Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christian faith. If you take out Jesus, the entire Christian faith will fall. However the attacks are never on Jesus’ existence, but rather on Jesus’ incredible claim – His divinity.
We know that Jesus really was born, died on a cross, and had an extensive network of followers. Even ancient Jewish and Roman texts admitted His existence (even if they did not accept His claim to divinity), the impact He was having on the time, and the claim of Jesus’ resurrection.
Now, if Jesus was the Son of God like He claimed to be, than several conclusions will follow.
There one God – the God of the Bible.
There is an afterlife – it’s perfectly good, or perfectly bad
There’s only one way enjoy the ‘perfectly good afterlife’
(and more, but they’re not needed here)
It’s the surrendering yourself part that is the greatest difficulty. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then you have to give up all control of your life. Most people don’t want to do that – so they find any ammo they can and attack the only thing they can.
Before we examine the claim, let’s look at the chain of events.
Some two thousand years ago a man was born as the son of a lowly carpenter. He makes one showing as a twelve year old, and then we know nothing of Him until He’s thirty years old when He’s baptized. From there He simply tells some men to ‘follow Me,’ performs a few miracles, and teaches in the Sinogogs and on the hillsides. In a matter of three years He amasses a huge following of people who think He will be the deliverer – not from their sins – but from the yoke of Roman tyranny.
He his then falsely condemned to death and hung on the cross. His closest followers abandon Him when He’s arrested, and a great many of His other followers shout for His death. He willingly takes the abuse and trial – He doesn’t even defend Himself but says that man has no control over Him. He was killed, and no one expected Him to rise from the dead – even though He said He would.
But suddenly, three days later, those same people who ran from His side in terror, were boldly claiming His resurrection. Over five hundred people claimed to see Him alive again – including several hundred people claiming to see Him at the same time. All but one of Jesus’ closest were brutally killed for their beliefs and thousands upon thousands of others in that time period who saw Him or knew those who saw Him.
So, let’s logically examine Jesus’ claim.
Now, considering the chain of events, Jesus had to be one of three things: a pathological liar, a lunatic, or the Lord of the Earth.
In order for Jesus to be a liar several conclusions follow. He would have to lie in the face of a long and painful death. He would have to lie about his entire existence and still preach so that He is considered, even until this day, one of the greatest ethical teachers in all history.
Think about that. Who would lie, and continue to lie in the face of the most painful death known to man? Who could lie about who he is, and be revered as such a great ethical teacher – even by those who hate your greatest claim? How could Jesus be a liar in every fiber of His being, and yet no one has found fault in Him?
So we can logically scratch ‘liar’ off the list.
Ok, so Jesus wasn’t a liar. Let’s look at the second option – a lunatic.
If Jesus wasn’t playing with a full deck, how could He have gathered such a large following? It is easy to tell when someone isn’t all there – so how could have thousands of people believed Him and been convinced to follow a madman? Even unto death?
That’s just not possible.
But hey, let’s consider a few more things.
Let’s look at Jesus’ followers.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t believe He would rise from the dead until after he had already risen. They claimed to see Jesus after He rose from the dead. So if they were lying, and they didn’t see a risen Jesus, then why would they continue to claim He had risen and was the Son of God even to death on their own cross?
That just doesn’t make sense either.
But what if Jesus didn’t truly die?
Ok, let’s consider a few things. Jesus was crucified at the hands of the Romans – execution experts. He was stabbed through the heart with a spear. He was clarified dead by Roman execution officers. He was then put into a tomb and the tomb was sealed shut with a huge stone and a squad of trained Roman soldiers guarded the tomb.
It is simply not possible that Jesus could have survived being crucified and a spear through the heart, death certification by execution experts, roll away a huge stone, fight off a squad of Roman soldiers who faced death with failure, and still convince His disciples that He had risen from the dead?
That takes more faith than believing His claim.
The only conclusion left is that Jesus really did rise from the dead an thus, He was who He said – the Son of God and Savior to the world.