I was asked “Can you prove Jesus is real, without using the Bible, or those who promote Jesus”. Yes, very easily, ask anybody, what year is it.
For example why is it now the year 2017?
I can also do even more than that.
The consensus of most historians is that the Gospel accounts give us a clear picture of Jesus Christ. Let’s look to non-Christian sources for Jesus.
Jewish opponents had the most to gain by denying Jesus’ existence. But the evidence points in the opposite direction. “Several Jewish writings also tell of His flesh-and-blood existence. Both Gemaras of the Jewish Talmud refer to Jesus. Although these consist of only a few brief, bitter passages intended to discount Jesus’ deity, these very early Jewish writings don’t begin to hint that he was not a historical person.”5
Flavius Josephus was a noted Jewish historian who began writing under Roman authority in a.d. 67. Josephus, who was born just a few years after Jesus died, would have been keenly aware of Jesus’ reputation among both Romans and Jews. In his famous Antiquities of the Jews (a.d. 93), Josephus wrote of Jesus as a real person. “At that time lived Jesus, a holy man, if man he may be called, for he performed wonderful works, and taught men, and joyfully received the truth. And he was followed by many Jews and many Greeks. He was the Messiah.”, certainly Josephus confirmed his existence.
What about secular historians—those who lived in ancient times but weren’t religiously motivated? There is current confirmation of at least 19 early secular writers who made references to Jesus as a real person.7
One of antiquity’s greatest historians, Cornelius Tacitus, affirmed that Jesus had suffered under Pilate. Tacitus was born around 25 years after Jesus died, and he had seen the spread of Christianity begin to impact Rome. The Roman historian wrote negatively of Christ and Christians, identifying them in a.d. 115 as “a race of men detested for their evil practices, and commonly called Chrestiani. The name was derived from Chrestus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, suffered under Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea.”
The following facts about Jesus were written by early non-Christian sources:
•Jesus was from Nazareth.
•Jesus lived a wise and virtuous life.
•Jesus was crucified in Palestine under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius Caesar at Passover time, being considered the Jewish king.
•Jesus was believed by his disciples to have died and risen from the dead three days later.
•Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that he performed unusual feats they called “sorcery.”
•Jesus’ small band of disciples multiplied rapidly, spreading as far as Rome.
•Jesus’ disciples denied polytheism, lived moral lives, and worshiped Christ as God.
Theologian Norman Geisler remarked:
“This general outline is perfectly congruent with that of the New Testament.”
All of these independent accounts, religious and secular, speak of a real man who matches up well with the Jesus in the Gospels. Encyclopedia Britannica cites these various secular accounts of Jesus’ life as convincing proof of his existence. It states:
“These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus.”