Do not miss the importance of the many Scripture references given below. These are historical records of a reliability seldom seen in the study of ancient history, written by (eg 2 Peter 1:16) or heavily dependent upon (Luke 1:1-4) eyewitnesses. And note that these witnesses were utterly convinced of the wickedness of every human (1 John 1:8,10; Romans 3:9,10,23). This was a basic belief of not just the early Christians, but of the Jewish religion, continually pressed into the minds of most of them almost from birth (1 Kings 8:46; Job 15:14; Psalms 130:3; 143:2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 17:9). Yet still they came to the amazing conclusion that Jesus was faultless.
General – Peter could speak of the good Jesus had done, knowing that this fact was widely accepted even among non-Christians. (Acts 10:36-38)
Jesus’ religious enemies – The only charge they could make stick was that he made claims no normal man could make.
Pilate – John 19:4-14; Matthew 27: 23-24
Pilate’s wife – Matthew 27:19
Jesus’ betrayer – Matthew 27:4
Jesus’ executioner – Matthew 27:54; Luke 23:47
The thief crucified with Jesus – Luke 23:41
A demon – Mark 1:23-24
People who knew Jesus well:
John the Baptist – Matthew 3:13-17
John the apostle – John 1:14; 1 John 2:29; 3:5
Peter – Luke 5:8; Acts 3:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22; 3:18
Early Christian witnesses – Hebrews 4.15; 7:26; 9:14 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus’ own mother and brother believed in him – Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19
Jesus’ own words – Do not dismiss this. The more godly people are, the more aware they are of their sinfulness (see, for example, Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus stands out as a sole exception to this rule (John 5:30,36; 7:18; 8:29; 10:32,38; 14:11, 30-31; 15:24). ‘Who can accuse me of doing wrong?’ he dared ask a hostile crowd (John 8:46).
An angel – Luke 1:35
Foretold by Old Testament prophets – Isaiah 53:9,11; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 9:9
It is sometimes thought that Jesus did wrong for one of the following reasons:
Jesus cursed a fig tree – If Jesus swore because of the tree we would have reason to question his character. The word ‘cursed’ is clearly not used in this sense, however, because all he did was to say to the tree, ‘You will never bear fruit again’ (Matthew 21:19).
Jesus got angry at the temple money changers – The disciples’ immediate reaction is revealing. The event reminded them of part of the Bible and they saw Jesus’ action as proof that Jesus was like God (John 2:15-17; Psalm 69:9). From beginning to end, the Bible speaks often of God’s anger (for example, Exodus 15:7; Deuteronomy 9:7-8; Ezekiel 7:19; Romans 2:5; Revelation 16:1). Christians have always said that righteous anger is totally different to selfish anger. There was nothing unplanned about Jesus’ action. He showed complete self-control. He went to the temple, looked around, and left because it was late. The next day he forced out the temple workers (Mark 11:11,15). To see if there was any selfish anger within Jesus, study his reaction when he was cruelly and unfairly put to death. ‘Forgive them,’ was his cry.
By calling her ‘woman,’ Jesus did not show respect to his mother – Modern Bible translations feel that ‘woman’ is a poor translation. Most use words like ‘dear lady,’ but even these seem artificial. The Good News Bible does not even try to translate it. There is, in fact, no exact English equal to the word that is in the original text. ‘A term of endearment and respect’ is one Greek scholar’s description of the word. We have only to look at one of the situations in which the word was used to see the accuracy of this description. Jesus used the term in the most tender of moments. He was on the cross dying in agony. His heart-broken, probably widowed, mother, soon to lose her son, was looking on, and Jesus was making final arrangements for his most loving disciple to look after her for the rest of her life (John 19:26-27).
Conclusion: Distance in time and culture, a shallow reading of a text and not understanding biblical morality can mislead us. A more careful study, however, confirms that Jesus was uniquely without sin.