That is why F.F. Bruce, late professor at the University of Manchester, concluded: "Some writers may toy with the fancy of a 'Christ-myth,' but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic (universally a statement of fact) for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the 'Christ-myth' theories."
The question is not whether Jesus lived but who he was and is. It's a question we all will answer, consciously or not, especially this Christmas week. It's a question even Jesus asked the people of his day. "Who do people say that I am?"
As for me and my house, he is the Son of God and Savior of the world. That's what we celebrate most on Christmas Day. At the very least, any unbiased reviewer of history cannot deny that time and civilizations have pivoted on his unique and "One Solitary Life":
"He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
"He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of these things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
"He was only 33 when public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
"When he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
"Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind's progress.
"All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that One Solitary Life."
The fact is wise men still seek him. And if you genuinely follow his star, you'll find a stable, not a fable.
For those who seek him, I recommend that you check out these scholarly works: N.T. Wright's "Who Was Jesus?"; F.F. Bruce's "The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?"; Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" (or check out his resource-full Web site, www.LeeStrobel.com); or Ravi Zacharias' "Jesus Among Other Gods." And, of course, the Bible, which makes the best of Christmas gifts.