Growing up, I doubted Jesus. A lot. To be completely honest, I still do from time to time.
After Jesus had risen from the dead, Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, still doubted Him (John 20:24-39). If one of Jesus’ disciples is allowed to wrestle with the truth of Who Jesus is, I don’t see why we can’t either.
Towards the end of my senior year in high school, I began to critically investigate Who this “Jesus” was. Who is He? What does He want? Why did He come to earth? How do we know that He’s real? And is He really God? I mean come on…
After much critical research, I began to slowly believe in Jesus, His gospel, what He said, what He did, and what He stood for. Even though there are many others, here are seven reasons why I believe in Jesus:
- His resurrection from the dead. After Jesus died to pay the penalty for the sins of His people, He resurrected from the dead conquering sin, death, and the enemy Satan. We know that more than 500 people saw Jesus after He died (1 Cor 15:6). There are three explanations for these appearances: 1) they were lying, 2) they were hallucinating, or 3) they actually saw the risen Jesus. Number one doesn’t make sense simply due to the fact that many of these people including all of the disciples were outcasted or even murdered for making such claims. Why would they risk and even give there lives for a pointless cause? There is no motive. Number two to this day cannot be medically verified; no two people have been known to have the same hallucination at the same time. Therefore, it is reasonable for us to conclude that they saw the risen Jesus. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus, our faith would be in vain (1 Cor 15:19).
- His impact on human history. How could a working-class average joe from a tiny village in the first century become so famous that at this very point in human history, it’s estimated that 2.1 billion people worship Him? Even more so, other faiths and cults such as Islam and Mormonism believe in Jesus as well. The fact is that there is far too much overwhelming evidence for His existence. He has forever changed human history. You can’t ignore Him; You have to do something with Jesus.
- Who He is: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. C. S. Lewis correctly pointed out the trilema when it comes to approaching Jesus: Jesus could only be an incredible liar, an incredible lunatic, or an incredible Lord; there’s no other option. His teachings and claims to be God incarnate and the Savior of humanity give us no other options.
- The reliability of the New Testament manuscripts. This one sold me. There are vastly more early New Testament manuscripts (with limited insignificant errors) than any other piece of writing we have in human history. Check it out.
- The numerous Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. This one blew me away. The book of Isaiah was written at least 600 years before Jesus was born and is filled with countless prophecies of who Jesus is, what He would, how He would do them, etc. Just read Isaiah 53 and see how intricate the prophecies were. Here are ten major prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus.
- The utter meaninglessness and hopelessness of life apart from Him. Let’s face it: life sucks. Terrorism and wars, genocide and discrimination, sexual abuse and slavery, divorce and suicide. The list goes on. Without Jesus, what’s the point of living? Why go through this life of constant pain, struggle, and suffering if there is no reason or hope that things will get better? Jesus came to redeem, renew, restore, and recreate. Without Jesus, my life (and yours, too) would be meaningless.
- The cosmological argument. Explaining this philosophical argument would take an entirely different post. If you’d like to learn more about this, check out William Lane Craig’s defense of this argument on his blog.
If you are interested in researching the validity of Jesus, the bible, and the Christian faith, check out some of these resources:
1 – Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
2 – C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity
3 – James W. Sire’s Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?