Ever wonder if Jesus ever wrote anything down? I know I certainly have. According to Eusebius of Caesarea Jesus actually responded to a letter sent to him by Abgarus the ruler of Edessa.
Letter of Abgarus to Jesus:
6. 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.
Jesus’ Response to Abgarus:
9. 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.
So while it would seem according to Eusebius that at the very least Jesus dictated a letter or response to Abgarus. Eusebius goes on later to say that Jesus’ followed through with his promise and one of disciples went to Abgarus and healed him.
Is This Letter Real?
Eusebius certainly considered it to be real. Eusebius is considered the Father of Church History and was a respected source for Church history in the early Church. One could conclude that Eusebius had no reason to make up such an account.
So Is It Legit?
Maybe! It’s hard to say really. I know that is not the answer you were looking for from me but the way I see it we have a few options for the origin of this letter. These theories are in no particular order.
- It was a forgery. Eusebius believed the letter to be legit but who’s to say that someone did not forge the letters say 100 years before Eusebius. That would put the date of the letters forgery around AD 200 well before Eusebius would of been on the Earth but old enough to lend it some credence to Eusebius.
- It’s possible that these letters were produced later in history after the death of Jesus but were meant as a reflection of an actual event.
- They are totally legit and were produced during the time of Jesus ministry.
I tend to lean toward option #2. I believe it is possible that Abgarus heard about Jesus and possibly sent a messenger to Jesus with a message and Jesus thus returned the messenger with his reply. This would explain why we do not have any record from Jesus earliest disciples of our Savior haven ever produced any written works. If king Abgarus would of received a written document from Jesus it seems likely that such a document would of risen very quickly in popularity and thus found its way into the earliest church documents.
What do you think? Its an interesting tidbit from Eusebius to say the least.