Josh McDowell asks many questions in the book. What makes Jesus so unique and different? What are some of the claims that Jesus makes these? How can one prove these claims? Is the Bible record accurate and correct? Why were so many willing to give up their lives to support what Jesus said? Why did Jesus have to die? What was the testimony of the apostle Paul about Jesus? What happened at the resurrection? Who was the historical Jesus? Is there only one way to God? Does Jesus change anything? Josh McDowell makes a strong argument for the historical Jesus.
Josh McDowell states that Peter, Stephen, and Thomas all claim that Jesus is God. Mark and the other gospel writers claimed that he can forgive sin and that Jesus is the Christ. There is no evidence that he is a liar, he was willing to die for what he believed.
How could he have been a liar? How can it be proven that Jesus was a crazed lunatic? No one can state that, and there is no apparent evidence. If he wasn't a liar or lunatic, then he must be who he claimed to be.
In order to prove the accuracy and reliability of what Jesus said about himself, you have to look at the records of other people's testimony. Do we have accurate dates and evidence of when the Bible was written? There has been many archaeologists who have searched for evidence, but the greatest to exist among them was William Foxwell Albright. 1 Johnson 2 Professor Albright states that there's no evidence that suggests that any book of the New Testament was written after 80 A.D.1 This means that the New Testament was written within about 50 years of Jesus death. After the texts were written it could have been easily claimed to be true because of the men and women who were there could confirm it. There were many historical writers such as Thucydides, Aristotle, Herodotus, and Caesar who have left behind 3-10 copies for scholars now to look at and study, if they are lucky. The point McDowell is making is that there is so much material on the New Testament, and it has lasted through the years, and there is no other that was near it.
Are the things that are said in the New Testament verifiable? Josh McDowell states that the testimony of the people that are there at the time it was written is that the documents were reliable. Eleven of the twelve disciples gave their lives as a witness in what they believed. The apostle Paul went to prison and suffered beating and torture for his belief. This is really strong evidence that they found it to be reliable. If this is written in documents about them giving up their lives, then how can the other documents be incorrect? Why did Jesus have to die? Many Jews of the time were expecting a king, but Jesus died. The thing that proved to the disciples that Jesus was the Messiah was that he rose from the dead. How do we know that he rose from the dead? Why would a soldier say that someone came and stole the body? The other possibility is that guards were standing watch at the wrong tomb? That's not reliable either. Why would the soldiers say that? They would be incriminating themselves.
Johnson 3 Another theory is the swoon theory is that Jesus didn't die, but the soldiers did verify that he was dead. This is of course stated in the New Testament. George Eldon Ladd states that: "The only rational explanation for these historical facts is that God raised Jesus in bodily form" So many of the things that happened to Jesus were foretold over four-hundred years ahead of time. They told about his events such as being sold for thirty pieces of silver, being born and Bethlehem, and his garment would not be torn, including many more. McDowell states that Jesus was the only one that talked about being righteous and could pay the penalty for our sin. That is why Jesus had to die. The final testimony of who Jesus was is what does it mean to us today? Does it have any affect on us at this moment? Has it changed anybodies life? Josh McDowell makes the point that many have been changed by it.