For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.” vs. 162 Peter 1:16-18
When Peter and the other apostles began to proclaim the gospel throughout the Roman Empire, they were regularly accused of just making stuff up about Jesus. The Jews and pagans who were their audience likely thought that these new teachings were an adaptation of one or another of the mystery religions, and had no basis in anything that had actually happened. Given their experience with Jesus in Galilee, the disciples were deeply offended by such accusations. Jesus was an actual historical figure, and they had not only enjoyed his presence, they had been eyewitnesses of his wondrous deeds. It’s important for us to hang on to the apostles’ testimony about Jesus. Sometimes it’s tempting to think of him purely as a mythical figure, a composite of some of the god figures that were popular in the first century. But that’s not who Jesus was. The gospels were insistent on the reality of his incarnation. He was a real human being, born of woman, and subject to the same frailties as we are. These down-to-earth qualities are what make Jesus accessible to us–he knew suffering, just as we do, and he died, just as we will. We may not be eyewitnesses, as were Peter and the other disciples, but we do know that in him there is life and joy forever.
Thought for the Day: Why do some say that Jesus is a mythic figure?