Believing in Jesus in an age of scepticism

December 24th, 2014 in Belief. Tags: , , , , ,

First Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve.

At a time when there’s so much scepticism about Jesus, as I discussed in my last post, is it reasonable to still believe?

The historians can only take you so far

The historians can tell us that we can be confident that Jesus really lived, he really taught about the kingdom of God, he was believed to have performed miraculous cures, he was executed and his followers believed he had been resurrected.

But is that enough to put our faith in Jesus? What about all the things that historians are unable to be certain about?

The historians leave us with a choice

Most historians would agree that the people at the time would have seen Jesus as something like a Messianic prophet. His followers came to believe he was also the unique son of God.

So was he a prophet and teacher whose faith in God was mistaken, so he was crushed by the unsympathetic power of Rome? Or was he the son of God whose death was a victory rather than a defeat? These seem to be the two main possibilities the historians leave us with.

But how can we be sure? is there enough evidence to know?

Either he represented God …. or he didn’t

Christians often use two ideas to justify belief in Jesus as more than just a prophet and teacher.

1. Could he, and his followers, have been mistaken?

If it was all a mistake, then his teaching was often wrong, he probably didn’t do any miracles, and he definitely wasn’t resurrected. You’d imagine he would have been forgotten after a few years.

But he wasn’t forgotten. And people not only believed in him, they kept on believing and making new converts – sometimes miraculously like Saul/Paul. They kept on reporting healing miracles in his name, right up to the present day.

His teaching, while not always totally original, has formed the basis of ethics and law across large sections of the world for two millennia.

So it is hard to believe he got it all wrong.

2. It seems like God planned it all

Christians often use Old Testament prophecy to “prove” Jesus in ways that are sometimes problematic. But if a prophecy suggests strongly that God planned it all way back, that would be good evidence. And there is such a prophecy, by Isaiah (9:2, 6-7).

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.

Isaiah wrote that prophecy about 7 centuries before Jesus. The prophecy of a son whose rule as king would bring peace and prosperity would not have been exceptional at the time, but what are we to make of a son who would be called “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”, terms that Jews would generally regard as blasphemous.

I for one feel this is good evidence that God really did send Jesus.

Going beyond the historians

And if God really did send Jesus, then we can trust the gospel writers for far more than the historians can be sure of. Faith in Jesus can rest on the conclusions of the historians and the reasonable belief that God oversaw the whole event, including how it was recorded.

I don’t think that means there are no difficulties and no mistakes, but I do think it means that God has given us enough to believe if we are willing. If you cannot believe that, please don’t be offended. We can agree to differ, and I can continue to hope that you will “see” it someday.

Blessings and best wishes

I wish all readers a happy Christmas 2014 and beginning to 2015.

Photo Credit: astanse♥(Angela Stansell) via Compfight cc

One Comment

  1. Good morning to y’all, and I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

    I would like to bring out some points about the proof of Jesus or Yeshua in Hebrew, which means Savior.

    1. The proof that Jesus was and that He came exactly as God said is called “prophecy.” There are over 360 prophecies that God gave us about the coming of our Messiah, which in Hebrew is משיח, which means “anointed” one of God. In Isaiah 7:14, God tells us that He will come to us as the result of a virgin birth, and that his name will be called עמנואל, or Emmanuel in English, which means God is with us. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that He will be called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” If everyone on earth believed in Jesus and followed his commandments, there would be no war, no hatred, no theft, no poor, no oppressed; there would only be peace and forgiveness for all. Daniel 9:24-27 tells us that the Messiah will come in 490 years (2014 years ago). He will do away with all sin. There will be no sacrifice anymore, since He will be the one to forgive all sin! He will be killed and the Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed. Isaiah 53 tells us that “by his stripes, we are healed,” and that he will come to forgive his people, all people, of their sin.

    2. Jesus came exactly as God said He would, didn’t He! Not only that, but yes, he did heal the leprous, the blind, the lame, the deaf, the mute, and more. He forgave sin. He served as a living example of how we should live and what we should do to help those in need. He said that He would come back to life in three days, AND HE DID! Try that sometime! He was on earth an additional 40 days, and then they saw Him, over 500 people, ascend into the clouds of the sky or the heavens, and He said that He would return as He left, from the clouds. So? Is that it? No, not by a long shot!

    3. Here’s the part that I live for, and I would die for: Jesus promised us that He went ahead of us to prepare a room in his Father’s house for us. He told us that when we die, we will be with him in Paradise, just as He told the thief on the cross. So? Is that all? No, not by a long shot.

    4. I equally love this part: Jesus told us in John 14:12 that we will do greater works than He did! Can you imagine that? Well, we don’t have to imagine that, we can actually live it! I live to love and help those in need. Through the power of the Holy Spirit in me, and by that alone, and not anything that I can do as a mere man, I have seen people healed of tumors and brain cancer, as the result of doing what Jesus told us to do in the Bible. He told us to get people together, anoint them with oil, lay hands on them, and pray for healing for them. Well, it worked then, for Jesus, and Jesus told us that it still works today, and it does. My neighbor had a tumor in his stomach area, and they were going to operated on him. They did an MRI just before he was supposed to go into surgery, and they found that the tumor was gone. A few days before, we went to the hospital room, laid hands on him, and prayed for complete healing. Yes, God still heals and works miracles, and He uses us to do it! Isn’t that amazing. A year ago, one of the men that I met downtown at our free lunch ministry, came to the Lord and shortly after found out that he had a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball on his brain. He was having severe headaches, and that was why. We laid hands on him, anointed him with oil, and prayed to our Father in Heaven. We thank God for healing this man ahead of time, because when you pray BELIEVING, that gives God the power to go into action. Believing in God is the catalyst that unlocks his power. If you ever pray, but you don’t really believe that God can do it, called miracles, don’t expect anything to happen. But when you do pray believing, thank God for answering your prayer and working miracles, and get ready to be amazed.

    Do want more proof? Good; I did and I got it! Now it’s your turn. If you want to be blown away by the love and the power of God to heal and forgive you of all your sins, then just say, “Father in Heaven, I put my faith and trust in You. Please forgive me of all my sins. Help me to be like my Lord and Savior, Jesus, your one and only Son. I believe in You and that You came to love me and forgive me and the world around me.” Then go out and get baptized, which is when we receive the Holy Spirit of God to do these miraculous things!

    You don’t have to believe in Jesus, but He said that those who do not believe in Him are condemned (to Hell) already. Jesus shed his blood on the cross, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, yes, and even your sins, so you might live eternally in Heaven with Him. He gave his life and his blood to wash away all your sins. That’s just the beginning. If you want to see what else you should do, just check out my website “afreetickettoheaven.com” and see for yourself, or simply read the Bible.

    Be blessed and yes, have a Blessed and wholly Holy Christmas Day. No matter what you have ever done, Jesus will forgive you! It seems so simple, doesn’t it. Well, it’s supposed to be simple. What’s hard is living your life without Jesus, and living for the rest of eternity without Him in Hell. Now that’s not very easy or pleasant. But, as I said already, “It’s up to you now; it’s your choice.” God will never force you to believe; He can’t and won’t do that. He gave us free will. Shalom and peace to all of you. Be blessed. God is waiting for YOU.

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