I want to believe, but is Jesus really the only way?

I want to believe, but is Jesus really the only way?

Years ago, broadcaster Larry King was asked who he would want to interview from all of human history. He answered, without hesitation, "Jesus Christ." "What one question would you ask him?" was the follow-up inquiry. "I would ask him if he really was born of a virgin," King said again, "because the answer to that question changes everything."

He is correct; if Jesus is God, the maker and creator of the universe, everything changes.

Everything changes the instant a person believes it with all of their heart.

Their lives, habits, and relationships. If Jesus is God, we must fundamentally realign our lives around that claim, and I believe there is only one major method to answer that issue, and that is through his resurrection. The King spoke of virgin birth; I speak of resurrection from the dead. ☠️

Objection #1: Jesus did not truly die?

This objection is the official viewpoint of Islam, yet it is not dissimilar to atheists' opposition to Jesus' killing. This approach does not attempt to reject Jesus since historical accounts of persons claiming to have seen him after his death are so difficult to debunk. Yes, they most certainly saw Jesus since he did not die on the cross. Perhaps he passed out, was assumed dead, and was tucked away, only to awaken, recover, and walk away alive as before.

Most scientists and historians, however, dismiss this argument swiftly because of one significant historical fact: the Roman Empire understood how to slaughter people. In a single day, they could crucify up to 6,000 people. They didn't place people on crosses just so they could walk away at the end. They made certain that the individuals were dead.

So the notion that they "messed up" with Jesus does not hold up under investigation.

Objection #2: the body was taken.

So, if we believe that Jesus died, others may argue that his followers were involved in an elaborate fraud in which they removed Jesus' body from the tomb to claim his resurrection. The irony is that this is precisely what the lady who saw the empty tomb believed had occurred: "They've taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they've put him." If you're having trouble believing Jesus rose from the grave, you're in good company with his closest followers.

To begin, historians (even skeptical scholars) argue that the resurrection accounts are trustworthy when examined by critical historical approaches since they include an unattractive amount of information depicting the disciples as terrified, skeptical, and doubtful. There was no president in the ancient world; this is simply how history unfolded.

Second, and closely related to that, is the importance of women in the plot. Women were not allowed to testify in court in this ancient civilization because their evidence was deemed untrustworthy. So, if you're attempting to persuade ancient people that your leader was risen from the dead, including women as critical eyewitnesses seems counterproductive. Nonetheless, all four gospels tell us that the woman was the first to witness: history is what it is, folks.

Third, it is unclear why the disciples would concoct such an intricate fraud and then be ready to die for it. Many individuals die for lies they believe to be true; no one dies for a lie they know to be false. And this isn't just one powerful guy, but a large group of individuals who didn't say anything to undermine Jesus' resurrection. Even Jesus' own brother, James, could have averted the torture if he had recanted and died believing his brother was the resurrected Savior of the world.

Objection #3: They went to the incorrect grave

I enjoy this pushback because I personally have been to Israel and have been taken to a space that Jesus could have been buried in, or at least something similar. It’s nothing special. It's a shallow cave, a rock ledge where the body would lay, and that’s it. In a culture of small-time family connections, they knew where people were buried. It’s not like trying to find a specific restaurant in time square as a first-time tourist. No, it’s like walking into your neighbor's house, forgetting which one is yours on the street.

Baby Payton, by a fallen pillar, wearing a Rascal Flatts t-shirt. 

Plus, this is an argument that I have only recently thought about. If the people in power had caught wind of this missing Jesus' thinking, they could have simply gone to the tomb, rolled back the rock, and shown where his body was laid. But they don’t do that because there is nobody to be found. People today are still digging in the dirt looking for Jesus' body because if found, the whole thing comes crashing down. Christianity is all in on this resurrection thing. But they won’t find anything today, just like they didn’t find anything then, because his body is gone.

Objection #4: The disciples stole the concept of resurrection.

This point can effectively be addressed by the reasons we've previously provided for the other objections, but we'll consider it as its own. Despite common belief, no one in the neighboring civilizations believed in modern-day human resurrection. Indeed, the most prevalent belief in the world at the time came from the Greeks (Plato and Homer), who thought as dualists that the objective was to abandon the material world and enter the spiritual realm. Returning to the material world in a physical body was a kind of horror for them.

So the notion that Jesus will return shattered people's categories and did not fit their worldview at all.

Closing Thoughts

Millions of people across the globe believe Jesus was a wonderful moral teacher but do not acknowledge him as the resurrected Savior of the world. If you accept that view, there are only two realistic choices for Jesus: he was either a raving lunatic or a pathological liar. On this matter, there is no room for compromise.

C.S. Lewis was the first to make this argument:

That is the one thing we must refrain from saying. A man who was just a man and spoke things as Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He'd be either a madman — on par with the man who claims to be a poached egg — or the Devil of Hell. You must make a decision.

People who think Jesus was merely a good teacher have not read Jesus' teachings, nor do they choose to follow Jesus because it is convenient or a crutch for them.

My life would be a lot "easier" if I weren't a Christian.

At the end of the day, I am a Christian because the tomb was empty. The moment they find his body, I’m out. But until then, there is no other viable explanation. My entire faith rests on Jesus, and from this point right here, we could work backward and alleviate all the “problems” we have dealt with in this series.

There is an answer to the problem: Jesus.

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