Reasons for Having Faith
Part 7 of 7
The Uniqueness of Jesus
What do we think about Jesus? His life is described in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Details of His life, death, and resurrection can be found in many other places in the New Testament of the Bible as well, including one of Paul’s letters to the Christians at Corinth, which we call 1 Corinthians. Do these documents give an accurate and truthful portrayal of what Jesus did and who He was? The ultimate question is, did He rise from the dead?
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7) Paul was listing the people who saw Jesus alive again after He had been executed on a cross and buried.
Scholars agree that Paul wrote his letter around 55 AD. That’s no more, and probably less, than 25 years after the reported event of Jesus’ resurrection. Many of us can think back to events 25 years ago. Those events aren’t that far in the past. Such was the case with Paul’s writing about Jesus’ resurrection.
The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written in the 60s or 70s AD, at the latest. That was within 40 years of the actual event. Again, many of us have vivid memories of events that occurred 40 years ago. All of the New Testament was written in the first century, within 60 years of the events in Jesus’ life, including His resurrection.
There’s no reason to question the historical accuracy of the New Testament documents that give witness to Jesus’ resurrection as being fact and not fiction.
Who is this Jesus who many are convinced was raised from the dead? Most people believe Jesus was a great teacher, so what did He teach about Himself?
Jesus did not teach that He was just another prophet; He taught that He was the fulfillment of the prophets’ messages. He taught that He existed before He was born, even before the ancient patriarch Abraham was born! He taught that He was one with God. He taught that He had all authority, over everything. He taught that He is the only way to get to God.
The great Christian thinker C. S. Lewis put it well in this classic 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 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.” (Mere Christianity) The compelling facts about Jesus’ uniqueness confront us with a profoundly important decision: what will you and I do with Jesus?
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)