everyday needs of His followers, He is feeding them. Throughout the gospel Jesus has meals with His disciples and with His followers. The breaking of bread is very significant and, in this case, Jesus shows He can use very little to help a great many. Is he also perhaps showing just how much we can do for others, even though we believe we may have very little to offer? With the help of Jesus, what we have, as little as it might be, can be multiplied and become far more significant. When combined, all of the various messages and teaching of this miracle make it very important, and very relatable to many. In its simple message of providing for others, Jesus performs one of His greatest miracles.


Post is taken in large part from the book "New Testament Miracles" which is available from Amazon in eBook, paperback or hardcover. 

New Testament Miracles - The 37 miracles of Jesus.

New Book Release

During His earthly ministry Jesus performed thousands of miracles. From curing all types of diseases, to
calming a storm, to raising people from the dead, Jesus showed His power over and over again. The writers of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, recorded 37 specific miracles out of the thousands performed. These were selected to give us a better understanding of who Jesus is as well as demonstrate His power and authority. Each miracle has multiple lessons to teach and only by close examination can you see everything Jesus was attempting to teach his followers two thousand years ago, and today.

This book puts the 37 miracles of Jesus in chronological order. Each entry shows the scripture, where the miracle took place, and gives a commentary on the meaning and lessons of the miracle. There are also interesting facts inserted including archaeological discoveries that help put the miracle stories in a proper context. The text also examines possible contradictions in the miracle stories and shows these are not what they seem.

What more can we learn from Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? Why did Jesus delay in performing miracles for some of those who asked? Get a new perspective on the accounts of all 37 miracles performed by Jesus. The miracles of the New Testament showed Jesus' power during His time on earth, and they still hold power for us today.

This new book is available as an eBook, Paperback, or Hardcover. Which is the only miracle recorded in all four of the gospel accounts? In which city did Jesus perform most of His recorded miracles? How many miracles did Jesus perform that are not recorded in the Bible? How many Americans believe in miracles? Do medical doctors believe in miracles? Find the answers to all of these questions as well as the deeper meaning of the Miracles of Jesus. 

Saint Mark - Uniquely qualified to write the Gospel

Saint Mark wrote the earliest of the four Gospel accounts. Most scholars believe Saint Peter was the source for Mark's Gospel and there is very little reason to doubt this theory. However, far from being simply a stenographer for Peter, Mark was uniquely qualified to write a gospel account of the life of Jesus. Mark's life is anything but ordinary as it intertwines with both the Apostles and Jesus himself. From being an eyewitness, to traveling with the Great Missionary to founding a leading school in Christianity, Mark's life was truly remarkable.

St. Peter and St. Mark
Mark was born in approximately 12 A.D. or 15 years after Jesus. The family lived in what is modern day Libya. While Mark was still an infant his family began to be persecuted and lived under constant threat. To protect his family, Mark's father packed up their things and moved the family to the region of Cana. Sometime shortly after arriving in Cana, tragedy struck the family when Mark's father passed away. In first century Israel a family without a male head of household was at a great disadvantage and just a step away from poverty and living a life of servitude. 

At this point a relative of the family steps in to help. The relative is Peter, future apostle of Jesus. Peter took charge of Mark and made certain the family had food, shelter and that Mark received an education. Peter, having spent his time in the back breaking profession of fishing, may have wanted better for Mark. It is clear Peter thought a great deal of Mark. In 1 Peter 5:13 Peter calls Mark 'my son'. Peter was certainly not a wealthy man, but he was apparently a successful fisherman who could afford a family home in Capernaum, as well as help the family of Mark.

When Mark was just a youth of fourteen, he would be a witness to a truly remarkable event. Early church tradition holds that Mark had been hired as a server at a wedding in Cana. This may have been because Peter and a number of his companions had been invited to the wedding. Also at the wedding was a mother and her son named Jesus. At this wedding Jesus would perform His first miracle when He turned ordinary water into a magnificent wine. Remarkably, Mark was there to see this first miracle of Jesus.

While we have no information on what Mark did over the next few years, it is possible he was traveling with Jesus, at least on a part time basis. Tradition holds that when Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples to spread the good news, Mark was one of them so Jesus was somewhat aware of Mark. The disciples were sent out in pairs, and with Mark being barely twenty years old, it is likely he would have been teamed with an older disciple, but we have no idea of who this could have been. In the Gospel of Luke, we are told these seventy-two disciples traveled to the ends of the earth, healing the sick, and preaching the gospel of Jesus. Here we see Mark was far from a stenographer, he was an active participant in the earthly ministry of Jesus. It should not be overlooked that Luke said these men, including Mark, performed miracles in the name of Jesus. 

Only a short time later it is believed by many that Mark was an eyewitness to the passion of Jesus. It is believed Mark may have been referring to himself when he wrote about the man who ran off into the woods naked. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the story of Mark goes silent for nearly a decade. At some point Mark travels into Egypt to the city of Alexandria. It is believed Mark remained in Alexandria for up to three years before returning to Jerusalem. It seems apparent that during his time in Alexandria, Mark became attached to the city and her people as he would return here many times and he would eventually pay a very high price for his preaching in the city.

Between the years of 46 and 50 A.D. Mark was in Jerusalem and then Antioch with both Paul and Barnabus. We know from the Acts of the Apostles that Mark travelled at least for a time with Saint Paul on his first missionary journey. Historians are uncertain of the reason, but at some point, Mark makes the decision to leave the group. This would later cause a major rift between Paul and Barnabus which was so severe they would go their separate ways over a disagreement about including Mark in a new mission trip. We do know that Paul and Mark reconciled as while Paul was in prison in Rome, he asked for Mark to come and visit him.  In the meantime, Mark had some major work to accomplish.

In approximately 50 A.D. Mark returned to Alexandria and would be made Bishop of the city/region. During this time many credit Mark with founding the Catechetical School of Alexandria. This school would become the premier institution for educating early Christian leaders. The school taught theology, Christian Philosophy, Mathematics, Greek and Roman Literature as well as Logic and the Arts. The school wanted to produce well rounded and well-educated leaders. It was believed this was an absolute necessity given the task at hand and the resistance most, if not all, of the graduates would encounter. Just some of the graduates of the school include Athenagoras, Clement, Jerome, Didymus and Origen the great. 

The school was believed to actually be a part of the great library of Alexandria. This was no ordinary school. One example of the advanced nature of the school was its acceptance of blind students. These students were given lessons carved into wood for them to use/study. This was some 1,500 years before the invention of Braille.

Mark is given credit for bringing Christianity to Egypt as well as founding the Coptic Church. He remained in Alexandria for over a decade before traveling to Rome. Here he would be reunited with Saint Peter and with the help and guidance of Peter, Mark would write his gospel. Form here Mark toured the churches of Asia Minor before returning to the area of Ephesus. 

Saint Mark
While it cannot be confirmed, it is believed Mark once again returned to Rome, this time traveling with Timothy. The two, possibly along with Saint Luke, went to Rome to visit and attend to Saint Paul who was in prison in Rome for the second time. Again, it cannot be confirmed, but many scholars believe Mark may have been with Paul when the Great Missionary was martyred. 

After Paul was executed in 67 or 68 A.D. Mark would return to Alexandria. At some point in 68 or 69 A.D. Mark would attempt to stop a Pagen parade in Alexandria. A mob took hold of Mark, bound him and drug him through the streets of Alexandria for the entire day. When it was found Mark was still alive, they drug him through the streets for a second day. Mark eventually died as a result of the abuse and his body was recovered by his followers.

Mark's Gospel is often believed to be inspired by Saint Peter, and this is certainly possible and is most certainly true to some point. However, Mark's life had been intertwined with not only the life and ministry of Jesus, but with several of the great early Christina leaders including Timothy, Barnabas, Luke, Paul and certainly Peter. Mark knew these apostles, traveled with them, and founded a school to help expand the early church and brought Christianity to Egypt. From witnessing the first miracle of Jesus, to being sent out with the seventy-two, to witnessing the passion of Jesus, Mark was uniquely qualified to write a gospel account of the life of Jesus. 

Potential Timeline of St. Mark's Life

12 a.d. - Mark born in what is modern day Libya

26 a.d. - Jesus begins ministry with wedding at Cana

32 a.d. - Jesus sends out 70 disciples

33 a.d. - Jesus is crucified - witnessed by Mark

41 - 44 a.d. - Mark goes to Alexandria

45 - 47 a.d. - Mark in Jerusalem with Paul and Barnabus

49 - 50 a.d. - Paul's first missionary journey, Mark travels with him

50 - 61 a.d. - Mark Bishop of Alexandria - founded school

61 - 62 a.d. - Mark with Peter in Rome - writes Gospel

63 - 66 a.d. - Tours churches of Asia Minor

66 - 67 a.d. - In Rome with St. Paul

67 - 68 a.d. - Mark returns to Alexandria

68 - 69 a.d. - Mark is killed by mob in Alexandria


"The Bible - Some Assembly Required."

"The Bible is the inspired word of God, but was assembled by human hands. How did the work of forty authors writing over a span of 1,500 years come together into the modern Bible? See the process and people involved in bringing the Bible together."




Did Saint Paul visit Spain?

 Saint Paul was one of the most influential and energetic of the early followers of Jesus. St. Paul
travelled as much as 10,000 miles on his three missionary trips recorded in the Bible. In the years of 47 and 48 A.D. Paul travelled to Cyprus and Galatia. Then from 49 to 52 A.D. Paul travelled through Asia Minor and Greece and settled for a time in Corinth. Finally, in 52 to 55 A.D. Paul again traveled through Greece and possibly what is modern Yugoslavia. These are the three biblical missionary trips of St. Paul during which he both founded and encouraged churches throughout these regions. These three trips are recorded in the Bible and many of Paul's letters were to churches he founded or visited during these trips. While the Bible records three trips, many believe St. Paul made a fourth missionary trip. This trip is hinted at both in the Bible and in other non-biblical writings from the early church. It is believed possible, even probably, St. Paul traveled to Spain, but is there any evidence to back up this possibility?

We will begin our examination of the evidence by looking for clues in the Bible. The Bible makes it very clear, St. Paul both wanted to visit Spain, and intended to do so. However, the Bible, specifically the Book of Acts, concludes without telling us if Paul fulfilled this desire. In the book of Romans, we see the only biblical mention of Paul traveling to Spain.

"But now, no longer having any place in these regions, and having these many years a longing to come to you, whenever I travel to Spain, I will come to you." Romans 15:23-24

 This passage makes it clear St. Paul both wanted to visit Spain and also had intentions and even plans to make the trip. Given the details of St. Paul's travels recorded in the Book of Acts, we know there is only one realistic window of time when he could have made a trip of this nature. 

Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and spent two years in prison there while the authorities decided what to do with him. Eventually, St. Paul was sent to Rome for trial and arrived in Rome in 60 A.D. There he remained under arrest but was allowed to stay in a rented house and could receive visitors. He remained in captivity for two years until he was acquitted of the charges against him and released in 62 A.D. The next we know of Paul's situation is four years later when he is again arrested and put into prison in Rome. This time he does not get a rented house, but instead is likely placed in the notorious Mamertine Prison. St. Paul remained in prison until his martyrdom in approximately 67 A.D. Between St. Paul's release from prison and his second arrest, there is a four-year period of silence in which Paul could have visited Spain.

Traveling between Italy and Spain was quite common in the first century. A trip by boat, depending on the time of year, from Italy to Spain would have taken 4 to 10 days. While the Bible ends before telling us what St. Paul did during these years, there are several early writings that make a direct mention of a possible visit to Spain.

Clement of Rome writes of Paul's travels and tells us Paul went to the "Furthest limits of the west" which in the first century would have been Spain. (1 Clement 5:5-7)

The Muratorian Canon also records St. Paul's travels. "Departure of Paul from the city (of Rome) when he journeyed to Spain."  

In his writings, Cyril of Jerusalem also puts St. Paul in Spain. "And carried the earnestness of all preaching as far as Spain." 

Chrysostom - the Archbishop of Constantinople also wrote of St. Paul. "For after he (Paul) had been in Rome, he returned to Spain..."  

St. Jerome states in a very matter-of-fact tone, as if it were common knowledge, that St. Paul had indeed visited Spain. "St. Paul having been in Spain, went from one ocean to another."  

Each of these writings mention St. Paul having been in Spain. While not scripture, these early writings are considered reliable by most and must be considered as strong evidence of a fourth missionary trip by St. Paul. In addition to these writings, there are ancient traditions regarding St. Paul not only traveling to Spain, but preaching there as well.

 In the city of Tarragona (Barcelona) stands a monument to St. Paul which affirms the tradition St. Paul once preached there.

The small village of Ecija (Seville) also has a monument to St. Paul. The monument is said to mark the spot where St. Paul preached from during his time there.

While the Bible is mostly silent on the subject, the evidence appears to support a fourth missionary trip by St. Paul. In addition to the evidence listed, it should also be noted that St. Paul was not a person inclined to do nothing. After spending two years under arrest and being confined in Rome, it seems extremely likely St. Paul would be eager to get back to work. There is no evidence Paul returned to Jerusalem during the four years in question and while it is possible he remained in Rome preaching and working with the churches there, the writings and traditions indicate otherwise. There is also the fact the early Christian church spread quickly and suddenly in Spain. Is it possible this was the result of four years of hard work and preaching from the Great Missionary?  

Time- Line - St. Paul

33- 36 - Conversion - spend three years in Arabia

36 - 44 - Preaches in Tarsus

44 - 46 - Teaches in Antioch - then visits Jerusalem

47 - 48 - Fist missionary journey - Cyprus and Galatia

49 - Council of Jerusalem

\49 - 52 - Second missionary journey - Asia Minor and Greece

52 - 55 Stayed in Ephesus

55 - 57 - Third missionary journey - Greece and Illyricum

57 - 59 - Returns to Jerusalem - arrested 

59 - 60 - Imprisoned, appeals to Caesar - travels to Rome

60 - 62 - Under house arrest in Rome

63 - 66 Possible Fourth missionary journey - Spain

66 - Arrested, placed in prison

67 - Martyrdom - beheaded.

The evidence strongly indicates St. Paul left Rome and travelled to Spain as he had planned. He spent up to four years there preaching and helping to establish churches. Spain was under Roman rule and at some point Paul was arrested again  and returned to Rome. It is also possible Paul left Spain and travelled to Rome, possibly passing through intending a visit to Jerusalem or churches he previously established. Whatever the circumstances, Paul was arrested and placed in prison in Rome. With the persecution of Christians under Nero, St. Paul was martyred for his faith in Jesus.  Paul is known as the Great Missionary, and it would seem he made a fourth trip not recorded in the Bible and took the good news to the people of Spain.

Bible Reference Sheets

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Contradictions within the miracles of Jesus

The Bible records thirty-seven miracles performed by Jesus. Recorded by the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, these miracles show us the divine power of Jesus. Critics point to possible contradictions within these miracles, and even in which miracles were recorded. Do these claims of contradiction hold any merit? 

Some people see the different miracles recorded in the Gospels as a possible contradiction. Why would the writers not record the same miracles in each of the Gospels? This is not a contradiction at all and in fact the differences should be expected. Each Gospel writer had a wide variety of miracles to choose from for inclusion in their writings. This could be compared to a person who compiles a sports highlight film. If they are to select the greatest plays from a weekend of professional football, there would be more than a dozen games with perhaps thousands of plays to consider. Some of the truly remarkable plays may be included in all of the different highlight reels. Others will depend on the personal taste and opinion of the person compiling the highlights. With so many plays, miracles, to choose from, we should not expect the same highlights in each of the Gospels.

Original audience for each of the Gospels

Matthew - Was written for a primarily Jewish audience to show Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

Mark wrote his Gospel for a Roman audience. By the middle to late first century Christianity had spread to Rome and many believers wanted more information.

Luke was written from a Historian's viewpoint.

John was written to a very broad audience to show everyone could have a life in Christ if they put their faith in Him.

We must remember the gospel writers did not include all of the miracles Jesus preformed. In the gospel of Matthew (9:35-36) he tells us Jesus went through all the towns and villages teaching and healing every disease and sickness. Saint John also tells us he left out a great deal of what Jesus did during His brief time on Earth.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  John 21:25 

Enough of His miracles were recorded to show us His power and authority here on earth. Of the thirty-seven miracles, nineteen of them are recorded in only one of the Gospel accounts. Seven are recorded by two of the Gospels writers while ten are recorded by three of the four Gospels. Only a single miracle, The Feeding of the Five Thousand, is recorded in all four Gospel accounts.

The first of two miracles in which critics point out contradictions is when Jesus raised Jairus's daughter from the dead. This miracle took place in Capernaum in Galilee. It was just one of several miracles Jesus performed on this day. He also restored sight to the two blind men, healed the woman with the bleeding problem and possibly healed a mute man on this day as well. The contradiction revolves around the question of was Jairus's daughter dead, or just very ill. At first reading it is easy to see how the critics can be confused.

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is told “My daughter has just died” while in Mark Jesus is told “My little daughter is at the point of death.” Obviously, both of these cannot be accurate, so critics insist it is a clear contradiction and is evidence the Bible cannot be trusted. As with most supposed contradictions, a closer examination of the scripture reveals the truth.

The major problem here is that Matthew devotes only 9 versus to the story while Matthew writes 22 verses. Matthew’s version is much shorter, and some details are left out. The major difference is that Matthew does not include the information that while Jesus and Jarius were on their way to the house someone comes to them and tells them the girl has just died.

“While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue ruler’s house saying. “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher anymore?” – Mark 5:35

The facts of the story are the same, just one author leaves out a few details. The ruler approached Jesus to help his daughter. When the ruler first approached Jesus, she was still alive, but she passed before Jesus could reach her. There is no contradiction, just a difference in the author’s point of view and how they reported the events.

The second contradiction is said to occur when Jesus restores the eyesight of Bartimaeus. The miracle takes place in Jericho and happened very near the end of Jesus' earthly ministry. In the gospel of Mark, we are told of how Jesus cured Bartimaeus of his blindness. It is interesting that in a parallel version of this miracle, Matthew tells us there were two blind men begging by the side of the road. Were there two men, or just the one?

"And as they went out of Jerichoa great crowd followed him. And behold there were two blind men sitting by the roadside." Matthew 20:29-30

It seems evident Mark decided to focus on just one of the men. It is considered highly probably that Bartimaeus was better known to the local people. For this reason, Mark focused on the man who the people knew and would relate too best. Again, this should not be seen at a contradiction, just a different telling of the same story. Mark focused on just Bartimaeus, but that does not mean there was not a second man who went unmentioned.

Once the writings are looked at more closely and kept in the proper context, it is obvious there are no contradictions in the text. The differences we do see rather than taking away from the biblical texts can actually strengthen our confidence in the Bible. With four people writing separately we should expect slight variations in how they viewed the same events and how they recorded these events. These slight variations in how they recorded the individual events show us the writers worked independently and while they did occasionally see things differently, the core elements of the story remain accurate and consistent. 

Proof of Jesus from outside the Bible

People of faith accept the teachings of Jesus as told in the Bible as fact. It may come as a surprise to some that critics of the Bible and Christianity dispute the fact Jesus was even a real person. These critics will tell you Jesus is not mentioned by any early historians. Because of this, they claim Jesus was not a real person and was created centuries later, nothing more than a fictional character to support a fictional belief system. These critics dismiss the Bible authors as unreliable and argue it is circular reasoning to use the Bible to prove the Bible. Are these critics correct? Did early historians ignore Jesus because He never lived? Is it right to dismiss the Bible as an historical document? The facts are, these critics ignore a great many facts, and outright deceive people by saying there are no historical records of Jesus outside of the Bible. There are in fact, many.
While we have several external mentions of Jesus, let us begin with the Bible. The word 'Bible' comes from the Latin word biblia, which means little books. The modern Bible is seen as a single book which is why critics cry foul when one section of the Bible is used to support another. The Bible is in fact a collection of smaller books that have been brought into a single collection. The original books of the New Testament were written by eight individual authors over a period of several decades. If these had not been brought together as a collection, it is possible they would be viewed differently by critics. Given how these critics ignore other historical evidence, this is doubtful.
If you believe the critics, there are no historical documents outside of the Bible that mention Jesus. This is completely untrue. 

We will look at several of these from a number of different sources. The first is perhaps the most impressive. Tacitus was a first century Roman historian. Most scholars consider Tacticus as one of the greatest and most important of the Roman historians. While Tacticus was certainly not a Christian and had no interest in confirming Jesus was an actual person, his writings do just that. In recording events concerning Nero, Tacticus mentions Jesus and Christianity when telling the back story for what he is reporting.

Nero fastened the guilt...on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of...Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, this checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome...  (Tacticus)

Tacticus gives us confirmation of Jesus (Christus), the method of His execution, and even who ordered the execution. Tacticus was obviously no fan of Jesus or His followers, but he did not deny they existed. In fact, he helps to confirm historical details from the Bible. Tacticus lived from 56 A.D. to 120 A.D. so the events he was recording were well known to many of his time.

The second example we will examine is from Pliny the Younger who was a lawyer, author and Magistrate. He also lived in the first century which eliminates the possibility that Jesus was a legend created in either the third or fourth century. As with several of the non-biblical sources, Pliny the Younger was no fan of Jesus or His followers. In this letter he is writing to a friend asking for advice and legal guidance concerning the Christians. To explain his situation, Pliny the Younger gives a number of details about the group causing him difficulty.

They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which is was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food - but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. (Pliny the Younger)

Next we will see the words of Josephus who was a first century Jewish historian. Josephus was a Roman sympathizer and betrayed his fellow Jews during the siege of Jerusalem. There is some debate over the possibility Josephus' works were edited by later Christians. While some edited is possible, most scholars agree to the following elements as having been written by Josephus, who was certainly no Christian.

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he...wrought surprising feats...He was the Christ. When Pilate...condemned him to be crucified, those who had... come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared...restored to life...and the tribe of Christians... has...not disappeared. (Josephus)

The Jewish leaders had Jesus put to death, so any mention of Jesus by these leaders must be given some merit. In the Babylonian Talmud, which is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, it mentions Yeshu, which traditionally is assumed to be a reference to Jesus.

On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald...cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. (Babylonian Talmud)

In this reference they confirm Jesus was crucified, hung on a cross, and as shown in other writings, they admit Jesus performed miracles but they attributed them to sorcery or black magic.

The next reference comes from Lucian, a Greek writer who is best known for his criticism of superstition and religious practices which he often poked fun at. While clearly not a follower of Jesus or a man a faith, Lucian does give a strong reference, all be it a negative one, of Jesus being an actual first century man and gives us several historical details that confirm the Biblical texts.

The Christians...worship a man to this day - the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account... [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. (Lucian)

Thallus was a Greek historian who wrote in Koine Greek. While the works of Thallus have not survived, they are referenced in other works, such as those by Julius Africanus, a Christina scholar. In his works, Africanus referenced a report by Thallus when he was attempting to dismiss the darkness which fell upon the earth when Jesus was crucified. He does not say the darkness did not happen, he simply tries to explain it was caused by natural events. (We know that at the time of Jesus' crucifixion a lunar eclipse was not possible.)

"On the whole world there was pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun." (Julius Africanus)

Ignatius, writing in the early second century, was a follower of Jesus and a man of faith. While his writings will be considered biased by critics, the fact he records these facts in the early second century disputes claims Jesus was a fabrication of Christian writers centuries later. 

Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe in Him. (Ignatius)

 We will now look at two other entries on our list. These are from Jewish sources who obviously had no interest at all in creating or embellishing any fictional account of Jesus. In these two examples, the writers admit Jesus lived and did great works (miracles) even though they do not attribute His powers to come from God, but from sorcery. 

 Jesus practiced magic and lead Israel astray (Sanhedrin 43a;cf.t. Shabbat 11.15;b. Shabbat 104b)

The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu was the Messiah he should give them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man, who had never walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the Ineffable Name, and the leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshipped him as the Messiah, Son of the Highest...Yeshu spoke up: "Madam, I am the Messiah and I revive the dead." A dead body was brought in; he pronounced the letters of the Ineffable Name and the corpse came to life. The Queen was greatly moved and said: 'This is a true sign.' ... the Sages came before the Queen, complaining that Yeshu practiced sorcery and was leading everyone astray...He spoke the Ineffable Name over the birds of clay and they flew into the air. He spoke the same letters over a milestone that had been placed upon the waters. He sat in it and it floated like a boat. When they saw this the people marveled. (The Toledot Yesha)

 Our last example we will list here is from Mara bar Serapion, who was a Stoic philosopher from the Roman province of Syria. This writing, from approximately 70 A.D., he writes about various leaders who had been put to death to stop an uprising or unwanted following. In his list of leaders who were wrongfully put to death, he mentions the Jews who killed their wise king. This reference is to Jesus who when crucified had the sign posted over Him, "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews."

What benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death? Famine and plaque came upon them as judgment for their crime. Or, the people of Samos for burning Pythagoras? In one moment their country was covered with sand. Or the Jews by murdering their wise king?...After that their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men...The wise king...lived on in the teachings he enacted. (Mara Bar Serapion)

Here we have ten examples of writings which directly mention Jesus or His followers. These writings confirm Jesus was an actual living person who existed during the first century, not a fictious person created centuries later. While many critics of the Bible still falsely claim there are no historical records of Jesus, most in the scholarly world now admit Jesus was in fact a real person who lived in Israel at the time recorded in the Bible.  While these writings are not scripture, they help to prove the accuracy and reliability of the Bible. 

Some Christians will say this type of evidence is not needed, that we should have faith in Jesus and His holy word, the Bible. While this is true, to a degree, the Bible also tells us to be ready to defend our faith with a logical argument to those who would challenge the truth. This evidence is just one tool which can be used to mount a defense of our faith in Jesus.

"But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully." 2 Peter 3:15


Shroud of Turin - Test Show it is From First Century

 The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin has been hotly debated for many decades. Is the Shroud the burial cloth of Jesus and could it possibly contain an image of Jesus? Some believe this is exactly what the Shroud is, while others insist the Shroud is a fake manufactured sometime during the Middle Ages. A new study in Italy has now given us new reason to believe the Shroud may indeed be from the first century and therefore, could be the actual burial cloth of Jesus.

The primary area of controversy surrounding the Shroud is the age of the fabric. If the fabric is from the first century, or earlier, then it opens the door for the Shroud to be authentic. If the fabric was produced in the Middle Ages, then obviously the Shroud is a fake and all but worthless.  For years the church would not allow testing of the Shroud because the testing would require the destruction of a small piece of the Shroud. While the church does not official say the Shroud is genuine or fake, they have always held the position that since it is possibly the real thing, no part of it should be destroyed.

Shroud of Turin 

The church had a change of heart and finally allowed the Shroud to be scientifically tested. Many people felt the controversy would be put to rest in 1988 when the results of Carbon 14 testing on a small section of the Shourd were revealed. According to the test, the fabric of the Shroud was from the Middle Ages, the fabric was only 700 years old, it could only be a fake. Almost immediately critics began to voice their objection to the results. They claimed the Carbon 14 testing was done on a section of the Shroud that had been repaired and was not a part of the original Shroud but was in fact a patch. Combined with the fact the Shroud had been exposed to smoke and extreme high temperatures when the church where it was kept burned, critics claimed the Shroud could not be properly tested using Carbon 14. It was also pointed out that there have been numerous instances of errors when attempted to use Carbon 14 testing on fabrics. The porous nature of the fabric makes it difficult to get accurate test results, according to some.

Now in Italy a new, non-destructive test, was performed on the Shroud.  The test was supervised by Doctor Liberato de Caro who is with Italy’s Institute of Crystallography of the National Research Council. The institute used a test known as WAXS or Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering, in an effort to find the age of the fabric. The tests measure the structural degradation which is the result of the natural ageing process of the cellulose in the linen threads. These measurements are then compared to a number of samples of fabric which the exact age is known.

After comparing the WAXS results with a number of fabric samples, a close match was found. The results for the Shroud of Turin closely matched a piece of fabric that is known to be from the siege of Masada in Israel. The sample fabric was believed to be from between 55 and 74 A.D.  The siege of
Masada took place near the end of the first Jewish-Roman war. The siege took place during the years of 73 and 74 A.D. so the fabric could be older than 74 A.D. but not any younger. These results, if found to be accurate, show the fabric of the Shroud of Turin is indeed from the first century and thus removes a major reason for doubting the authenticity of the image on the Shroud.

It was also reported the WAXS test indicate that fabrics and textiles can become contaminated over time, making Carbon 14 dating unreliable. Doctor De Caro stated that molds and bacteria along with dirt or carbon containing elements can distort the Carbon 14 dating process. In effect you cannot be certain if you are testing the original fabric, the contaminants, or a combination of both. Doctor De Caro cautioned against being to excited about the findings. He insisted the results needed to be confirmed by other laboratories in an effort to replicate the findings. One of the benefits of the WAXS testing is that it is non destructive and multiple tests can be performed on the exact same sample to compare and confirm results.

De Caro pointed out there was also pollen found on the fabric which could only have originated in the ancient region of Palestine and not Europe. The pollen does not prove the Shroud is authentic, but it does show the Shroud spent a good deal of time in the Middle East before being brought to Europe.

Additional Notes concerning the Shroud of Turin

  • In the 1970's the Shroud of Turin Research Project reported the stains on the fabric were real human blood.
  • The image on the Shroud, which many claim to be Jesus, depicts a muscular man who stood between 5'7" and 6'2"
  • The Shroud was first discovered in a church in Lirey in north central France. The church was founded by French Knight Geoffroi de Charny.
  • One theory on how the image on the Shroud was formed is that solar rays reflected by the damp shining body of Jesus were immediately imprinted on the damp inner side of the burial cloth Jesus was wrapped in.
  • In 1502 the Shroud was moved to the Sainte-Shapelle in Chambery.
  • The Shroud has been in the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Turin Italy since 1578.
  • In 1532 a fire broke out in the chapel where the Shroud was housed. The fire was so intense it melted a part of the silver frame protecting the Shroud. The molten silver burned through sections of the Shroud. These burn marks and the water stains from firefighters extinguishing the flames are still visible of the Shroud.
  • Carbon 14 testing was done on the Shroud in 1988 and showed the fabric to be approximately 700 years old. - These findings have bene challenged by a number of critics.
  • After the fire in 1532, nuns patched some of the burn marks and stitched the Shroud to a reinforcing cloth which is known as, "The Holland Cloth".
  • The Shroud of Turin in 14'3" long by 3'7" wide.
  • The Shroud was moved to a remote monastery in southern Italy during World War II to protect it from danger and from being stolen by the Nazis.

The Empty Tomb on Easter Morning

The Bible tells us two different versions of the empty tomb of Jesus, but which is accurate? In Matthew 28:11 we are told the guards reported the tomb was empty but were given money to report the body was stolen during the night.

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:11-15)


Of course, the other version is that the tomb of Jesus was empty because He had risen in total defiance of death, in an ultimate victory over death, over the grave.


The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.

There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them.

“Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:5-10)


In 1878 a stone slab was found in the town of Nazareth. This slab had an inscription from Emperor Claudius who reigned from approximately 41 - 54 A.D. In 49 A.D. Claudius investigated riots by the Jews and was most certainly aware of the stories of Jesus rising from the grave only 16 years earlier and the apostles continuous preaching of his Resurrection.

The inscription on the stone slab gave a stern warning against disturbing a grave or removing a body from any tomb. It goes on to list the punishment for breaking this law as death. Compared to other punishments, the death penalty seems very severe. Could this be a response to the obvious trouble caused by the disciples when Jesus' tomb was empty?

The Bible is not recording two different versions of the events or of the empty tomb. It is in fact recording how the officials were reporting the events. Their claims were that the guards had been overpowered and the followers of Jesus had stolen the body. On the surface this seems plausible, but it does not fit the facts. The Roman army was the finest army in the world. Its soldiers were well trained, disciplined and very capable. It should be noted that Jewish extremist carried out assassinations of Roman leaders and Roman sympathizers, often in very public settings. The soldiers would have been ready for trouble, and it is highly unlikely they would have fallen asleep at their post when assassins were operating in the vicinity. Given these facts, should it be considered plausible that these common fishermen overpowered the Roman soldiers who would have certainly been ready for trouble? Interestingly, the officials were not denying the empty tomb, they were however disputing what happened to the body.

In the second reporting of the tomb the Bible writers are telling us what the eyewitnesses saw and encountered when they reached the tomb. This is not a contradiction, just a complete story of not only the eyewitnesses, but the information being given by the government officials and high priests.

It should be noted that to destroy the story of the disciples that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, the authorities had only to produce His body. The fact the tomb was empty and the investigation and search which surely followed this discovery are interesting. It can be rightfully assumed an extensive search was ordered and a search conducted for the body. Despite the efforts, authorities were unable to locate any evidence of Jesus other than the reports He had risen from the grave.


All sides agree that Jesus was dead, laid in the tomb, and on Easter morning the tomb was empty. The question we are left with is what happened to the body. Did the disciples, who fled in fear just days before, find their courage and attack Roman guards in order to steal the body? Were they able to escape the guards with the body and dispose of it so well the ensuing search was unable to locate any trace of it? These seem like very bold and brave men who would openly deny Rome, the High Priests, attack soldiers and break into a sealed and secured tomb. Rare bravery that does not fit with the behavior these men had shown in the previous days and weeks. When all of the evidence is examined the story of the disciples stealing the body seems a very unlikely possibility. This leaves us with the eyewitness accounts, and our second possibility, that Jesus did in fact overcome the grave and rise from the dead on Easter morning.

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What Does the Bible Say About Angels?

Angels are mentioned in the Bible 273 times, so they are certainly not unknown to people. There are however a great many questions associated with Angels, their origins, their duties, and just where they came from. Below are many of the most common questions people have concerning angels and what the Bible teached us about them. 

Where did angels Come from? As with all things, Angels were created by God. According to the Book of Job (38-7) the Angels were present at the creation of the world. This would mean Angels were created some time before the Book of Genesis but exactly when is unknown. While the Book of Genesis tells of the creation of the heavens and the earth, this does not mean it was God's first creation. - "by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible,"

Were angels ever human? No. Angels are an entirely different type of being than humans. Humans and Angels are actually not created equally. In Palsm 8:4-5 we are told humans are slightly below the Angels. "For thou hast made him (man) a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."

Are all angels equal? It would seem there are at least three different types of Angels. One group of Angels are called Seraphim and seem to be set apart from the bulk of the Angels. There is also an Archangel mentioned in the Bible which is apparently a higher-ranking angel. While we cannot be certain how many archangels exists, scripture tells us there is more than one. The only one mentioned by name in the Bible is Michael. The word archangel comes from the Greek word archangelos which means 'chief angel'.

How many Angels are there? No one knows for certain. It would seem there are at least millions, perhaps more. In Hebrews 12:22 we are told there are thousands upon thousands of angels joined in joyful assembly. In Psalm 68:17 we are told there are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands of angels. 

How long to Angels live? Angels are eternal beings. They were created as spiritual beings and thus will not experience illness or death. 

Do all Angels have wings? Some Angels do have wings, but apparently not all. Some Angels can and do take the shape and form of humans, otherwise how could we entertain Angels without being aware of it. In most instance when the term Seraphim is mentioned the Angel has wings. They are said to be very tall, and each has six wings.

Do Angels have physical bodies?
No, although they can take the form of a human. Angels, in their natural state, are spiritual beings and thus do not have bodies.  - "Are they not all ministering spirits," Hebrews 1:14

How Many Angels are named in the Bible? Only three angels are given individual names in the Bible. It is safe to assume that since some Angels have names, all Angels have names, they are simply not recorded in the Biblical text. The three we do know by name are Michael, the archangel, Gabriel, and Lucifer who would be cast out of heaven for defying God.

Do Angels have emotions? Yes, Angels know happiness, joy and we must assume they can experience the opposing emotions of sorrow and sadness. In Job 38:7 we are told the Angels shouted for joy. In the New Testament we are told of how the Angles will rejoice at the conversion of a single sinner. Angels are not human, but they do have at least some of the same emotions as humans.

Do Angels Have Free Will? Yes, Angels can and have chosen to defy God. Lucifer, aka Satan/Devil defied God and was cast out of heaven. There were also a number of angels who either choose to follow Satan or were cast out for their loyalty to Satan rather than God. - "And angels that kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. " - Jude 1:6

Are Angels to be Worshipped? No. Angels are spirits and as we have seen are slightly above humans, but they are not to be worshipped. Only God is to be worshipped and the worshipping of Angels, as special as they are, is forbidden in the Bible. - "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind." - Colossians 2:18

Do Angels answer to Jesus? Yes. We are told in 1 Peter - "...who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him."

Are the powers of Angels limited? Yes, Angels do the will of God, but they do not have His power or authority. A good example of this is when Michael, who is an archangel, did not assume the power to rebuke even Satan, but left that to God. -  "The archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil about Moses’ body, did not dare charge him with slander. Instead, he said, “The Lord rebuke you!” - Jude 1:9

Do we each have a guardian angel? It seems the Bible tells us we do. The key scripture concerning
individual guardian angels is Matthew 18:10 - 
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”  - The term 'little ones' could refer to believers or to little children. The passage then mentions 'their' angels, so we must assume they have individual angels who are assigned to them. These angels, we are told, have direct access to God in heaven so we should not look down on anyone, as our transgression will not be overlooked. 

Do Angels help people? Yes, the Bible tells us that angels are ministering spirits. - "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" - Hebrews 1:14

Angels are spirit beings created by God before He created the Heavens and the Earth. There are different types of Angels, and they appear to have a wide assortment of duties. They can convey information (Luke 1:11-20) aide and help believers (Hebrews 1:14) be a guide to people (Acts 8:26) and even protect people from harm (Daniel 6:20-23). While Angels were created before man and are said to be slightly above mankind, they are actively involved in the lives of believers. Angels are real and are among us more often than we know.  - "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

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Bible Archaeology

  Excerpt from upcoming book, "200+ Archaeological Discovers."   A Comprehensive Guide to Biblical Archaeology. ... Coming late 20...