An Actual LETTER, Hand-Written by Jesus Himself?
As I was reading in Eusebius (300 AD), I came across a tidbit that shocked me. I felt goosbumps reading this. In it, as you can see, Eusebius claims to have an actual copy of a letter written by Jesus Christ Himself. It is not long and doesn’t contain any sort of doctrine or anything contrary to what is found in the Gospels. This is just what makes this quotation seem possible. It could be that Jesus would have written such a letter, and that such events would have taken place. I suppose that there is no verse which says that Jesus could not have written anything. I suppose that as a Jew who read the Scriptures, Jesus would have been literate, and there is no verse which actually forbids the idea of Jesus writing some note on a scrap of paper which would later be found…but man, this just seems very very strange.
Anyways, here is the quotation. What do others think about this letter? Is it possible that Jesus Christ Himself wrote this?
Eusebius, Book 1, Chapter 13
1. The divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ being noised abroad among all men on account of his <!––>wonder-working<!––> power, he attracted countless numbers from foreign countries lying far away from Judea, who had the hope of being cured of their diseases and of all kinds of sufferings.
2. For instance the King Abgarus, who ruled with great glory the nations beyond the Euphrates, being afflicted with a terrible disease which it was beyond the power of <!––>human<!––> skill to cure, when he heard of the name of Jesus, and of his miracles, which were attested by all with one accord sent a message to him by a courier and begged him to heal his disease.
3. But he did not at that time comply with his request; yet he deemed him worthy of a personal letter in which he said that he would send one of his disciples to cure his disease, and at the same time promised salvation to himself and all his house.
4. Not long afterward his <!––>promise<!––> was fulfilled. For after his resurrection from the dead and his <!––>ascent into heaven<!––>, <!––>Thomas<!––>, one of the twelve apostles, under divine impulse sent <!––>Thaddeus<!––>, who was also numbered among the seventy disciples of Christ, to Edessa, as a preacher and evangelist of the teaching of Christ.
5. And all that our Saviour had <!––>promised<!––> received through him its fulfillment. You have written evidence of these things taken from the archives of Edessa, which was at that time a royal city. For in the public registers there, which contain accounts of ancient times and the acts of Abgarus, these things have been found preserved down to the present time. But there is no better way than to hear the epistles themselves which we have taken from the archives and have literally translated from the Syriac language in the following manner.
Copy of an epistle written by Abgarus the ruler to Jesus, and sent to him at Jerusalem by Ananias the swift courier.
–>Abgarus, ruler of Edessa, to Jesus the excellent Saviour who has appeared in the country of <!––>Jerusalem<!––>, greeting. I have heard the reports of you and of your cures as performed by you without medicines or herbs. For it is said that you make the blind to see and the lame to walk, that you cleanse lepers and <!––>cast out<!––> <!––>impure spirits<!––> and demons, and that you heal those afflicted with lingering disease, and raise the dead.
7. And having heard all these things concerning you, I have concluded that one of two things must be true: either you are God, and having come down from <!––>heaven<!––> you do these things, or else you, who does these things, are the Son of God.
8. I have therefore written to you to ask you if you would take the trouble to come to me and heal the disease which I have. For I have heard that the Jews are murmuring against you and are plotting to injure you. But I have a very small yet noble city which is great enough for us both.<!––>
The answer of Jesus to the ruler Abgarus by the courier Ananias.
<!––>Blessed<!––> are you who hast <!––>believed<!––> in me without having seen me. For it is written concerning me, that they who have seen me will not believe in me, and that they who have not seen me will believe and be <!––>saved<!––>. But in regard to what you have written me, that I should come to you, it is <!––>necessary<!––> for me to fulfill all things here for which I have been sent, and after I have fulfilled them thus to be <!––>taken up again<!––> to him that sent me. But after I have been taken up I will send to you one of my disciples, that he may heal your disease and give <!––>life<!––> to you and yours.
10. To these epistles there was added the following account in the Syriac language. <!–
–>After the <!––>ascension<!––> of Jesus, Judas, who was also called <!––>Thomas<!––>, sent to him <!––>Thaddeus<!––>, an <!––>apostle<!––>, one of the Seventy. When he had come he lodged with <!––>Tobias<!––>, the son of Tobias. When the report of him got abroad, it was told Abgarus that an <!––>apostle<!––> of Jesus had come, as he had written him.
11. <!––>Thaddeus<!––> began then in the power of God to heal every disease and infirmity, insomuch that all wondered. And when Abgarus heard of the great and wonderful things which he did and of the cures which he performed, he began to suspect that he was the one of whom Jesus had written him, saying, ‘After I have been <!––>taken up<!––> I will send to you one of my disciples who will heal you.’
12. Therefore, summoning <!––>Tobias<!––>, with whom <!––>Thaddeus<!––> lodged, he said, I have heard that a certain man of power has come and is lodging in your house. Bring him to me. And <!––>Tobias<!––> coming to <!––>Thaddeus<!––> said to him, The ruler Abgarus summoned me and told me to bring you to him that you might heal him. And <!––>Thaddeus<!––> said, I will go, for I have been sent to him with power.
13. <!––>Tobias<!––> therefore arose early on the following day, and taking <!––>Thaddeus<!––> came to Abgarus. And when he came, the nobles were present and stood about Abgarus. And immediately upon his entrance a great <!––>vision<!––> appeared to Abgarus in the countenance of the <!––>apostle<!––> <!––>Thaddeus<!––>. When Abgarus saw it he prostrated himself before <!––>Thaddeus<!––>, while all those who stood about were astonished; for they did not see the <!––>vision<!––>, which appeared to Abgarus alone.
14. He then asked <!––>Thaddeus<!––> if he were in truth a disciple of Jesus the Son of God, who had said to him, ‘I will send you one of my disciples, who shall heal you and give you life.’ And <!––>Thaddeus<!––> said, Because you have mightily believed in him that sent me, therefore have I been sent unto you. And still further, if you believe in him, the petitions of your heart shall be granted you as you believe.
15. And Abgarus said to him, So much have I believed in him that I wished to take an army and destroy those Jews who crucified him, had I not been deterred from it by reason of the dominion of the Romans. And <!––>Thaddeus<!––> said, Our Lord has fulfilled the will of his Father, and having fulfilled it has been <!––>taken up<!––> to his Father. And Abgarus said to him, I too have believed in him and in his Father.
16. And <!––>Thaddeus<!––> said to him, Therefore I <!––>place my hand upon you<!––> in his name. And when he had done it, immediately Abgarus was cured of the disease and of the suffering which he had.
17. And Abgarus marvelled, that as he had heard concerning Jesus, so he had received in very deed through his disciple <!––>Thaddeus<!––>, who healed him without medicines and herbs, and not only him, but also Abdus the son of Abdus, who was afflicted with the gout; for he too came to him and fell at his feet, and having received a benediction by the <!––>imposition of his hands<!––>, he was healed. The same <!––>Thaddeus<!––> cured also many other inhabitants of the city, and did <!––>wonders and marvelous works<!––>, and preached the word of God.
18. And afterward Abgarus said, You, O <!––>Thaddeus<!––>, do these things with the power of God, and we marvel. But, in addition to these things, I pray you to inform me in regard to the coming of Jesus, how he was born; and in regard to his power, by what power he performed those <!––>deeds<!––> of which I have heard.
19. And <!––>Thaddeus<!––> said, Now indeed will I keep silence, since I have been sent to proclaim the <!––>word<!––> publicly. But tomorrow assemble for me all your citizens, and I will preach in their presence and sow among them the <!––>word<!––> of God, concerning the <!––>coming<!––> of Jesus, how he was born; and concerning his mission, for what purpose he was sent by the Father; and concerning the power of his works, and the mysteries which he proclaimed in the world, and by what power he did these things; and concerning his new preaching, and his abasement and humiliation, and how he humbled himself, and died and debased his divinity and was crucified, and <!––>descended into Hades<!––>, and burst the bars which from eternity had not been broken, and <!––>raised the dead<!––>; for he <!––>descended<!––> alone, but <!––>rose<!––> with many, and thus <!––>ascended to his Father<!––>.
20. Abgarus therefore commanded the citizens to assemble early in the morning to hear the preaching of <!––>Thaddeus<!––>, and afterward he ordered gold and silver to be given him. But he refused to take it, saying, If we have forsaken that which was our own, how shall we take that which is another’s? These things were done in the three hundred and fortieth year.<!––>
I have inserted them here in their proper place, translated from the <!––>Syriac<!––> literally, and I hope to good purpose.