When I talk to people who aren’t Christians, about God, the vast majority haven’t actually taken the time to read through the Bible. Most of what they know about the Bible and Jesus in particular is second and third hand information. And there is a lot of garbage information out there about the Bible and about Jesus.
When I became a Christian in my early twenties, I was just the same. And quite frankly, when you first start seriously looking, it can be a bit overwhelming. My introduction to Christianity came through a small group of about 15 young people in their early twenties who met at the Chapel on the military base I was on. Our leaders were a young serviceman who later became an Anglican priest and an older, very patient, Senior Non Commissioned Officer. I can remember saying to myself, even if this isn’t true, it really wouldn’t be a bad way to live. Quite seriously, as I look back on that period of my life, I didn’t have a clue.
There are of course, the seemingly endless questions that need to be answered and actually taking the time to read what the Bible does say. Most new Christians start with the New Testament and then later on look at the Old Testament. You can’t really appreciate the New Testament unless you are aware of what the Old Testament says but that is another posting.
I remember focusing on what Jesus actually said and tried to envision myself as one of His 12 disciples. They were common people and I was definitely common. So I looked at what they saw, listened to what Jesus said to them and tried to put myself in their shoes ….. and my journey began.
Long story, short, the Jews who Jesus chose as his disciples were looking for a coming Messiah that the Old Testament spoke about. Four hundred years had gone by since God had given them a Prophet and they were living under Roman occupation. But they were in for a bit of a surprise because even though the Old Testament clearly foretold (Prophecies) about what Jesus would do and accomplish, they were expecting a conquering Messiah that would free them from the Roman occupation.
When Jesus began His ministry, it only lasted about three years. So His disciples were with Him, watching, asking questions and learning. In the military we call that On The Job training and that is exactly what the disciples experienced. But you have to remember that Jesus said He was the Son of God, we are talking divine, one with the Father. If I was one of the disciples I would need to see some pretty strong evidence to convince me that Jesus was who He said He was. So what did the disciples experience?
- witnessed Jesus change water into wine
- witnessed Jesus do multiple healings
- witnessed Jesus direct large catch of fish (twice)
- witnessed Jesus do multiple raising the dead
- witnessed Jesus feeding 5000 men and their families
- witnessed Jesus walking on water
- witnessed Jesus calming a storm
- witnessed Jesus feeding 4000 men and their families
- witnessed Jesus directing to catching a fish with coin in it’s mouth (for taxes)
- witnessed Jesus fig tree cursed – no fruit
- witnessed Jesus empower them to perform healings and other miracles during His ministry
- witnessed transfiguration (Moses- Elijah-Jesus)
- witnessed the resurrection of Jesus
- witnessed ascension of Jesus
Please note that I haven’t even touched upon what Jesus said to His disciples.
John 6:67-69 reads ” So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
How often have I repeated those words.
And the rest is history. The disciples knew what they saw, they heard the words that Jesus spoke to them explaining about the Messiah, His sacrifice and the Kingdom of God and they experienced His love.
And what did the disciples do (excluding Judas)? They turned the world upside down. And with the exception of the Apostle John, it cost them their lives.
And bare in mind that I am just scratching the surface. There is so much more!
God is real, He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.
The Bible is trustworthy and it contains God’s message to mankind. Jesus is the Son of God and He declared and displayed the love and will of the Father. Jesus did die on the cross to open the gateway back to God for us and Jesus did rise from the dead to authenticate who He said He was. The Apostles saw it, they believed it, so much so that they gave their lives to get this Good News out to all mankind. It really is as simple as that.
Don’t take my word for it, check it out. Really consider it, seriously.