|Visit any part of the world today. Talk to
people of any religion. No matter how committed they are to their
particular religion, if they know anything about history, they will
have to admit that there has never been a man like Jesus of
Nazareth. He is the most unique personality of all time.
Jesus changed the direction of history. Even the date on your
morning newspaper testifies to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived
on earth nearly 2,000 years ago. B.C. means "before Christ"; A.D.
Anno Domini, "the year of our Lord".
HIS COMING FORETOLD
Hundreds of years before Jesus' birth, Scripture records the
words of the prophets of Israel predicting His coming. The Old
Testament, written by many people over a period of 1,500 years,
contains more than 300 prophecies describing His coming. All of
these details came true, including his miraculous birth, His sinless
life, His many miracles, His death and His resurrection.
The life Jesus led, the miracles He did, the words He spoke, His
death on the cross, His resurrection, His ascent to heaven - all
point to the fact that He was not merely man, but more than man.
Jesus claimed, "I and the Father are One" (John 10:30),
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9),
and "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father except through Me." (John 14:6).
HIS LIFE AND MESSAGE CAUSE CHANGE
Look at the life and influence of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ,
throughout history and you will see that He and His message always
produce great changes in the lives of men and of nations. Wherever
His teachings and influence have gone, the holiness of marriage,
women's rights and voice in society have been acknowledged; schools
and universities of higher learning have been established; laws to
protect children have been made; slavery has been abolished; and a
multitude of other changes have been made for the good of mankind.
Individual lives are also dramatically changed. For example, Lew
Wallace, a famous general and literary genius, was a known atheist.
For two years, Mr. Wallace studied the leading libraries of Europe
and America, seeking information that would forever destroy
Christianity. While writing the second chapter of a book he planned
to write, he suddenly found himself on his knees crying out to
Jesus, "My Lord and my God."
Because of solid indisputable evidence, he could no longer deny that
Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Later, Lew Wallace wrote the book
Ben Hur, one of the greatest English novels ever written concerning
the time of Christ.
Similarly, the late C.S. Lewis, professor at Oxford University in
England, was an agnostic who denied the deity of Christ for years.
But he, too, in intellectual honesty, submitted to Jesus as his God
and Savior after studying the overwhelming evidence for His deity.
LORD, LIAR, OR LUNATIC?
In his famous book Mere Christianity, Lewis makes this statement,
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said
would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -
on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would
be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was,
and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can
shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord
and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His
being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."
Who is Jesus of Nazareth to you? Your life on this earth and for all
of eternity is affected by your answer to this question.
All other religions were founded by human beings and are based on
man-made philosophies, rules and norms for behavior. Take the
founders of these religions out of both their disciplines and
practices of worship and little would change. But take Jesus Christ
out of Christianity, and there would be nothing left. Biblical
Christianity is not just a philosophy of life, nor an ethical
standard or obedience to religious ritual. True Christianity is
based on a vital, personal relationship with a risen, living Savior
A RISEN FOUNDER
Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on a cross, buried in a borrowed
grave, and three days later was raised from the dead; Christianity
is unique in this regard. Any argument for the validity of
Christianity depends on the proof of the resurrection of Jesus of
Throughout the centuries, most great scholars who have considered
the proofs of the resurrection have believed, and still believe,
that Jesus is alive. After examining the evidence for the
resurrection given by the Gospel writers, the late Simon Greenleaf,
an authority on legal issues at Harvard Law School, concluded; "It
was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming
the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the
dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any
John Singleton Copley, recognized as one of the greatest legal
minds in British history, commented: "I know pretty well what
evidence is; and I tell you, such evidence as that for the
resurrection has never broken down yet."
REASONS FOR BELIEF
The resurrection is central to the faith of a Christian. There
are several reasons why those who study the resurrection believe it
First, Jesus Himself foretold His death and resurrection and His
death and resurrection came about exactly as He had predicted (
THE EMPTY GRAVE: Second, the resurrection is the
only plausible explanation for His empty grave. A careful reading of
the biblical story shows that the grave where they laid the body of
Jesus was closely guarded by Roman soldiers and sealed with an
enormous boulder. If, as some have claimed, Jesus was not dead, but
only weakened, the guards and the stone would have stopped his
escape - or any rescue attempt by His followers. Jesus' enemies
would never have taken the body since His body missing from the
grave would only serve to encourage belief in His resurrection.
PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS: Third, the resurrection is the
only explanation for the appearances of Jesus Christ to His
disciples. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared at least ten times
to those who had known Him and to as many as 500 people at one time.
The Lord proved that these appearances were not hallucinations: He
ate and talked with them and they touched Him. (
1 John 1:1)
BIRTH OF THE CHURCH: Fourth, the resurrection is
the only reasonable explanation for the beginning of the Christian
church. The Christian church is by far the largest institution that
exists or has ever existed in the history of the world. More than
half of the first sermon ever preached had to do with the
2:14-36). Obviously, the early church knew that this was the
basis of its message. The enemies of Jesus and His followers could
have stopped them at any time by simply producing Jesus' body.
TRANSFORMED LIVES: Fifth, the resurrection is the
only logical explanation for the transformed lives of the disciples.
They deserted Him before His resurrection; after His death they were
discouraged and fearful. They did not expect Jesus to rise from the
Yet after His resurrection and their experience at Pentecost, these
same discouraged, disappointed men and women were transformed by the
mighty power of the risen Christ. In His name, they turned the world
upside down. Many lost their lives for their faith; others were
terribly persecuted. Their courageous behavior does not make sense
apart from their conviction that Jesus Christ was truly raised from
the dead - a fact worth dying for.
In 40 years of working with the intellectuals of the university
world, I have yet to meet a person who has honestly considered the
overwhelming evidence proving the Deity and resurrection of Jesus of
Nazareth who does not admit that He is the Son of God, the promised
Messiah. While some do not believe, they are honest in confessing,
"I have not taken the time to read the Bible or to consider the
historical facts about Jesus."
LIVING LORD: Because of Jesus' resurrection, His true
followers do not merely observe the ethical code of a dead founder,
but rather have a vital, personal relationship with the living Lord.
Jesus Christ lives today and faithfully blesses and enriches the
lives of all those who trust and obey Him. Throughout the centuries,
multitudes have acknowledged the worthiness of Jesus Christ,
including many who have greatly influenced the world.
French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal spoke of man's need
for Jesus when he said, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart
of every man, which only God can fill through His Son Jesus Christ."
Would you like to know Jesus Christ
personally as your living Savior? As bold as it may sound, you can!
Jesus is so eager to establish a personal, loving relationship with
you that He has already made all the necessary arrangements.
To know how you can begin this relationship with the living Christ,