Since Jesus has been raised the author counseled Rheginos that “already you have the resurrection . . . why not consider yourself as risen and (already) brought to this?” Thus he is encouraged not to “continue as if you are to die.”^78 The resurrection of Jesus thereby provides practical considerations in causing the believer to realize that he already has eternal life presently and should not live in fear of death. This teaching is similar to that of the New Testament (Col. 3:1–4; Heb. 2:14–15) and gives added significance to Lucian’s report of Christians who believed that they were immortal and thus unafraid of death.

Once again, these previous four sources are theologically oriented, freely incorporating many Gnostic tendencies, in addition to being generally later than most of our other sources. While these two qualifications do not necessitate unreliable reporting of historical facts about Jesus, we are to be cautious in our use of this data. Other Lost Works Acts of Pontius Pilate

The contents of this purportedly lost document are reported by both Justin Martyr (ca. AD 150) and Tertullian (ca. AD 200). Both agree that it was an official document of Rome. Two types of archives were kept in ancient Rome. The Acta senatuswere composed of minutes of the senatorial meetings. These contained no discussions of Christ or Christianity as far as is known. The Commentarii principis were composed of the correspondence sent to the emperors from various parts of the empire. Any report from Pilate to Tiberius would belong to this second group.^79

Justin Martyr reported around AD 150 in his First Apology that the details of Jesus’ crucifixion could be validated from Pilate’s report: And the expression, “They pierced my hands and my feet,” was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after He was crucified, they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen you can ascertain in the “Acts” of Pontius Pilate.^80

76 Ibid., 48:10–19.

77 For instance, see The Second Treatise of the Great Seth 55:9–56:19.

78 The Treatise on Resurrection 49:15–27.

79 Daniel-Rops, “Silence of Jesus’ Contemporaries,” p. 14.

80 Justin Martyr, First Apology, XXXV. Quotations from Justin Martyr and Tertullian are from the Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), vol. III.

Later in the same work Justin lists several healing miracles and asserts, “And that He did those things, you can learn from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.”^81

Justin Martyr relates several facts, believing them to be contained in Pilate’s report. The chief concern is apparently Jesus’ crucifixion, with details such as (1)his hands and feet being nailed to the cross and (2)the soldiers gambling for his garments. But it is also asserted (3)that several of Jesus’ miracles were also included in Pilate’s report.

Tertullian even reports that Tiberius acted on the report: Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favour of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians.^82