Book Excerpt 4 from A Brief History of Why: The Meaning of Jesus Christ
By: Donald W. Jones & Christopher Anton
There is a point with investigation into anything that faith comes into play.
The Didache was written somewhere between 100-120AD. The Didache is a very ancient Christian discourse on the tenants of Christian belief. It begins with the following statement. “There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between these two ways.” Similarly, Luke 16:31 makes a profound case for belief versus disbelief.
“If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.” - Luke 16:31
In the days just prior to the crucifixion of Jesus, the priests in one part of the temple were examining the lambs that were going to be used in the Passover as a sacrifice to maintain the people's right relationship with God. It was necessary to be certain they were without blemish. Meanwhile, at the same time, in another part of the Temple complex, they were challenging Jesus with questions about who He was. They were examining Him to see if His ideas were valid. It turned out that they could not find any inaccuracies (blemishes), so they decided to kill Him. All Temple sacrifices came to an end approximately 35 years later when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70AD. From our perspective as Christ followers the Temple was no longer necessary because on Passover, at the crucifixion, the greatest possible sacrifice ever was made. Jesus had become the lamb of God. For reference read Matthew 21 – 26, Mark 11-14, Luke 19-21.
On the third day after the crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead. On that third day one of Jesus' followers named Cleopas was walking with a friend from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they walked they discussed the crucifixion of Jesus. A stranger joined them. The stranger asked them about their discussion. They told the stranger about the crucifixion of Jesus. As they walked on, the stranger recounted and discussed the more than two hundred prophecies found in nineteen of the thirty-nine Old Testament books. The Old Testament contains a full story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in amazing detail. When the men reached Emmaus, they had dinner together. At dinner as they broke bread they realized that the stranger was Jesus!
It truly is miraculous that the Old Testament has so much detail and completely predicts the life and mission of Jesus. The facts are clear and readily available. For any skeptics or atheists there is a question that needs to be asked. How did nineteen authors writing hundreds of years ahead of the events get it so right? To the mind of faith the answer is simple. To all others a degree of mental gymnastics is required.