I thought about the question I was asked for a moment and realized my friend’s interrogative request was more valid than I had previously considered. The little country church up the road had not flavored a portion of his childhood. His grandparents didn’t read Bible stories to him. He knew nothing of a father’s prayer of gratitude in Jesus’ name before meals.
To this young man, Jesus was just another religious figure that one group of people had decided was the best option for them to follow. In his eyes, there was no difference between Jesus, Buddha, or Muhammad. Was my knowledge of Scripture adequate to explain my faith?
More importantly, at this stage, did I have a sufficient answer to his question? After all, as believers in Jesus Christ, we have been commanded to always be ready to give a defense for the faith we have in Him.
Recently, our ‘questioning friend from down under‘ (Graeme) has encouraged us to focus our attention on the author and finisher of our faith. He has intentionally chosen to direct his words to reveal Jesus and who we are because of Him, and I am very grateful for this. To fall into some sort of pattern with his request, I would like to spend some time trying to answer my previous friend’s question.
For openers, what is meant by the question, “Why should I believe in your Jesus?” My friend is not so much an atheist as he is a pluralist. He’s under the impression that many pathways to God are available. He would argue, “We’re all getting there… we’re just taking different roads.”
To ensure we’re on the same page, what is meant by religious activity and “getting there” means “how does someone make ammends with God?” All religions are an attempt to link man with eternity, the Creator God. That the effort is so great to do so is an evidence on its own that men know they have a need that can only be met by finding that pathway to God.
So how does our faith in Jesus differ from all of the other religions available to choose from?
For a moment, let’s take a step into reality and admit that there have been many throughout all of history who have claimed that they came from God… some even declared they were Him. Some merely professed to have a message from God. Just as many of us have been influenced by generations of Christian ancestry, a larger majority of the world has been influenced by other religions and their leaders. What evidence do we have to insist these were mistaken, and yet Jesus’ claims were true?
Needing to start somewhere, let me pose a question of my own.
If the one true God were preparing to send someone, or come Himself, wouldn’t it be beneficial, even reasonable that He would announce His arrival beforehand? Even manufacturers give us the luxury of pre-announcing their products.
Maybe to ensure imposters couldn’t slip in and deceive His people, God would disclose where He would be born. He could even tell us where He would live, the things He would teach us, how He would accomplish His mission, and if He really wanted to make an impression, He could tell us how He was going to die… all before they occurred.
Did you know that God did that? But there is only one claimant who meets the criteria of this list. Many have come saying “I am the one,” but only One said, “Search the writings of My long-gone ancestors… they’ll tell you all about Me.”
The life, ministry, and death of Jesus were recorded before He was born… long before He was born. Some will argue that He simply mimicked an already written manuscript, but how does someone dictate where they will be born and how they will die?
It is true that we as disciples of Jesus walk by faith, but it should not be a blind faith. Isn’t there sufficient evidence for Jesus’ claims to be defended in a court of law with intelligence and confidence? Isn’t this why God gave us His Word?
Is not our faith one that stands distinguished from a mere religion?
I hope you’ll join me as I try to give answer to my friend’s question and learn of the tangible evidences that differentiate the faith of Christianity from all of the other religions in the world.
Lord willing, more to follow…
- Worship Wars: The Battle to Know Him (ptl2010.com)