Jesus claims that he is God. How are we supposed to believe such a claim? What kind of evidence do we have?
In our last video, we left with the reality when Jesus says He is God himself, that we are only left with three options, that he is completely Crazy, That he is an evil liar, or that he is telling the truth and that he is, in fact, actually God. Why do Christians believe the Jesus was God? Doesn’t it make more sense that he is crazy or lying?
If I were to look at Jesus’ words alone, I must admit I find them very hard to believe. Before I became Christian myself, I thought Christians fools for believing it too! So I am not surprised when people have trouble with Christianity, because this is simply a very, very hard belief to swallow. I’m more of an empirical kind of guy, I believe what makes sense. This claim of Christianity is honestly the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my life, and even now though I believe it to be true, I still think is is the maddest thing I have ever heard.
Then why do we believe it?
Now, if we had Jesus’ word alone, I don’t think we could. I know I couldn’t. I know many have faith much stronger than I do, but I cannot personally believe anything I don’t have evidence for, and words are simply not evidence. I can say I’m a chicken, but that doesn’t make it so. I can say the world is flat, but that doesn’t make it flat. Statements are either true or false, and everything about Jesus’ statement doesn’t seem to correspond with reality. Honestly, I wasn’t really even sure about the whole God thing at all yet, so to some degree, Jesus’ statement was almost like saying he was the king of the fairy people. I personally had no real reason to believe him based on his words alone, any more than I would believe anyone else words.
But Jesus does one thing that no man has ever done before. After being tortured to death, a grueling, excessively painful death, hung on a cross and stabbed through the heart, Jesus comes back to life.
Not a crawl out of the grave barely alive life, but like some kind of superhuman, teleport anywhere, still wounded and not bleeding kind of life. What the apostles describe sounds more like a movie than reality, but after seeing it, they believe it. They were just like me, they all ran away confused and terrified, but after seeing this, it changed everything.
Let me kill this before it starts. These guys weren’t stupid, they were solid regular folks, working men. I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing many working men in my life, and let me tell you, it is so much easier to fool an academic than a working man. They are salty, they work with their hands, they suspect everyone and everything. They just aren’t fooled easily. These guys would have noticed if he lived through the torture of crucifixion. It would taken much more than a few days for Jesus to heal if he had somehow miraculously lived through the experience, it would have taken many years. The Romans were truly awful and cruel about this sort of thing, Jesus was really dead, and there was no coming back.
When they saw Jesus risen from the dead, they took a lot of convincing. They didn’t believe it was him. They believed it was a ghost. They didn’t believe each other until they saw it with their own eyes. They were hard to convince. But they were convinced.
They knew him very, very well, and what they saw gave them such a shock that they built their entire lives around that moment. They all suffered death or exile for what they saw, but they refused to say they didn’t see it. And not just them, but hundreds of other witnesses saw this man resurrected, walking around and eating food, and disappearing before their eyes.
These men all underwent some of the worst tortures devised for man, being skinned alive, having limbs ripped off, beheading, all the nasty stuff. And they all did it alone, with no one cheering them on. All they would have had to do to end it was say it was a lie, but every one of them down to the last man refused. They saw what they saw, and they would rather die then say otherwise.
I don’t believe because of Jesus, I believe because the apostles believed. They saw it all, and they staked their lives on what they saw, gave up house and home because of what they saw, left their homelands, left everything, and died because of what they saw. And not one of them, no matter how pressed, no matter how alone, no matter what they could gain, even 30+ years after the fact, was ever willing to say anything else. They believed, and so I believe. I don’t believe Jesus’ words, I believe the witnesses.
The apostle Paul says it best, and I’m paraphrasing, “If the resurrection did not happen, then we are all fools. But it did.”
Now if Jesus truly raised himself from the dead, then suddenly, I have to take his claim to be God a whole lot more seriously. Crazy people and liars can’t do that. If he is really the one uncreated God, we have to look at him much, much more closely.