IS JESUS CHRIST ONLY A LEGEND?
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Maybe he was a legend. That is, maybe he wasn't all that his followers said he was. Maybe he was an ordinary man who had some good qualities and then they added other bits on in order to make themselves the leader of some great religion. Do you see that a legend requires time to develop? Do you see that?
Let's say that Greg, with his new suit, dies and then we wait two, three or five years before somebody writes a book presenting him as the greatest Greek teacher that the world has ever known. Well, there are many of us here who would say, "No, he was good but he wasn't that good!" And until we all died off, nobody could pass that kind of story on to the world. It requires time for a legend to develop. It requires time for all of the contemporaries to die who knew the man. Do you see that that time didn't exist?
It existed with Buddha. Buddha lived in 500 B.C. and the first time his writings were committed to paper or his sayings were committed to paper, was in 900 A.D., thousands of years later. But with Jesus, the letter to the Galatians was circulating in 48 A.D. That was just 19 years after Jesus died. There were many men, young men and women, 20, 25, 30, who were alive when Jesus was crucified, who were still alive when the New Testament accounts were circulating and they could simply say, "No, it didn't happen like that. Sure he died, but He never rose from the dead. We were in Jerusalem at that time."
There was not time for a legend to develop because the historical accounts of Jesus' life were circulating before all his contemporaries had died and they were known throughout the then known world.
In other words, if Jesus was not a liar and was not a lunatic and was not a legend, then you're left only with one possible conclusion: that he was what he said he was. Another reason we say that is that he didn't only talk like the Son of God but he lived like the Son of God.