The Alpha Course is called the “Inspiration Course” (启发 qifa 课程) on the Chinese language video.

Title: Who is Jesus

(HOSTS) LZ: Did you know that in ancient times Dunhuang was a very important place? RT:  Yes, China has a rich history that we are proud of. This was the hub of the ancient silk road, the place where businessmen had to go. LZ If you go straight along this road you could arrive in Europe! RT Right, Did you know that if you keep going on the silk road for 5000 KM you would come to Israel? LZ: Wow! That is a very interesting place.  There was an important person who once lived there and continues to have a huge impact on history. His name is Jesus. RT Yes. But before I became a Christian, I had never even heard of him. Later I found out that he was a Jew who was born in Israel. LZ Actually, to be honest I used to think that Jesus was a blue-eyed, blonde haired foreigner. RT: Hey, did you say we could drive to Israel? LZ Huh? How long do you want to drive? Why didn’t you say to ride camels there?

(Montage of travel and fun activities)
1:50 -  Even though Jesus was born in Israel, his influence on the whole world was enormous. The birth of Jesus marks the beginning of an era in human history. It separates BCE (before the common era) with CE (the common era). “BCE” was org inally called BC and meant “Before Christ”. CE was originally called “A.D.” which came from the Latin phrase Anno Domini, meaning “The Year of our Lord.” Currently, the world has over 2.3 billion followers of Jesus. That is one third of the earth’s population. The world’s most celebrated holiday is New Year, the second is Christmas which commemorates the birth of Jesus. The third most celebrated is Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified (受难日). Time Magazine called Jesus the most influential person ever born.

3:20 - QUESTION |If you could meet with a famous person, who would it be? And why?

(Different people answer_...Liu Xiang...Gang Tiesha...He Linshu...Does Jesus count as a famous person...Li Xiaolong, because he has attitude...BTS’s Jin Taihen...Zhou Xingchi...Ma Jisi or Bi Shaluo or Mo Nai...Li Ronghao, I really like his singing...Da Fenqi...Stevie Wonder….He Kebi because he is my idol...Wang Yibo because I think he is good looking...Peng Yuyan, because he is my husband...I would like to meet Jesus..I would like to have a chat with Ren Ke...Fan Gao, I would tell him not to commit suicide, your painting is worth money. Paint me one, so I can take it with me.

4:25 SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION |If you could meet with a famous person, who would it be? And why?

4:45 (TEACHER CARTOON)  According to the Bible’s account, 2000 years ago Jesus was born in a feeding trough in Bethlehem. Later he grew up in Nazareth. When he was 30 years old, he began to preach. He taught people about God. He said he was God’s Son. He performed many miracles. His first was at a wedding where he turned water into wine. He also used 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes to feed over 5000 people. Jesus also healed many sick people, and made dead people live again. Jesus rode a donkey into the city of Jerusalem. Many people welcomed him, but religious leaders were jealous of him. They plotted to harm him, and had him arrested and nailed to the cross. There he suffered and died. He was put in a grave. On the third day he rose again. He appeared to many people. Forty days later, in front of his disciples, he rose into heaven.

6:00 (Teacher) - In the 6th year of primary school,  I had a friend named David. The second day after we met, he took me to a department store and held up a beautiful bookmark. He asked me if I liked it and then threw it on the ground. After taking me around for a while, he told me to pick up the bookmark: He said, “When someone asks you can say I found it on the ground”. That was stealing! Even though a bookmark seems like a small thing, to me, who had never done bad things before, it was a huge thing. I immediately had a thought: “This person is not a good person. I should not be close friends with him”.  When I went into the 2nd year of middle school, I met him again, because we happened to be classmates. I was stunned that he seemed completely different. He always used to talk back to the teacher. Now he was very respectful. He always used to cheat on tests. Now he studied hard. He no longer did bad things. I was curious what had changed, and found out that Jesus had changed him. Later, David invited me to his church. There I also met his friends. It seemed as if to them, every small detail of their lives was important. They also used to say that God guided them to make certain decisions. God comforted them when they had difficulty. This made me very curious. I had never seriously thought that my religious belief had any connection with my lifestyle. I hoped that my life could have experiences with God like they had. Thus, I began to read and examine the bible. I discovered that this book which had intimidated me, this really thick book, was full of inspiring and valuable content. Through reading the Bible and seeing David’s transformation, I began to believe that this God was real.

8:13 Can science prove this? Perhaps a person would ask, “You say that God is real, but could science prove that?” Science is important, but it answers a different type of question. Science can tell you when and how the world was formed. But it cannot tell you who caused it and why. This is similar to this drawing. If I gave it to scientists, they could tell what materials were used to draw it.  They might be able to determine when it was drawn. But only the artist behind it could answer the other questions. Only I could say why I drew it. This is something like the riddle of the meaning of the universe. Only the universe’s designer could tell you why the universe was created. Christianity clearly tells us, that the God who created everything, has already revealed himself to the people of the world. So what evidence do we need for Jesus to be true? Science by itself cannot fully prove this. We need to use historical proof.

9:36 Historical proof. (LZ) Not one scholar of history can deny that Jesus existed. Ancient Roman historians Tacitus (Dashiduo) and Suetonius (Sushine) wrote about Jesus’s miracles. In the first century the Jewish historian Josephus (Yuesefu) wrote that Jesus was a powerful man who did miracles. He also recorded that Jesus was nailed to a cross and later resurrected. These are all things outside of the New Testament that point to Jesus having existed.
Text Criticism (RT) - People might say, the New Testament is such an old book, how do we know that in all that time the content did not change? Through text criticism’s scientific methodology we can know that it has not changed.

10:28 - (Textual Scholar)  Modern textual critics, use fairly objective and scientific methodology to evaluate whether ancient manuscripts are authentic or false. There are three main principles: the gap in time between the earliest surviving manuscripts and the original, the number of surviving manuscripts, and the time frame for transcription errors. What are the gaps between the eras? Scholars use the surviving codex’s (古抄本) that are the closest to the time in which the author lived. Naturally if there is a long time period between the original author and the codex, it would be difficult to avoid human or natural errors in the text. Therefore the codexes which have the shortest time period between the author and the surviving manuscript have fewer mistakes. For comparison, China’s Mengzi has a  gap of fifteen hundred years. And for Ancient Rome, the gap for Tacitus’s manuscript is 1000 years. But the gap for New Testament manuscripts is only around 150-450 years.

11:45  The second thing is the amount of surviving manuscripts. Most ancient books were all written, carved or engraved on stone, wood or bamboo strips. Or they were written on papyrus reeds, silk or animal skins. Very different from today’s cheap paper and convenient computers. Nowadays, false news and information flies around everywhere. At that time they could only copy valuable information by hand. It was expensive and time consuming. Therefore they mainly copied down information that was valuable. The number of surviving manuscripts of the Bible far surpasses other ancient books. Many, many, many times over! You can clearly see its reliability!

12:44 Number three, copying errors. Were there any errors? First we have to look at the attitudes of the copyists toward the original manuscripts. Did they maintain a cautious, respectful attitude? The Hebrew scholars had an extremely strict, serious and rigorous attitude towards copying. After every new copy was produced, they compared it to the old. They paid attention to every single word horizontally and vertically. Every letter was counted. All the way until the whole copy had no mistake. Let me give you an example of two manuscripts. One was a manuscript from the Dead Sea 125 years BC. The other was the Aleppo Codex from 934 AD. The time interval between these two manuscripts is over 1000 years.  These two manuscripts had in common a complete book of Isaiah to compare. All together Isaiah has 26,000 words. Amazingly there is not a single difference in any word between the two copies.  From this you can see how cautious the copying of these scholars was. If we read the Western poet Homer or our Chinese Analects, Mengzi or Shijing (History), we have no doubt of their authenticity. So the bible in comparison with these three works and according to the three conditions I mentioned, is even more true, and more without error in transmission!

14:28 (Hosts) From looking at the New Testament itself as well as proof of the New Testament from outside, Jesus really is a historical figure. He had a human body, he ate, drank and worked as a carpenter. Jesus also had a family, emotion, joys and sorrows.

14:48 QUESTION | Who do you think Jesus is?

(Different people answer)...The leader of Christianity…Jesus is curly haired...He is the big guy in Christianity...I don’t much understand or know about him...He is the victim of being nailed to a cross...he was the one in the Last Supper...He was a lovable grandpa who helped many people to find the purpose of human life...the one who started Christianity...the one who was nailed to the cross….Jesus? There is no Jesus...I’ve certainly heard of him, everyday I hear “Oh, my God”...Jesus is God’s Son….As soon as you bring this up, I think of the one who was hung on that….a man, but I forget what he looks like...Lord...A foreigner, probably has brown hair, his age is probably a bit old, has some wrinkles…

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION | Who do you think Jesus is?

16:12 (Teacher) Who, after all, is Jesus? Many think he is a great religious teacher. Is this all he really is? First of all let’s find out who Jesus himself said he was. If Jesus did not think he was God, then there is nothing to debate. But if he did think so, then we need to examine if this is true. Jesus said “If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father (God) (John 14:9). He also said if you receive me you receive God (Matt. 10:10). Clearly Jesus saw himself as God.

17:00 People are originally created by God. Because of this no one can depend on his own wisdom and ability to know God. Unless God himself tells us who he is. Moreover, Jesus is the way that God chose to show us who he is. This is the method God used to reveal himself to us. So, clearly Jesus not only came to show us how to live, he also wants us to directly begin a relationship with him. Jesus is like a transparent glass: through him we can see clearly the Creator, God’s likeness.

17:39 (Hosts (LZ) Once Jesus in Jerusalem said to the religious leaders. “I and the Father are One” (John 10:38). When someone made that claim in Israel it was seen as a crime of blasphemy. This is equal to proclaiming yourself as God. At that time a person who claimed this would be stoned to death. Therefore people picked up stones to throw at Jesus. (RT) But Jesus replied: “I showed you many miracles from the Father. What miracle are you stoning me for? They answered it isn’t because of the miracles we want to stone you, but you because you blasphemed. You are a normal man, but you claim you are God.

18:36 (Teacher)  If you carefully, honestly examine Jesus’s words and actions, it is impossible for him to only be a normal man. He actually said he was God’s Son.  This is a huge announcement. If we carefully think about this statement there are three possibilities. (Here he repeats CS Lewis’s ‘Liar, Lunatic or Lord’ argument.)

19:40 Another proof is that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Before him there was no other person in history who fulfilled a set of prophecies about his life which had been written down in a book. They were written at a minimum of 400 years before he was born. He fulfilled over 300 of these prophecies. In addition 29 of them were fulfilled in a single day. Some might say perhaps Jesus tried to trick people by reading the Old Testament and trying to fulfill these prophecies himself. But this theory is not very logical. First because the huge amount of prophecies. Also because there were many prophecies that a person could not control: his birthplace, his death and burial. But the biggest proof is that he conquered death. His resurrection is the foundation of everything that he offers people. No one before him has ever solved the problem of death, as he did. His resurrection shows that he is the source of life. So, could this just be wishful thinking?

21:58 (LZ) What is the proof of Jesus’s resurrection? There are four proofs.

First Evidence:  Jesus’s empty tomb. The disciples could not find his body. Are there other possible explanations? Did the disciples steal his body? Did the authorities steal it? If the authorities took it, why did’t they bring it out to refute the claim that he rose from the dead. Also, if some thieves took the body, how come they didn’t take his burial cloth also since it was the only item of value?

2nd Evidence: Jesus Appears to His Disciples
Jesus appeared over 10 times. Once he appeared to 500 people at one time. 

3rd Evidence - People seeing that the lives of his disciples had greatly changed. At first their dreams had been shattered and they were completely dejected because their leader was dead. But then, they went everywhere telling people that Jesus was resurrected and they had seen him. Most of them were martyred, crucified, beheaded, or tortured  because they believed Jesus had risen. Jesus’s resurrection had completely changed their lives. The result was that this small group of people unexpectedly turned the world upside down, changing it greatly. Even more this proclamation of Jesus became a great wave, something unique in human history.

4th Evidence: An Unstoppable wave. Up to now, this wave is unstoppable. The 2.3 billion Christians come from many different races, social groups, cultures, and educational backgrounds, they all unanimously say they have met the resurrected Jesus.

24:05 (testimony) When I was young, if someone asked me who Jesus was, I would have said that he was a western God. I certainly would never have accepted a western religion. I had no relationship at all with Jesus. But my heart always had an emptiness that was hard to put into words. So I was always on the lookout everywhere for some kind of belief. I found famous fortune tellers, and visited well known mountains and ancient temples for retreats and practices. But the empty place in my heart could not be filled. One time my English teacher invited me to his church. I thought it would be good practice for my English, so I went for a period of time. The pastor’s home had many books about Jesus, the Christian faith, Bible history, apologetics etc. These books greatly stimulated my curiosity, and I borrowed many of them. After a period of time I saw that Jesus’s influence was massive. He taught that all people were equal, including men and women. He also taught us to love our enemies. That conflicted with the values of that time. He also rebelled against tradition. Very similar to me! I like reasoning and logic, so I began to consider the idea that perhaps Jesus was true. Perhaps he was, like he said, God. My turning point happened one evening at a church camp. Some people came to pray for me and my whole body turned hot. Then suddenly I discovered to my surprise, that my neck’s recurring pain from too much computer gaming had actually disappeared! The Bible describes Jesus healing the sick, and this had actually happened in my own body. So Jesus really does heal the sick! That night was the turning point in my knowledge of Christ. I changed from knowing him only in my head, to knowing him in my heart, with a real relationship. When I opened my heart to Jesus, I came to know him truly. Jesus is a God who heals. A fair and righteous God. A God who cares about and loves us.

27:00 (Teacher) So, how should we regard Jesus? First Jesus actually called himself God. His words were: “I and the Father are One.” Also his life was filled with miracles and power. He also displayed perfect character. Even more striking is his death and resurrection. All of these things support the proclamation that he is God. Nothing in his life supports the idea that he is crazy or a liar. (The teacher continues summarizing all the previous points.) (Then the teacher holds up a pen) A pen could be used to scratch one’s head, or it could be made of gold. But if it doesn’t fulfill its main function to write it is useless! The main function of people is to enjoy God’s love. Many people are afraid that once they become a Christian their life would be no fun. I also thought that, but it is really the opposite. I found that knowing Jesus filled my life with meaning and purpose. To be more accurate, though, I was found by him. What about you?
(Hosts): Jesus came to give people life, and that more abundantly. Jesus rose from the dead to give people a true hope. It is because we met Jesus, that our life is not the same. We can live an abundant and more meaningful life.

29:49 SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION | What are your thoughts about Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection?