MARA BAR SERAPION
Mara bar Serapion, a philosopher during the first century, is known for a letter that he wrote to his son about Jesus. Scholars believe that the letter was written sometime between 73 AD and the third century. Mara was not a Christian, but he spoke highly of Jesus, the “King,” and Christianity.
One passage from the letter states, “What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their King [Jesus]? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three men… the Jew, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.”
From this quote, Jesus was identified as King of the Jews. Jesus was known as a good and wise man. Mara, a non-believer, even stated that Jesus was wrongly executed but that there were consequences for this act. This commentary aligns directly with the Bible. Mara also wrote that Jesus did not die, but He lived on through His teachings.