Saturday, June 20, 2009

Did They Just Make It All Up?

There is such a preponderance of extra biblical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth that no rational non-Christian or anti-Christian denies his existence. Yet, they still continue to deny His existence. (Note the capitalization) This time, let's take a little time to explore the rationale behind the evidence for the deity of Jesus.

One of the most common claims is that Jesus was a great man, but that He was not God: Jesus was a really, really smart teacher (rabbi, rabboni), but not divine. Therefore, according to the doubters, there weren't any real miracles. They claim that like the legends of King Arthur, the legends of Jesus as Christ and miracle worker grew after His death.

In my eyes, the most compelling piece of proof lies in the reactions and behaviors of the Apostles and the other disciples. Did you know that all the surviving Apostles (remember that Judas hanged himself, and his rotten corpse fell down and burst) were killed for their faith, except for John? Were they killed in wars? Droughts or famines? Fires? Earthquakes? No, they were all martyred for their faith in the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

"Martyr" is an interesting word. It comes from a Greek word which originally meant "witness", but now means someone who was killed for their faith (Merriam-Webster). Why did this word transform? During the first several years after the execution of Jesus, the Apostles (except John) and many of the disciples were killed by the Jewish religious leaders. They were killed for refusing to recant their stories of the Resurrection. They were killed for claiming Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and God Himself made man. These things were heresy to the ancient Jews, and the punishment for heresy was death.

So, how does this prove that Jesus is divine? Well, would you die for a lie? While there have been several cases of people falsely confessing to infamous crimes just to get attention, and actually being executed, these are pretty rare. In the question of Jesus, dozens of people refused to recant. What could be so powerful and compelling, except being witnesses ("martyrs") to the miraculous events documented in the books and letters now known as the Bible?

One or two people might be fooled or duped, and die for a lie, but the history of the use of torture in military applications shows that the vast majority of captives will say whatever the tormentor wants to hear in order to escape pain or death. The Apostles and other disciples simply would not have all stood their ground had they not solid, irrefutable evidence that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of the everlasting God. And, manifestly, the Jewish religious leaders of the day would not have needed to execute so many people if their teachings were not credible. When so many hundreds and thousands of people heard the proof from the mouths of the disciples, they believed and turned away from the old, misguided ways.

Are you following old, misguided ways? It is never too late to turn away, and turn to Christ. If you don't believe my words, believe the transformation that took place in my own life.

No comments:

Post a Comment