Description: Manuscript evidence for Jesus' life
WHAT IS MEANING OF LIFE?
Bible Evidence for Jesus’ Existence
by Ernest O’Neill
What do you think the meaning of life is? Why do you think you’re here? Why do you think you’re sitting in
this car at the moment or why do you think you’re sitting in your office or, if you’re at home, what is the
point of life? Where do you think it’s going? Where do you think you’ve come from?
Most of us say, “I just haven’t got a clue. I’m just bewildered. I really don’t know why I’m here at all. In
fact, I can’t see how anyone on this earth can possibly tell that, because we are part of the system itself.
We are within this fixed planet that we have. Unless we get off it far enough so that we can find out what is
in the rest of space, I don’t see how we can ever tell why we’re here.”
“Either we have to get off and find out what’s beyond space and get some information on what is out there, or,
if it’s all too much beyond us, and it does seem to be, if it’s all too much beyond us, then somehow or other
whatever is out there and whatever caused all this has to come in and invade our planet and has to let us know
what it’s all about.As far as I can see, all we’ve got in that area is space fiction and movies like Star
Wars, but I can’t really see any evidence that anything beyond this earth has ever come to the earth to
explain to us what all this was in aid of.”
What we have been saying is that though many people have claimed to be that invasion from outer space and
though there have been many great religious leaders who have all proclaimed that they knew what the earth was
created for and they actually had communications with the Being that created it, yet what we’ve been sharing
is there is only one event that is really convincing in that kind of realm.
That’s the event that took place in the First Century of our era. The reason we say that, is that so many of
the religious leaders were men like us: Muhammad was a man like us; Buddha was a man like us; the Hindu
religious leaders were men like we are. The men died like dogs and they were buried and that was the end of
But there is an incredible human being that lived in the first century of our era that is different in quality
from all the rest of us. He did not die like a dog in the sense that he was buried and was forgotten. He
actually had some power to destroy even death and he lived in the first century of our era.
Now you and I are so used to hearing his name and using his name, even as a swear word, that we have written
it off as a lot of myth and legend, but it isn’t; it isn’t at all. The reason we know about him is that we
have some of the most reliable history in our world that is written about him.
That history, you remember, is contained in a book that we’ve often referred to in great state occasions or in
times when one of our relatives dies or one of the babies is christened. It really is a book, or a collection
of books, known as “Ta Biblia” in Greek. “Biblia” is the Greek word for “the books”. So, it’s actually known
as “The Books”. And we, of course, know it in our British and Western tradition as the Bible.
It is actually just the last quarter of that book that we’re talking about here on this program, because it’s
the last quarter of the book that records the history of the events, the remarkable events that took place in
the first century of our era — when the Supreme Being from beyond space invaded the earth, came into the
earth, and came in, in a way that shows us that it is undoubtedly Him. That’s why we are examining that
One of the things that we’ve shared is that it is not just history, but it is reliable history. Some people
have talked about the history of Muhammad’s life, but actually it is so covered over with all kinds of legends
and myths that were written hundreds of years later, as is the life of Buddha, that you cannot distinguish
between the history and the imaginative inventions that surround it.
Whereas the history of the first century of our era is recorded in this last quarter of the book called the
Bible in such stark, and plain, and substantiated terms that you know it’s history. Of course, one of the
factors that reinforces that is that the men that wrote it were actually alive when the events took place.
That, you remember, is what Peter says. He says, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made
known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He says that in a letter that he wrote to some
friends. He actually wrote two letters and this is the second letter. It’s actually called “Second Peter”, if
you want to get hold of a Bible and look it up.
It’s II Peter, chapter one and verse 16 and that’s what he said, “We didn’t follow cleverly devised myths…”
We didn’t make these things up. We were actually with this man Jesus on the mountain. We heard a voice coming
from heaven. We heard this voice from outer space, and don’t say we’re mystics. I’m not a mystic. I’m an
ordinary fisherman. Don’t call me a mystic. I’m an ordinary man, an ordinary guy who earns his bread by the
sweat of his brow. But I was on the mountain when this voice came. I saw Him. I saw it happen.”
Of course, you and I are very prone to say, “Well, that’s he himself saying that, but how do we know he was an
eyewitness?” The fact is that many other books were written about that same era that are not included in the
book called the Bible. There are all kinds of books.
There’s a book called the Epistle of Barnabas; there’s a book called the Clementine Letters. There’s another
book called the Didache. There are about twenty or thirty other books that were written about this same era
that aren’t in the Bible at all and they make all kinds of references to Peter and show that he was alive at
that time and he was known as a public figure at that time.
In fact, that’s why Paul, you remember, said to King Agrippa, when he was being examined himself, he said that
the king knows about these things, “for this was not done in a corner”. In other words, the whole ancient
world knew about this man Jesus and knew the events that were taking place. It was well known.
The writings of men like Clement and Barnabas and Ignatius in the first century are filled with references to
the written records of the men who observed Jesus first hand. So, actually, we know that these men were
eyewitnesses, because they were well known figures in that era and were referred to by all kinds of other
historians who did not write and whose writings are not included in the book called the Bible.
But there are other reasons for believing this. Probably one of the greatest is that this man Peter died for
what he wrote. He died for what he wrote. He didn’t gain a lot from it, you know. He didn’t benefit greatly by
it. He didn’t become rich and famous. He was actually hung upside down on a cross and crucified.
So when you suggest that he wasn’t telling the truth when he said, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths”,
then you have to justify why he would tell a lie that would bring about his death? There is in that a logical
and psychological problem, because no man will devise a deliberate lie that will bring about his own death. He
will at least give up on the lie in order to save his own skin.
So when we begin to look at the historicity of the events that took place in the first century we need to see
that they were written by actual eyewitnesses. They are not myths or imaginations that are created years after
the event. They were actually written at the very time these events were taking place and they were written by
men who were alive at that time.
Have we any connection with these men apart from this book called the Bible? Yes, we have and we’ll talk about