What do you do when you begin to have doubts about your faith? In the aftermath of a tragedy, when reading some difficult passage in Scripture, when it feels like our prayers are going no farther than the ceiling….these kinds of experiences can awaken in our hearts significant doubts about the existence of God or the goodness of God.
When I find myself wrestling with doubt (yes, even pastors have doubts!), what I have found helpful is to reflect again on a few key, foundational evidences that remind me why I believe.
In my previous two posts, I shared two of those evidences:
- The wonder of creation
- The plausibility of God’s Story of humanity
In this post, I want to share a third foundational piece of evidence: the Person of Jesus. There has been no other human being that has so significantly impacted the world like Jesus has. What makes this especially remarkable is that He didn’t travel widely. He didn’t use social media or military power or government to influence. He actually spent only 3 years in any real “public” ministry, focusing most of His attention on a band of 12 quite ordinary men. And yet His influence today is remarkable—billions of followers making up a worldwide movement—a movement that promotes love and sacrifice and doing good.
But it is not just the extent of His influence that is so significant in my mind. It is the nature of it. When one reads the eye witness accounts of Jesus’ life, it is hard to not be impressed with His incredible miracles, His brilliant responses to His adversaries, His resolute courage, His sacrificial love.
Some may argue that the disciples made this stuff up, but I find that hard to believe. Who could make up a story like this? Most of the time, when people are trying hard to write exalted biographies of their heroes, it is fairly obvious. The gospel accounts don’t have any of that feel to them. I mean, often the disciples look like idiots. What disciple is going to make that up, and then get buy in from the others before it goes to print? The eye witness accounts of Jesus’ life as provided in the New Testament offer a plausible, believable, and accurate picture of Jesus.
I realize there are many supposed “new gospels” that are being discovered (a la Dan Brown, etc) but even a cursory look at these reveals numerous questions about their legitimacy. Unlike the New Testament accounts, all of these “new” gospels were written centuries after Jesus was on earth. The gospel accounts contained in the New Testament were readily accepted as legitimate by the early Christians.
Even with all of this evidence, there is one crowning demonstration of Jesus’ Deity and power—the resurrection. His tomb is empty. The arguments used to say that the resurrection didn’t happen are in my opinion highly improbable. Had the disciples stolen the body, why would they later all be willing to die for a lie?
And what about Jesus’ appearances to hundreds of people, as described in I Corinthians 15:3-8? These words were written by Paul when many of those witnesses would still be alive and able to confirm or deny the assertion. What is clear is that the resurrection launched a movement of Jesus’ followers that continues today. What else could explain how this rag tag group of frightened disciples (before the resurrection) within days became a transformational movement that impacted the world?
The resurrection, if true, means that Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be. I’m willing to put my faith in this Jesus, even when I may not understand what God is doing at various times or why He seems distant or silent in the midst of certain tragedies. Jesus truly is amazing.