While some have tried to use mythic and legendary parallels to argue against the historicity of the Jesus story, these vague mythic and legendary parallels are actually what we should expect if indeed the Jesus story is “true”—in the fullest sense of the term. After all, one aspect of the Jesus story, extending back into the Old Testament, is the teaching that humans are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28). We’re thus “wired” for God, if you will. Not only this, but the New Testament itself declares that Jesus is the light “of all people” (John 1:4, 9) who is always working in the hearts of all people to lead them back to himself (Acts 17:26-28, cf. Rom 1:19-20). We should thus expect to find “echoes” of the Jesus story expressed in the myths and legends of all people. . . .
If we are honest with ourselves, and if we grasp the depth of the “good news” this story embodies, something quite like the Jesus story is what we hope to be true. Yet, most amazingly, this story gives us reason to believe it is historically true.
–Adapted from G. Boyd & P. Eddy,
Lord or Legend?