Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bible Myths – 2 Peter 1:16-18

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (NKJV)

At one time I believed that the Bible was nothing more than myths, legends, or folk tales that had been handed down from generation to generation. I took a class in college that studied folk tales. It showed how the stories developed over time. They may have started with a real incident but as they were told and retold they changed. I knew next to nothing about the Bible but believed that it was no better than these folk tales.

I had heard parts of the Bible read but had never actually read it for myself. I heard about Jonah and the whale and didn’t know that it really is Jonah and the fish, not a whale. I heard about Jesus walking on water, His death, and resurrection. I heard about His ascension and also about His mother’s ascension, which is not in the Bible. Traditions and stories have been passed down that are not in the Bible and they have changed over time. When these are mixed with the words of the Bible great confusion can result, especially if you aren’t familiar with the Bible.

Peter was writing down some of his thoughts because there were already myths and stories being spread. One of these is recorded in Matt 28:12-15 to discredit Jesus’ resurrection. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." 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. (NIV) To a historian, it is obvious that the guards were bribed and that the governor was in on it. They were Roman guards, not the temple guards. If a Roman guard fell asleep on duty and lost his charge, he was executed. Obviously, the story that they fell asleep had to be false.

There are multiple testimonies of the Apostles and other that they saw Jesus after His death. Many witnessed His ascension into Heaven.

The myth that He wasn’t resurrected is busted.

Another fable is that Jesus didn’t die but fainted and was revived in the cool of the tomb and then escaped. It can be discounted by simply reading the accounts of His crucifixion. John 19:38-40 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (NIV)

The first thing to note is that the body was given to these two men by Pilate. In Mark 15:43-45, we find that Joseph had to wait for Pilate to make sure that Jesus was dead. The centurion who was responsible to insure Jesus’ death verified it. This centurion’s job was to execute people. He knew when a person was dead. We also have the testimony about His death in John 19:33-34 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. (NIV) Medical facts testify that when a person dies blood cells separate from the serum in the blood which then will look more like water. The flow of blood and water from Jesus’ side is proof that He was dead.

The second thing to note is that Jesus was badly beaten. He probably had most of the skin on His back ripped off by the flogging He endured. Add to this trauma, 75 pounds of spices and wrap Him up in cloth. There is no way a man could survive that. Not only that, but if either of these two men would have detected any sign of breathing or heartbeat, they would have stopped. This was all observed by the women who had stayed with Him during the whole crucifixion. (Luke 23:55) There was no sign of life. If He had revived in the tomb, how could He possibly unwrap Himself?

The myth that Jesus didn’t really die is busted.

These myths have been busted simply by looking at a few verses in the Bible. I haven’t answered the question about the reliability of the Bible but will address that with 2 Peter 1:19-21.

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