And all of this leads us to where we need to be — Jesus. No other man in the history of the earth has been more influential than Jesus Christ. Even his birth became a dividing point in time. The question I have asked many times is this: How can a man who lived over 2,000 years ago affect my life today?
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This is a four-part series:
Did Jesus really exist?
Looking for proof of Jesus outside the Bible, Lawrence Mykytiuk wrote this article detailing specific works from non-Christians that mention Jesus. I counted at least seven examples in his text, maybe the most notable coming from Tacitus, a Roman senator and historian who, in fact, despised Christians.
Mykytiuk writes, “As far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist. Referring to the first several centuries C.E., even a scholar as cautious and thorough as Robert Van Voorst freely observes, ‘… [N]o pagans and Jews who opposed Christianity denied Jesus’ historicity or even questioned it.’ ”
Jesus Christ fulfilled over 300 prophesies in the Bible. He essentially fulfills the old testament. Here are the major eight, all written between 500 and 1,000 years before Christ’s birth:
- The Messiah will die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16).
- The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
- The Messiah will remain silent while He is afflicted (Isaiah 53:7).
- A messenger will prepare the way for the Messiah (Malachi 3:1).
- The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
- The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend and suffer wounds in His hands (Zechariah 13:6).
- The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
- The betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13).
According to “Science Speaks,” written by Peter Stoner, the chances of the eight major prophesies of Jesus being fulfilled by one person is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. 1:100,000,000,000,000,000
The chances of one man fulfilling 40 of the prophesies in the Old Testament is 1:100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
According to author Josh McDowell, Jesus fulfilling just eight of the 300 prophesies is equivalent to covering the entire state of Texas two feet deep with silver dollars, marking one of them red, blind folding a man and asking him to find the red silver dollar. The chances of him finding it on his first pick would be the same as one man fulfilling just eight of the prophecies about the Messiah.
Did Jesus die on the cross and rise from the dead?
I’m running out of time to get into proof that Jesus rose from the dead, but it’s so fascinating I can’t help myself. Aside from the hundreds of eye witnesses, in chapter 19, John describes the crucial blow to his death: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”
Medical professionals think his beating and hanging on the cross alone would not have been survivable. But if that weren’t enough, this outpouring of blood and clear fluid would have come from a punctured lung and the clear fluid that surrounds the heart. Read more here.
The disciples believed Jesus to be the son God and gave up everything to follow Him. In fact, all of them (aside from Judas who hanged himself after betraying Jesus) remained loyal and committed to Christ, continuing to spread the gospel until their deaths. All were martyred for their faith except John, who died in exile.
Some conspiracy theories say that the disciples hid the body and lied about seeing him resurrected. There is one simple argument for that: People don’t die for causes they don’t believe in. If they knew they had hid the body or he never actually died on the cross, the gospel would have ended there.
This is a test
If you believe Jesus at one time walked the face of the Earth, you have two decisions on your hands. This is a multiple choice test with only one correct answer.
Jesus was only one of these:
A.) a liar
B.) a lunatic
C.) or Lord
Those are your options. It is called the trilemma. He was not a good, moral teacher. He could only be one of these things. In the words of author C.S. Lewis (a once determined atheist):
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”
The second mandatory question, if you answered C, is if you will decide to follow Christ?
Can all these consistencies in science and history, all these one in a billion chances, be a role of the dice? They cannot. You are not the result of a primordial soup, as Strobel puts it. We were created, designed and this post doesn’t even get to the fact that we are also deeply loved!
God does not ask us to follow Him blindly. His fingerprint is all around us, even on us. And the best part is that He wants us to explore His creation, and there will always be more for us to discover — even in Heaven.
If it is difficult for you to believe in another dimension, a spiritual world you can’t see with your eyes, keep in mind that even String Theory proposes at least eight alternate dimensions.
Once you come to the realization you were created, not a happenstance mistake, you can’t look back and you can’t live your life the same way. This changes things. How will it change your life?
“You don’t have to have to commit intellectual suicide to come to the conclusion that there is an intelligent designer because today science is pointing more directly and powerfully toward a creator today than another history in the world.” — Lee Strobel
I used to think that my natural skepticism held me back in my faith. Now I understand that if I don’t stop at only asking a question, but take the next step of actually seeking answers, my relationship flourishes with God. In fact, he invites my questions and provides answers in unexpected ways — a random book someone lends me, a sermon on the radio, a passage in the Bible, a nature program I watch with the kids.
As my questions have been answered over the years, I have changed the essence of my questions from “Do you exist and are you good?” to “Lend me your wisdom, Lord. I can’t wait to learn more about you and your creation.” I wrote this post to share what I’m learning and to encourage people to dive below the surface of everyday routines, chatter and entertainment to see something bigger.
If something has struck you here, if there is something you read echoing in your ears, follow through. Don’t let the birds peck away at the scattered seed on the ground, let those seeds sink in fertile soil and bloom! Oh, how it will change your life!
Let me offer some resources for you to continue with. Don’t let that spark that was just lit by God fizzle immediately. Fan it, feed it, grow it, because with it comes a new life. A better life, a fuller life.
I’m here for you. Write a comment. Send me an email. Don’t hesitate for one moment to do it. I might not be able to explain quantum physics to you, but love talking about God and His creation!
What part do you relate to more? The science? The Bible’s history? Prophesy? Depending on your preference, check out one of these resources (all free except the books) to go deeper:
- “The Case for a Creator,” 1-hour video by Lee Strobel
- “Information Enigma” 21-minute video
- “Signature in the Cell: Stephen Meyer Faces his Critics,” video
- “Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism”
- “Signature in the Cell”
- “From God to Us: How we Got Our Bible,” a book by Norman Geisler and William Nix
Have more questions?
Me too! I have so many questions. Here are some sites I go to regularly to type them in:
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29
Here is a PDF of the discussion guide if you would like further reflection or to do it as a group.