In our world, it is easy to write off Jesus as just another ancient story of a good guy. Without proof of His historical existence, He’s as potent as an Aesop fable. There are lessons to glean from Him. but what hope does that give us of victory over death?
Did Jesus exist?
There are some scholars today, despite the biblical and nonbiblical evidence, that still hold to the belief that Jesus did not exist. The burden of proof does not rest on the skeptic, but on the believer. It is our job to “ be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are” (1 Peter 3:15 MSG).”
Why it’s important that Jesus is more than a fable
Jesus is the embodiment of God who willingly entered into our suffering with us. His existence is a reminder that we, all of humanity, matter to God. Jesus entered into our suffering and walked with us, teaching us while He was here how to love and care for one another. Then in a moment of victory, He triumphed over death, descending even into hell, and reconciling us to our Creator, God.
If the story of Jesus physically walking this earth is not true, then God has yet to walk among us, the Messiah has yet to return, our sins are not forgiven and we should be waiting still. Our faith is in vain if Jesus did not exist. The lessons He gave us on loving one another and loving God with our whole heart and soul were merely stories made up and passed down as moral lessons.
But if Jesus did exist, then God truly did walk among us and physically show us what it means to live in unity with and love one another! Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:14 (MSG), “And face it — if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors.” To find truth in the resurrection, we first have to understand the physical existence of Jesus at a specific moment in history. Without that, faith is empty and our service is in vain.
“While we are often willing to spend time reading the Bible, praying, or participating in church programs and services, few of us recognize the importance of becoming good [Christian] case makers.” ― J. Warner Wallace, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
Be ready to give an answer for your faith. The burden of proof lies with those who believe, not with those who are skeptical. Know why you believe what you do, the evidence for it and how it affects your life as well as those around you.
Explore your own doubts and the doubts of others. Read the stories of those who have grappled with hard questions of Jesus’ resurrection. Once you have done the work you will be able to give testimony as Lee Strobel did in The Case for Christ (pg. 89): “Put all this together — Josephus, the Roman historians and officials, the Jewish writings, the letters of Paul and the apostolic fathers — and you’ve got persuasive evidence that corroborates all the essentials found in the biographies of Jesus.”
Start with the question, Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Because, as Strobel writes, "If my conclusion in the case for Christ is correct, your future and your eternity hinge on how you respond to Christ."
Join us on Sundays to dig deeper into the historical Jesus and the impact He has on our lives today.