by Lee Strobel

Former atheist, Lee Strobel, uses his journalistic skills to investigate the evidence for Jesus Christ. Over a 2 years quest for the truth. Lee Strobel, legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, examines the historical accuracy of the Gospels, the personal claims of Jesus, and his resurrection from the dead. The big question for Lee Strobel: Is there evidence to confirm that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed, the son of God, and the Savior of the world?

Rating 5+ 71 min.


Lee Strobel’s approach was not to look at the New Testament as being the inspired word of God or as being inerrant. Rather, he looked on the New Testament as being a historical set of ancient documents that historians had applied criteria to which determined their trustworthiness.

Over the last few centuries skepticism over the Bible has wormed its way into Western Culture, and Christian circles.

Scholars like N.T. Write, Bishop of Durham, UK, and others have spent years researching what was going on in the 1st century in Palestine. The further the research took them, the more the Biblical history made sense.

The New Testament gospels are biographies of Jesus. The gospels are written by eyewitnesses or based on eyewitness accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus. Jesus was born between 7 and 4 B.C., and died no later than A.D. 33. His public ministry started with the choosing of his disciples, and lasted about 3 years, culminating in the Passion Week and his trial and death. Scholars agree that the gospel of Mark was written first sometime between 60-75 in the first century. Matthew and Luke were authored slightly after, followed by the book of John. Eyewitnesses were still around to confirm the history.

Was the information reliably preserved? The ancient world had no modern media, and wasn’t even a print-based culture. History was preserved by oral tradition, most of which was memorized. It was not uncommon for Rabbis to commit the entire Torah to memory. Early apostles saw the information about Jesus as sacred holy tradition, and went to great lengths to get it correct. Stories were told to a community and if the story was not told correctly, then there were lots of people around who could correct the teacher.

Isn’t the New Testament filled with contradictions? Mark describes one blind man healed; whereas Matthew describes two. That is not a contradiction as Mark only described one of the two. Had all the details of every story been exactly the same, then we would think there was some form of collusion. The oldest copies of the Bible the codex sinaiticus was authored between A.D. 330 and 350 and contains almost all of the New Testament and a significant portion of the Old Testament. The codex vaticanus is a near complete Greek copy of the entire Bible. A papyrus fragment from the 18th chapter of John dates to A.D. 125. There are no original survivors of the New Testament writings.

How do we know today’s copies bare any resemblance to the original text? There is better manuscript attestation for the New Testament than any other ancient document. The Bible of the Greeks, Homer’s Iliad, is preserved in about 600 manuscripts, the oldest of which is less than 1000 years old. There are 5000 Greek manuscripts confirming the New Testament.

Outside of the biblical account, there is a remarkable amount of corroboration for the Bible. Josephus refers to him in A.D. 93 in his work Antiquities of the Jews, the Roman historian Tacitus refers to him, Suetonius, a political writer, refers to him, and critics refer to him. The Gnostic Gospels are a collection of religious writings from the 2nd & 3rd century. They are a blend of the teachings of Jesus with a variety of ancient philosophical beliefs. They are not reliable.

Was Jesus really the Son of God? While other teachers taught in the name of someone else, Jesus taught with authority. He would clarify or overrule in some cases, Old Testament law. He claimed he was the one that came to fulfill the law.

Jesus claims to be God. Jesus tells Philp, The one who has seen me has seen the Father. Under the threat of death by Caiaphas, the high priest, Jesus confirms to be the Messiah, the Son of God. He says, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated ……” More than 80 times in the New Testament, Jesus is identified as the Son of Man. In addition to his self proclamation, Jesus is reported to have walked on water, healed the sick, turned water into wine, raised the dead, and did exorcisms. The people that supported him said he did these things in the name of God. Those opposing him said yes he did amazing things, but the devil helped him. He was referred to as a magician. The gospels record over 40 separate miracles performed by Jesus during his ministry.

He claims to be able to forgive sins.

Is Jesus the Messiah? Ancient prophecies in the Old Testament Bible predicted the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus against all mathematical odds fulfilled those prophecies. Reference Isaiah 53:3-6 describing the life of Yeshua, points us to Jesus Christ, but was written about 681 B.C. There are 2 types of prophecy, those that could have only been uniquely fulfilled in Christ, and those fulfilled typologically in Christ. In Psalm 22, David tells us, 300 years before crucifixion is known, that the Messiah will have his hands and feet pierced for our iniquities. This is not done just because Jesus is a martyr, but also a substitute for sin. The odds of a human fulfilling the Messianic Prophecies is basically zero.

The Resurrection: The ultimate evidence and pivotal point in history.

• All four gospels record Jesus’ beating, crucifixion, death on the cross and burial.

• Had the guards let Jesus get away they would have paid with their lives, life was cheap.

• They made certain Jesus was dead by piercing his side with a spear. John 19:34

• Joseph of Arimathea, a Sanhedrin who convicted him, gives credibility to the burial of Jesus. He would have been well known and so would the burial location. Matthew 27:57-60

• The discovery of the empty tomb by women isn’t what would be reported if the story was made up, as women were 2nd class citizens. Luke 24:1-5

• Jesus was seen by over 500 people after his resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:4-8

• When Paul was writing to the Corinthians, he told them that many people who saw Jesus after the resurrection were still alive to testify to that fact.

• 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 provides evidence that belief in the resurrection was already present among Jews in 2-3 years after Jesus was killed.

• Growth of the early Christian church under severe persecution was rapid. They would not have died for this belief without first hand accounts of people that had seen the resurrected Lord. 2 Corinthians 11:23.

• After the crucifixion the disciples suffered for many years for their beliefs. Most died a violent martyrs death for not recanting those beliefs. They would have gained very little in human terms unless they died for what they knew was true.

• In the case of James and Paul, they didn’t believe until after the resurrection.

Lee Strobel’s conclusion was that given the evidence it would take more faith to believe in evolution than it would to believe in God’s plan. If Jesus returned from the dead then it is a game changer.

Investigate the evidence for yourself. Make three resolutions.

1. Make it a priority issue in your life.

2. Resolve to have an open mind and go where the evidence takes you.

3. Once the evidence is in resolve to reach a verdict in the case for Christ.

Bible References

Isaiah 53:3-6 – He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Zechariah 9 – Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Psalm 22 – 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

John 19:34 – But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Matthew 27:57-60 – The Burial of Jesus 57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

Luke 24: 1-5 – Jesus Has Risen 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

1 Corinthians 15:4-8 – 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

2 Corinthians 11:23 – Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.