@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Do we need evidence to confirm our faith?
While the followers of Jesus got to see, experience, and witness his life, death, and resurrection, we're left to simply read about it. So how do we believe what we do not see? How can we be assured of something that we haven't had an eye-witness account of? Is it blind faith? Or is it true faith?
Having faith requires trust. I would argue that trust does not need to have something we physically see.
Here are some thoughts as to why:
1. jesus confirmed this would be the case.
In talking with an early follower, Thomas, Jesus asked him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?" He then said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29 ESV).
I believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States.
I believe that Alexander the Great led one of the greatest armies of all time.
I believe that there is hardly any gravity in space.
While I have heard people talk of these things, I have not physically seen or experienced them myself. Yet, I still believe them to be true.
In the same way we have been told about the life, death, and resurrection, it is now up to us to have faith in what has been shared.
Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' John 20:29 ESV
2. it is easier to believe non-religious history
Dr. Gary Habermas shared this past Sunday at our church. While sharing, he discussed the gaps between when a historical person lived and when the first things about them were written down. Take Alexander the Great for example. He died 500 years before anything was written down about him. Yet the first writings about the resurrection of Jesus came as early as 5 years after his death. Even if taken from the most conservative estimates, the earliest writings were still only 25 years after his death.
How come we don't question the history of Alexander the Great, but we quickly jump to conclusions about the history of Jesus? The answer is simple: Jesus brings controversy. Accepting the resurrection of Jesus means accepting that he was God. Because after all, as Dr. Habermas stated, "God wouldn't raise a heretic from the dead."
If Jesus did rise, as is historically recorded, then he must be God. However, when we claim that history, it also claims that the other religions in the world are wrong. It claims that Jesus is the only way. It brings controversy. And naturally, we don't want controversy.
However, we must understand that we have found physical papyrus of the letters of Paul and other early followers of Jesus. We have physical evidence of historical documents. The Bible is not some made up text, but it's full of writings from people who walked with Jesus. People who knew of these events firsthand.
I love how John puts it in his writing:
"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25 ESV).
God wouldn't raise a heretic from the dead." Dr. Gary Habermas
3. when we walk with jesus, we see how jesus' way is best.
In my life, I've spent over a decade as a baseball umpire. From there, I branched out into basketball and football officiating. While the sports are different, they each have something in common—a rule book.
In fact, everything we do falls within the framework of some type of structure or set of rules. There are rules of science, rules of ethics, rules of engagement, and even rules of communication. Sometimes, we don't even consciously think about such rules, but they're still there.
Jesus also gave us some guidelines to live by. In fact, he explains that they can all be summed up into two things:
1. Love God.
2. Love People.
When we walk with Jesus, the rules we play by are to love him and love the people we encounter. Like in any sport, we sometimes go against these rules; but we know that it's the framework in which the game is to be played.
As we continue to experience life within these guidelines more and more, we begin to see how Jesus is working through us individually. We begin to realize that following him isn't an obligation. No. It's simply the way we are designed to live.
It is best.
As his teachings are lived out, we begin to see all the evidence we ever needed.