The Instigation of Chrestus: Secular Historical Records and Evidence of Jesus

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

Sometimes it’s easy to think of the Bible as a book that doesn’t really intersect with recorded history at all.

But then there are those moments when that intersection is so astounding, you sit shivering over a discovery you’ve made, like finding a long lost member of your family tree in an actual black and white photograph.

In secular historical records, whenever Roman and Greek historians would refer to Jesus, they would constantly misspell his name. They didn’t understand the Hebrew word, and so they would mistakenly think “Christ” was a name, not a title. And so they’d misspell it.

So here’s what’s kind of cool-

In 49AD, Claudius made an expulsion order, forcing the Christians out of Rome. This is recorded in historical documents, and commentary is provided by a guy named Seutonius who, of course, misspells Jesus’ name. Here’s his inscription:

“Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.”

So approximately 15 years after the death (but more importantly the resurrection) of Christ, Jewish Christians had become so emboldened that they made their way to the capital of the empire. And they lived so loudly that they actually got themselves kicked out.

But there’s more.

Secular historians are almost unanimous that the reference in Seutonius’ account is to Jesus. But what’s even more fascinating is that most historians believe that Claudius mistakenly believed that this “Chrestus” guy was actually living in the city of Rome instigating these disturbances.

The loud acts of the early Christians had actually convinced the emperor that the person at the center of the movement was still ALIVE and orchestrating the movement.

Which, of course, He was. And is. Just not the way Claudius had pictured.

How in the world this tiny little movement of love survived those early centuries, survived Rome, and survived tyrannical emperors is easily the most compelling evidence that something happened-

and that something is, of course, the prediction by some obscure Jewish carpenter that he would die for the sins of others and then come back to life three days later-

and then, when he actually pulled it off, he commissioned his followers to go and love loudly, so loudly that foreign Roman emperors would become convinced that the savior at the center of it all was still alive.

That’s how loud I want my love to look.

So while the rest of the country still argues today about what happened Tuesday,

what contrast will you offer? And how?

Go do something today. Doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to be something.

Do something loud. Then give the glory to your savior.

You might convince an unbelieving world He’s still alive.

(He is.)

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