Have you ever stopped, just for a second, and considered the far-fetched claims of Christianity at Christmas time? During this particular holiday, Christians all over the world—millions and millions of them—pause to contemplate a first-century middle eastern infant, mothered by a teenage girl who had never been with a man, born dirt poor and from a small, obscure hick town called Nazareth. This little boy, this underdog whose life was allegedly surrounded by miracles such as a virgin birth, unexplainable healings, and resurrection, Christians say, is the answer to all the world’s problems. The hope of the universe rests on the belief that this seemingly far-fetched fairy tale…
…is actually true.
Come on. Really? Yes, really.
Jesus, that little baby boy from the obscure hick town and virgin womb…he would grow up and speak these words about himself for anyone who would listen:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” he said, “no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Why did Jesus claim to be the truth, versus one single truth among many other truths? Why did he say that he would not share his glory with any other god or any other religious leader? Why was he unwilling to accept the mere designation of Rabbi or of a good moral teacher or of an exemplary human being? Furthermore, why do his followers seem stuck on the idea that Jesus, in being the truth, is the singular path to God? CS Lewis, a secular atheist intellect turned Christian, answers this question as well as anyone in Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. 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 the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon 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. He did not intend to.”
But what is it, exactly, that has made Lewis so certain that Jesus is more than a great human teacher, but is instead the Son of God, the Word who has become flesh, the Incarnate Deity? I believe the answer to this question rests in a single word:
Jesus, who was crucified, dead, and buried, rose again bodily from the dead.
But is there evidence, any evidence whatsoever, that these claims are true? I think so. Do you?
The man Saul of Tarsus was militantly opposed to the Christian religion and a leader in the first century massacre against the followers of Jesus. Yet, Saul of Tarsus later became a follower of Jesus. The turning point occurred for Saul when he was on his way to Damascus to arrest more Christians. Jesus, having risen from the dead, met him on the road, temporarily blinded him, and asked him a question, “Saul, why do you persecute me?”