The Case for Jesus Book Summary

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The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ


Dr. Brant Pitre’s book, “The Case for Jesus,” addresses the historical truth of the Gospels and counters the skepticism that has surrounded them for over a century. Through biblical and historical evidence, Pitre answers critical questions about the Gospels, the divinity of Jesus, and the Resurrection, providing a strong case for the reliability of the Gospels and the divine claims of Jesus.

Chapter 1: The Quest for Jesus

Brant Pitre’s journey to understand the true identity of Jesus begins in the early 1990s, during his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University. He eagerly enters a class on the Bible, hoping to deepen his faith by delving into the Gospels and learning more about Jesus, whom he already believed to be the divine Son of God.

His initial excitement quickly turns to confusion when his professor declares, “Forget everything you thought you knew about who wrote the Gospels.” The professor asserts that the Gospels were originally anonymous and that we don’t really know who wrote them. This statement shakes Pitre, who had always assumed the authors were the disciples of Jesus.

Intrigued by the idea of a “quest for the historical Jesus,” Pitre embarks on a journey of intellectual exploration. He begins studying ancient Greek to read the New Testament in its original language, adds religious studies to his major, and is even fortunate enough to learn from Amy-Jill Levine, a Jewish professor of the New Testament. She teaches him how to interpret Jesus’s words and deeds through ancient Jewish eyes, a perspective that will prove crucial in his later understanding of Jesus’s divinity.

However, as Pitre deepens his studies, he encounters new ideas that challenge his faith. He learns that many scholars believe the Gospels were not written by disciples, that they were composed too late to be based on reliable eyewitness testimony, and that the Gospel of John is not historically trustworthy. He encounters the “Telephone Game” analogy, comparing the transmission of Jesus’s stories to a game where the message gets distorted through multiple retellings.

Pitre also discovers the existence of “lost gospels” outside the New Testament, like the Gospel of Thomas. Some scholars even argue that these texts should be treated as equal historical sources in the quest for Jesus. The most unsettling discovery, however, is that many scholars doubt whether Jesus ever claimed to be God.

By the end of his studies at Vanderbilt, Pitre finds himself on the brink of losing his faith. He questions his belief in Jesus’s divinity, wondering how he can accept Jesus as God if Jesus himself didn’t teach it. A turning point comes when he realizes that the only way to know what he truly believes is to honestly say out loud that he no longer believes in Jesus’s divinity. He tries, but finds he can’t bring himself to say the words. Something in him, perhaps his newfound understanding of first-century Judaism, or maybe the last embers of his faith, keeps him from fully rejecting Jesus’s divinity.

Pitre, with his faith hanging by a thread, decides to pursue a doctorate in New Testament studies. This decision marks a turning point.

Chapter 2: Were the Gospels Anonymous?

Pitre challenges the widely held assumption that the Gospels were originally anonymous. He explores the theory’s central claims: that all four Gospels circulated without author identification for almost a century, and that titles were added later to lend them authority.

Pitre counters these claims by presenting the undisputed manuscript evidence. He highlights the fact that no anonymous copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John have ever been found. Every ancient manuscript, including the earliest fragments, attributes the four Gospels to their respective authors.

He then examines the argument that the titles were added later, pointing out that while the form of the titles may vary slightly across manuscripts, the authors attributed to each Gospel remain constant. This uniformity, he argues, makes a later addition of titles highly unlikely.

Furthermore, Pitre points out the logical inconsistencies of the anonymous theory. If these anonymous Gospels were only later attributed to the same authors, why are none attributed to other apostles, and why do two Gospels (Mark and Luke) attribute their authorship to non-eyewitnesses?

By comparing the manuscript evidence for the Gospels with the evidence for the anonymous letter to the Hebrews, Pitre highlights the difference between a truly anonymous book and a book with a consistent, universally accepted authorship. The letter to the Hebrews is found in different manuscripts attributed to various authors, showcasing the typical challenges of anonymous texts. The Gospels, however, show no such ambiguity.

Pitre concludes that the theory of the anonymous Gospels, lacking both manuscript evidence and historical plausibility, is untenable.

Chapter 3: The Titles of the Gospels

This chapter delves into the internal evidence of the Gospels themselves, analyzing the titles and exploring the identities of the authors.

Starting with Matthew, Pitre highlights the Gospel’s internal evidence of the author’s identity. It narrates how Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to become a disciple, and includes Matthew among the twelve apostles. Pitre emphasizes the likely literacy of Matthew due to his profession, suggesting that he might have been the one among the apostles capable of recording Jesus’s teachings. He addresses the objection that Matthew may have used Mark’s Gospel as a source by pointing out that Mark’s Gospel is likely based on Peter’s testimony, making it a valuable source for Matthew. Furthermore, Pitre provides historical examples of eyewitnesses using the accounts of others when writing about their teachers, making Matthew’s use of Mark plausible.

Moving on to Mark, Pitre examines the title “The Gospel According to Mark” and draws upon other New Testament writings to reveal Mark’s identity. He identifies him as “John Mark,” a Jewish Christian who traveled with Paul and Barnabas and also associated with Peter in Rome. This connection to Peter, who is acknowledged as an eyewitness and the leader of the disciples, strengthens the argument for Mark’s Gospel as a record of Peter’s teaching.

Pitre then explores the Gospel of Luke, emphasizing the title “The Gospel According to Luke” and the internal evidence from the prologue. He identifies Luke as a Gentile physician who accompanied Paul and stayed with him during his imprisonment. Luke’s prologue explicitly states that his Gospel is based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, acknowledging his own status as a second-generation Christian. He further connects Luke with the Acts of the Apostles, a companion book also dedicated to “Theophilus,” with first-person accounts of Paul’s travels.

Finally, Pitre examines the Gospel of John, analyzing the title “The Gospel According to John” and the internal reference to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” as the author. He highlights the Beloved Disciple’s close relationship with Jesus, particularly at the Last Supper, and argues that this description strongly suggests the apostle John as the author. He acknowledges the mystery surrounding the Beloved Disciple’s third-person references to himself and offers possible explanations, including a scribe’s involvement or John’s own distinctive writing style. Pitre addresses the objection that John, a fisherman, couldn’t have written a Gospel by highlighting his family’s likely wealth and John’s potential use of a secretary to assist in writing.

Chapter 4: The Early Church Fathers

Pitre delves into the external evidence provided by the early church fathers, those ancient Christian leaders who lived after the apostles. He explores their writings for insights into the origins and authorship of the four Gospels, examining their consistent and unanimous claims about the Gospels’ authors.

Pitre presents a list of early church fathers from the second and third centuries AD, spanning various regions of the Roman Empire: Asia Minor, Italy, France, North Africa, and Egypt. This geographically diverse range of sources adds weight to their shared testimony.

He begins with the early church fathers’ accounts of Matthew’s Gospel. Papias, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria, all agree that Matthew, an apostle who had been with Jesus, wrote the Gospel attributed to him. They also suggest that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew and his Gospel was later translated into Greek.

Next, Pitre explores the early church fathers’ accounts of Mark’s Gospel. Papias, Irenaeus, and Clement all assert that Mark, a disciple and interpreter of Peter, wrote the Gospel based on Peter’s teachings. They even provide insights into Mark’s role as a scribe and recorder of Peter’s oral testimony.

Moving on to Luke, Pitre examines the evidence from Irenaeus, the Muratorian Fragment, Tertullian, and Origen. All these writers agree that Luke, a companion of Paul, composed the Gospel based on Paul’s preaching. They acknowledge that Luke wasn’t an apostle but a follower of one, emphasizing his role as a second-generation Christian.

Finally, Pitre analyzes the early church fathers’ accounts of John’s Gospel. Irenaeus, the Muratorian Canon, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian all attribute the Gospel to the apostle John, the beloved disciple who rested on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper. They discuss the Gospel’s writing as a supplement to the other Gospels and as a defense against early heresies denying Jesus’s divinity. They also suggest that John may have dictated his Gospel to a scribe.

Pitre emphasizes the striking contrast between the early church fathers’ unwavering acceptance of the four Gospels and their consistent rejection of apocryphal gospels as forgeries. He points out that even heretics and pagan critics, like Celsus, accepted the apostolic authorship of the Gospels, further strengthening the case against the theory of anonymous authorship. He concludes that the theory of the anonymous Gospels is contradicted by the unanimous testimony of early Christian writers.

Chapter 5: The Lost Gospels

This chapter examines the “lost gospels”, or apocryphal gospels, texts that claim to be written by eyewitnesses like Peter, Judas, or Thomas but present a different picture of Jesus than the New Testament Gospels. Pitre focuses on four early examples: the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Peter.

Pitre begins by highlighting the internal evidence within these texts, emphasizing how they explicitly attribute themselves to apostles, seemingly giving them a similar claim to authenticity as the canonical Gospels. He presents sample passages from each text, revealing their often shocking content, like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas’s portrayal of a murderous young Jesus, or the Gospel of Judas’s esoteric dialogue between Jesus and Judas.

However, Pitre then contrasts this internal evidence with the external evidence from the early church fathers. He reveals that these writings, though seemingly lost for centuries, were well-known and rejected by the early church fathers as forgeries. Irenaeus, for example, refers to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas as a “spurious” and “wicked” story, and he condemns the Gospel of Judas as a “fictitious history” produced by heretics. Serapion, the bishop of Antioch, rejects the Gospel of Peter as “falsely ascribed” to the apostle. Even the Gospel of Thomas, often touted as a rediscovery, was known and rejected by Eusebius and Cyril of Jerusalem as a forgery.

The chapter highlights the significant distinction between the early church fathers’ acceptance of the New Testament Gospels and their unanimous rejection of these apocryphal texts. He emphasizes that the early church fathers were aware of the difference between authentic writings and forgeries falsely attributed to apostles, and that they had clear reasons for rejecting these apocryphal texts.

Chapter 6: Are the Gospels Biographies?

Pitre addresses the question of genre, exploring the idea that the Gospels are not biographies but folklore. He contrasts the traditional understanding of the Gospels as historical accounts of Jesus’s life with the emergence of the form-critical approach in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which sought to portray them as folklore or oral traditions.

He highlights how the Gospels were read for centuries as biographies, providing examples of early church fathers like Justin Martyr and Augustine who interpreted them as recording Jesus’s actual words and deeds.

Pitre then presents the arguments of scholars like Rudolf Bultmann, who dismissed the Gospels as historical biographies and saw them as more akin to folktales. Bultmann, for example, argued that the Gospels lack historical-biographical interest because they don’t provide details about Jesus’s human personality or physical appearance.

Pitre counters these arguments by drawing parallels between the Gospels and ancient Greco-Roman biographies. He points out how both genres focus on the life and death of a single individual, often average similar lengths, and frequently begin with genealogies. He further emphasizes that ancient biographies, like the Gospels, were not necessarily presented in chronological order and that they often omitted details about their subjects’ lives.

Pitre then analyzes the endings of both Lucian’s biography of Demonax and the Gospel of John, highlighting their striking similarities in their acknowledgment of incomplete accounts. He argues that this parallel strengthens the case for the Gospels as ancient biographies.

He also addresses the objection that the Gospels are not historical biographies because they are not verbatim transcripts of Jesus’s words and deeds. He highlights the practice of ancient historians like Thucydides, who acknowledged their reliance on memory and sources, and their focus on conveying the substance of speeches rather than verbatim recordings.

Pitre concludes that the claim that the Gospels are folklore, instead of ancient biographies, is not supported by the literary evidence. He asserts that the Gospels are historical biographies that aim to convey the essential truth of Jesus’s life and teachings, despite not being exhaustive or verbatim accounts.

Chapter 7: The Dating of the Gospels

Pitre tackles the question of the dating of the Gospels, focusing on the widely held belief that they were written in the late first century AD. He addresses the common reasons given for this late dating: the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and the Two-Source Theory.

He first examines the Temple destruction argument, critiquing the assumption that Jesus could not have predicted its destruction. Pitre highlights that the Temple had already been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, and that Jesus was not the only first-century Jew to use the Old Testament to warn of its destruction.

He then points out the inconsistency of the Gospels, which never explicitly mention the fulfillment of Jesus’s prophecy. He contrasts this with Luke’s explicit mention of the fulfillment of a prophecy about a famine in the days of Claudius. He concludes that the Temple prophecy is a flimsy basis for dating the Gospels to the late first century and suggests that the prophecies were likely spoken by Jesus before the event.

Next, Pitre analyzes the Two-Source Theory, which posits that Mark was written first, followed by “Q” (a hypothetical source), and then Matthew and Luke, who drew upon both Mark and “Q”. He argues that this theory, though widely accepted, is problematic because it rests on the assumption that Mark was written around AD 70, a date that has been challenged. He also highlights the lack of consensus on the order of the Synoptic Gospels, revealing the ongoing “Synoptic Problem” and questioning the validity of using the Two-Source Theory to date the Gospels.

Finally, Pitre presents an alternative view of dating the Gospels based on the ending of the Acts of the Apostles. He points out that Luke’s narrative ends abruptly with Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, suggesting that it was written before Paul’s martyrdom. This would place the date of Acts before AD 62. Since Luke’s Gospel is thought to have been written before Acts, this would indicate that Luke’s Gospel was also written before AD 62. Furthermore, if either Mark or Matthew was written before Luke, as suggested by the internal evidence in Luke’s Gospel, this would mean they were also written before AD 62.

Pitre concludes by suggesting that the late first-century dating of the Synoptic Gospels is questionable, and that there is compelling evidence for an earlier dating, placing them within the first few decades after Jesus’s death. He argues that the “time gap” between Jesus’s life and the Gospels is not as vast as commonly believed.

Chapter 8: Jesus and the Jewish Messiah

Pitre explores Jesus’s self-understanding as the Jewish Messiah in the context of first-century Jewish expectations. He analyzes Jesus’s repeated use of the terms “Kingdom of God” and “Son of Man”, linking them to specific prophecies in the book of Daniel.

He begins by examining Jesus’s teachings about the Kingdom of God, highlighting how he often speaks of it as an imminent reality. He connects this to Daniel’s prophecy about the four pagan kingdoms that will be destroyed by “the Kingdom of the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:44). Pitre explains how first-century Jews, particularly during the time of the Roman Empire, expected the coming of this Kingdom, interpreting the four kingdoms as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. He argues that Jesus’s proclamation of the Kingdom of God was a declaration that the time for its fulfillment was at hand.

He then explores Jesus’s use of “Son of Man,” another reference to Daniel’s prophecies. He focuses on Daniel’s vision of four beasts representing pagan empires, followed by the arrival of “one like a son of man” (Daniel 7:13), who will reign over the kingdom of God. Pitre highlights the messianic identity of the Son of Man in Daniel and how this prophecy, like the one about the Kingdom of God, predicted the coming of the Messiah during the time of the Roman Empire.

Pitre further examines Daniel’s prophecy about the death of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27), which gives a timeline for the Messiah’s arrival and his subsequent death. He explains how this prophecy, particularly the “cutting off” of the Messiah, may have influenced Jesus’s own pronouncements about his suffering and death.

Pitre concludes by emphasizing the significance of Daniel’s prophecies for understanding Jesus’s self-understanding. He shows how Jesus, in proclaiming the Kingdom of God and calling himself the Son of Man, was essentially announcing the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. He also highlights how Daniel’s prophecy about the Messiah’s death, which is intricately linked to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, further shapes our understanding of Jesus’s mission and destiny.

Chapter 9: Did Jesus Think He Was God?

Pitre challenges the popular claim that Jesus never claimed divinity in the Synoptic Gospels, arguing that they do depict Jesus’s divine nature, albeit in a Jewish context.

He first addresses the argument that the Synoptic Gospels lack evidence for Jesus’s divine claims, pointing out the fallacy of dismissing miracles and sayings of Jesus that implicitly reveal his divinity. He focuses on three miracles: the stilling of the storm, the walking on water, and the Transfiguration.

Pitre analyzes the stilling of the storm, highlighting how Jesus’s control over the wind and the sea echoes the power attributed to God in the Old Testament. He points out that the disciples’ reaction—questioning “Who is this?”—signifies their recognition of a power reserved for God alone.

He then examines the walking on water, emphasizing Jesus’s declaration, “I am,” and its connection to the divine name revealed to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). He argues that Jesus’s action, coupled with his words, reveals his divine identity, showcasing a manifestation of the same power that God showed in creating the world and saving Israel.

The Transfiguration, Pitre argues, also reveals Jesus’s divinity. He explores the significance of Moses and Elijah’s presence on the mountain, linking it to their encounters with God on Mount Sinai. He emphasizes that on the Transfiguration, they are allowed to see what they couldn’t see during their lifetimes—the unveiled face of God, made human in Jesus. He highlights the voice from heaven identifying Jesus as God’s Son, further demonstrating the revelation of a divine duality.

Pitre concludes by challenging the tendency to dismiss evidence that contradicts the theory that Jesus never claimed divinity. He argues that the Synoptic Gospels, read within their Jewish context, do present a Jesus who acts and speaks with divine authority.

Chapter 10: The Secret of Jesus’s Divinity

This chapter examines the “Messianic Secret,” Jesus’s frequent instructions to keep his identity hidden. Pitre explores this practice, arguing that it was not a sign of Jesus’s lack of confidence or a form of reverse psychology. Instead, it was a strategic decision to preserve his life and mission until the right time.

He argues that Jesus understood that a public claim to be the Messiah, let alone the divine Son of God, would have led to his immediate execution. He explores how Jesus’s method of revealing his identity through riddles and questions aimed to guide those who were ready to believe while concealing his divinity from those who would oppose him.

Pitre presents three episodes from the Synoptic Gospels that illustrate this “secret” revelation of Jesus’s divinity: the healing of the paralytic, Jesus’s question about the Messiah, and the encounter with the rich young man.

He analyzes the healing of the paralytic, where Jesus forgives the man’s sins, sparking accusations of blasphemy. He emphasizes that Jesus doesn’t deny his own goodness but rather uses the encounter to challenge the scribes to recognize him as the Son of Man from Daniel 7, a figure described as a divine being.

Pitre then examines the riddle posed by Jesus regarding the Messiah. He highlights how Jesus challenges the scribes’ understanding of the Messiah’s identity, revealing that the Messiah, according to Scripture, is not just the descendant of David but also David’s Lord. He further connects this to Psalm 110, where the Messiah is depicted as seated at God’s right hand and as being begotten by God, implying his divinity.

Finally, Pitre addresses the story of the rich young man, a passage often used to argue against Jesus’s divinity. He emphasizes that Jesus’s statement, “No one is good but God alone,” is not a denial of his own goodness but a challenge to the young man’s understanding of goodness. He highlights how Jesus’s subsequent command to follow him places equal importance on discipleship with the Ten Commandments, further emphasizing his divine authority.

Pitre concludes that the early church fathers, unlike some modern interpreters, recognized Jesus’s teachings as veiled revelations of his divinity. He argues that Jesus, through his parabolic teaching method, invited his audience to grapple with the mystery of his identity.

Chapter 11: The Crucifixion

This chapter addresses the historical and theological significance of Jesus’s crucifixion. Pitre examines why Jesus was crucified and the meaning of his final words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

He begins by emphasizing the brutality of Roman crucifixion and how it was seen as the most shameful and despicable way to die. He then explores common explanations for Jesus’s crucifixion, including the theory that his prophecies about the Temple and his actions against the money changers fueled the Jewish leaders’ anger.

Pitre refutes this theory, arguing that the evidence points to Jesus being condemned for blasphemy, not for his words against the Temple. He analyzes Jesus’s exchange with Caiaphas before the Sanhedrin, highlighting how Jesus explicitly claims to be the Messiah and implicitly claims divinity by referencing Daniel 7 and Psalm 110, both of which portray the Messiah as a divine figure.

He then explores the Sanhedrin’s reaction to Jesus’s claims, emphasizing how they condemned him for blasphemy based on his words about his identity, not his words against the Temple. He reinforces this interpretation by referencing Jewish literature and law that equated blasphemy against God with the most serious offense, punishable by death and often by crucifixion.

Pitre then addresses Jesus’s final words on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He demonstrates that these words are a quotation of Psalm 22, a psalm of trust in God’s ultimate salvation despite suffering and apparent abandonment. He emphasizes how the psalm’s themes of persecution, execution, and God’s ultimate vindication resonate with Jesus’s own passion and death.

Pitre argues that Jesus’s words on the cross, read in the context of Psalm 22, do not reveal despair but rather a conscious understanding of his suffering as fulfilling a divine plan, a plan leading to the conversion of the nations and the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

He concludes by examining Jesus’s words about the Temple. He highlights how Jesus identified his body as the true Temple, the dwelling place of God on earth. He further emphasizes the significance of the blood and water flowing from Jesus’s side during his crucifixion, connecting it to the Passover sacrifice and revealing the symbolic connection between Jesus’s body and the Temple.

Chapter 12: The Resurrection

This chapter explores the historical and theological significance of Jesus’s resurrection, examining what it meant for the disciples and exploring why so many Jews came to believe in it.

Pitre first clarifies what the resurrection was not, emphasizing that it wasn’t a mere resuscitation, the return of the soul to heaven, or the exaltation of Jesus’s spirit to God. He then focuses on what the resurrection truly meant in the first-century Jewish context.

He asserts that the resurrection involved the restoration of Jesus’s body, not just the survival of his soul. He highlights Luke’s account of Jesus’s appearance to the disciples, where Jesus emphasizes the physicality of his resurrected body. He also points to the Gospel of John’s account of Thomas’s encounter with the resurrected Jesus, where Thomas’s belief is triggered by the physical evidence of Jesus’s wounds.

Pitre then explores three key reasons for the early Christians’ belief in Jesus’s resurrection: the empty tomb, the appearances of the risen Jesus, and the fulfillment of Jewish scripture.

He examines the discovery of the empty tomb, highlighting its significance in convincing the disciples that something had happened to Jesus’s body. He addresses common explanations for the empty tomb, like theft, but argues that these explanations are implausible given the circumstances of the guarded tomb.

He then examines the accounts of Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances to his disciples. He highlights the multiplicity of these accounts and emphasizes the presence of firsthand eyewitness testimony, particularly in Matthew and John. He addresses the objections raised against the historicity of these appearances, arguing that discrepancies in details do not invalidate the core testimony of Jesus’s bodily appearances.

Finally, Pitre delves into the scriptural fulfillment of the resurrection, specifically focusing on Jesus’s reference to the “sign of Jonah” (Matthew 12:38-41; Luke 11:29-32). He analyzes the story of Jonah, demonstrating that it’s not about a three-day survival in a fish but about a death and resurrection. He emphasizes the connection between Jonah’s resurrection and the miraculous conversion of the Gentiles, paralleling Jesus’s resurrection with the conversion of the nations, a key aspect of his teachings.

Pitre concludes by highlighting the universality of the Church as evidence for the truth of the resurrection. He argues that the conversion of the Gentiles, predicted in the Old Testament and witnessed by early church fathers, is a powerful testament to the reality of Jesus’s resurrection and the transformative power of the Gospel.

Chapter 13: At Caesarea Philippi

Pitre concludes his book by returning to C.S. Lewis’s Liar, Lunatic, or Lord trilemma. He argues that the evidence for Jesus’s claim to divinity is overwhelming and that the fourth option—that Jesus never claimed divinity—is untenable. He demonstrates that the theory that Jesus never claimed to be God requires eliminating a vast amount of historical evidence.

He then emphasizes the importance of Jesus’s revelation to Peter at Caesarea Philippi, where Peter confesses Jesus as the “Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Pitre highlights how Jesus’s response reveals the divine source of Peter’s knowledge and the essential role of revelation in understanding Jesus’s true identity. He connects this to Jesus’s other teachings about the Son and the Father, emphasizing the importance of God’s revealing grace in grasping Jesus’s divine nature.

Pitre concludes by acknowledging the impossibility of definitively proving Jesus’s divinity. He stresses that this remains a question for each individual to answer, and that the invitation to encounter Jesus as a real historical person and to wrestle with his identity remains a fundamental call for every person. He emphasizes the enduring relevance of Jesus’s question to Peter, “But who do you say that I am?”


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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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