Why is it that during the holyday/holiday season such as the Resurrection Sunday (Easter) that we just experienced and other holydays such as Christmas, I get these “reminders” that Jesus is not really God but just a historical figure or that perhaps he did not even exist?
Many unbelievers have publicly expressed their unbeliefs in newspapers, magazines and TV documentaries or on radio during the spring and winter seasons. Yet, if Jesus Christ is not who he said he is, the son of God, the giver of life, and the forgiver of sins, then who was he?
In this article I want to convey to you why I believe Jesus is for real – God – and is the person and being he claims (note present tense) to be. To many of you Christians reading this, this will be very basic to say the least, but it still surprises me how differently even Christians view this person, Jesus Christ.
It is generally accepted by scholars that there was a Jesus and that he was born a Jew. Yet, I have noticed those who deny that Jesus exists are usually the first to argue that any ancient source you would find that points to Jesus Christ is not reliable and is suspect. But these same scholars would not apply this same criteria if they were using the same exact historical data sources to verify something non-Christian. In other words, many scholars believe ancient sources are reliable only if it does not mention Jesus. A double standard.
Nevertheless, no matter what scholars say, I believe Jesus is Son of God and Son of man because of the following scenarios:
1) Something happened to the disciples.
The disciples, immediately after the crucifixion, were fearful of the Jews. In Acts 2:1-4, about 50 days later 120 of them were all outdoors proclaiming Jesus Christ publicly – without fear! Included in this group were Mary, the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brothers and sisters, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the other 10 disciples. Moments before, they had been hiding from the religious leaders who were responsible for sending Jesus to trial which had Him condemned and crucified. Then something happened to these once-ordinary people! They began to speak boldly about Jesus to magistrates, to those hostile about God, to their neighbors, and to Jews visiting from around the world. They continued speaking afterwards, many even unto death.
The disciple Peter had rejected Christ three times before the crucifixion.
Yet, after the crucifixion, he was boldly announcing Jesus as the Messiah. How did that happen? Something caused that change of heart. Peter even gave up his life proclaiming him.
2) Something happened to Saul of Tarsus.
Saul, a Pharisee and a Roman citizen, was against the new Christian sect which just started and originally called, The Way (Acts 9:2; 24:14). But, something happened to Saul. He also began proclaiming Jesus Christ – not only locally in Judea but eventually throughout many cities in the Roman Empire – including the city of Rome itself! He also gave up his life doing this.
3) Martyrdom for Christ
Many Christians afterwards were willing to suffer martyrdom for this Messiah. If what they heard and believed about Jesus Christ was all a lie, why put up with it? Why endure torture, persecution and suffering?
4) Something happened to the Roman Empire.
It was this government that carried out the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Several of its Caesars were among the most pagan, immoral, perverse leaders of the known civilized world at that time. Yet, the empire changed over time allowing Christianity to flourish! How could this be? Why did many of its citizens leave their pagan gods soon after Pentecost and years before the Christian Church became the state religion of Rome?
Why? How? Because of God. There is something about the Judean and Christian faiths that is different than all of the pagan religions that exists. Most followers of pagan religions prior to Christ did not behave as these Christians did. This greatly indicates to me that Jesus Christ is not a false, pagan god. He is for real. He is alive today.
Christianity and paganism
If Jesus Christ “was” only human, not deity, then Christianity is a pagan religion.
Let me repeat: If Jesus Christ “was” only a human being and not God then Christianity is a pagan religion. Why? The Bible defines paganism when it states that you shall have no other gods before you (Ex. 20:1-3). We are to worship God and God alone. Christianity is not pagan. We have here people, Christians, who have been worshiping Christ, the Messiah all through the centuries.
If I Were Satan
There is another reason why I believe Jesus is not a pagan god. There is a very real, evil being, Satan, who has deceived mankind ever since he deceived Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Since I would know the Bible prophecies about Christ, if I were Satan, I would, starting from the beginning of time, do all I can to influence people to create religions with gods that closely imitate what God plans to do to redeem mankind. The pagan gods I would have humans create would be similar to Jesus that lead people away from the true God.
As Satan, I indeed would be Lucifer, a “light-bringer”. I would know that sooner or later human beings would compare many, if not all, of these pagan gods to Jesus Christ and, once “enlightened”, would cause them to conclude there is no God. Since people would reject me, Satan, as not even existing, no one would consider it a possibility.
I know I have made several generalizations here so I will focus in on these points in detail in future blogs.