Despite major delays due to health and family issues, here is the conclusion to our series on building a Christian worldview.
We started at whether truth was knowable. If so, how? Is there a God? How can we know, or rather, what does the evidence show? We looked at the laws of thermodynamics, evidence from cosmology, teleology, and scientific and historical methodologies for discovering truth. Upon determining that there is good evidence for a powerful first cause for the universe, we began to narrow it down to determine if the God of the Bible fits the description that the evidence reveals. Finally, we arrived at Jesus of Nazareth. He is the central figure of the Bible. Ultimately, His identity determines whether the Bible is an amazing book of history and other stories from our ancient past or the primary means through which the God of the universe reveals specific details about Himself, His character, His plan, and His design for how we, His creation can live life as it was intended.
The previous four entries dealt with the only options we have regarding the identity of Jesus.
1. Jesus intentionally deceived humanity by conscious fraud.
2. Jesus was, himself, deluded or deceived.
3. Jesus was Divine.
or, 4. That the biblical narratives that we read about were just made up by the writers.
All of these possibilities are addressed in abundant detail in the previous entries. We've arrived at the evidence pointing to Jesus as being the Divine Son of God as foretold by the Jewish Prophets. (Please refer back to those entries of you'd like to weigh the evidence I've presented--if you have things to add, or would like to challenge the data or my conclusions, please do so--respectfully of course.) Still, after presenting a multifaceted evidential look back at the historical Jesus, I felt there were three more miracles that I should share to give further insight into the character and identity of this man Jesus.
The story of Jesus walking on the Sea (Lake) of Galilee is shared by Matthew, Mark, and John in their accounts in the New Testament. Looking at Matthew's account we get some additional details about this miraculous occurrence that give us further insight into Jesus.
1. Jesus had just performed a miraculous sign by feeding 5000 people and He and the disciples were now traveling across the lake to go minister to some other people.
2. Jesus tells his disciples to go ahead without Him. Jesus needed some "alone" time to pray. This taps in to the intensity of the relationship Christ had with His Father, as He followed up on an outrageously amazing miracle with going off to be alone with God.
So, Jesus was left by himself while His disciples sailed across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus needed time with God, and Jesus needed a means to meet back up with His disciples so that He could go meet the needs of the people in the next town.
3. Jesus through whom the Bible says that all things hold together, overcame the natural limitations of the physical universe and began walking to His disciples across the lake!
Something even more miraculous occurred. As He approached the boat, the fearful disciples wondered if He were a ghost. Peter volunteered, "If you're Jesus, tell me to join you ON the water. Jesus did, and Peter stepped out onto the sea. His eyes were locked on Jesus and he actually began to walk ON the water. Suddenly, the waves and winds distracted Peter and He began to sink. Jesus pulled Him up into the boat. Then the wind stopped and the disciples were amazed apparently not understanding that as the Creator of the physical universe, God can miraculously feed people, or walk on water. They aren't tricks. It isn't hard for Him. He is not limited by the physical universe. Additionally, He called Peter out to join Him! He expects that as we put our faith in Him, we will be able to do these things as well! In John 14:12 Jesus makes it clear, He tells His disciples, "you will do greater things than these."
The next miracle is the raising of Jesus friend Lazarus. Again, power, purpose, emotion, and the heart of our Savior is revealed. Jesus is sent word from Martha and Mary, Lazarus' sisters that Lazarus is sick "unto death." He responded that the sickness was meant to bring glory to God and stayed where He was for two more days. He then told His disciples that they needed to go to Judea that Lazarus was asleep. This got the disciples hot and bothered because the Jews had tried to kill Jesus the last time He was there. And, besides that, if he's asleep, he'll be fine. No need to put ourselves in harms way! Jesus told them plainly that Lazarus was dead. Jesus knew His mission and He told them it was time to hit the road. When they arrived to Lazarus' family let them know that Lazarus had passed away and that he'd been dead four days and was entombed. Jesus looked around at the sadness. He recognized that death had encroached upon one of His friends. This broken world with sickness, pain, and death brings such pain to people. In this moment, Jesus' heart was broken and the shortest verse of scripture was written.
Jesus wept. John 11:35
Despite knowing that He was about to raise Him from the dead, He wept. Jesus could have come in with trumpets and beating chest, telling everybody to chill. "Everything's gonna be fine!" "I got this!" Instead, Jesus wept. He entered into the hurt and pain that everyone else was going through. He goes there with them...us. He isn't just a fixer. He goes through the rough stuff with us. Then, because from the get-go, God's plan was to be glorified through the situation with Lazarus, Jesus called a man dead 4 days out of the grave and back to life. He does this today. Apart from Jesus, we are dead. We need Him to call us out of our self-styled tombs of everything we think we need, to Him, the only One we really need.
Finally, the one that seals the deal. If Jesus had done all the things we read that He did and was crucified dead and buried, and remained in the grave, we'd have nothing. We'd be left scratching our heads about who this person was and how He did all these great things, but was gone. Paul states it well in 1 Corinthians 15.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
THE RESURRECTION is the greatest event in the history of the world. Our hope is not futile. Our hope is alive. His name is Jesus. He is no longer in the grave!
The blog will be changing in the coming days/weeks.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.