Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

My “Case for Christ”

Four convincing pieces evidence for Christianity, in my opionion:  the spread of the early Christian church on the basis of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection in the face of brutal persecution, the willingness of all twelve of Jesus’ disciples to die for the belief that He was resurrected, the conversion of Saul/Paul, and the change in the life of Jesus’ brother James.
 
The founder and foundation of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was brutally murdered on the cross.  He was beaten to near death, forced to carry the crossbeam of His cross through town, had nails driven through His feet and wrists, the distance between the nails through His wrists would have forced His shoulders to be dislocated by the weight of His body, and His body weight would have eventually caused Him to suffocate when He could no longer push Himself up on the nail through His feet to be able to breathe.  I say that not to necessarily focus on the Cross, but to direct your attention to the people of that time.  This man claimed to be the Messiah of God.  There is historical evidence that He really lived and that He really performed super-natural feats, but this had to look like the end of His claims to be the Son of God.  His disciples were discouraged.
 
Add to that the fact that early Christians were persecuted by the Roman empire and others.  They were hung, crucified both right-side-up and upside-down, beheaded, and burnt at the stake.  And yet Christianity spread like wild fire in those days.  And the simple fact that there are still Christian churches almost 2000 years later, in spite of numerous efforts to nip Christianity in the bud, says a lot.  Early Christians had to simply renounce Christianity to save their lives, but they wouldn’t do it.  People who witnessed the murder of Christians became Christians.  Does that not defy all logic?  The man who was leading one of Jesus’ disciples to his execution professed Christianity and was beheaded with him.
 
All twelve of the disciples were willing to die rather than renounce their belief that Jesus was the Messiah, based on His resurrected appearance to them three days after the Crucifixion.  If it was all a lie or a hoax, would you not expect at least one of them to renounce and tell the executioners what they wanted to hear in order to save his life?
 
Then you have the apostle Paul, who was previously called Saul.  Saul was a Pharisee, on the rise in the Jewish elite.  He had fame, status, and power, and he was on the rise in large part because of his relentless persecution of Christians.  Then on the road to Damascus, the Bible says that Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him, and told him that he would go by the name Paul from then on.  So Saul/Paul is converted and goes from being the most prominent persecutor of Christians to becoming a Christian himself and suffering all kinds of persecution himself, and he wrote a large portion of the New Testament.
 
Then you have James, the brother of Jesus.  He did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah while Jesus was alive.  Then Jesus is brutally murdered, as I described already.  Then the Bible says that Jesus appeared to James, along with over 500 others including the twelve disciples.  Remember Jesus has just been brutally murdered, and a similar brutal murder is all but promised to anybody who is a follower of Jesus.  James then becomes a ‘pillar’ of the Christian church, and he was writing and teaching in Jerusalem, and he was responsible for the conversion of an enormous number of people. 
 
So the Jews, the Pharisees, and the Scribes who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah saw James as a problem.  They decided to put him on the top of the temple while there were a multitude of people in Jerusalem for the passover feast one year, so that they could persuade him to renounce Christianity with all those witnesses.  Instead of renouncing, James affirmed that Jesus was the Messiah and said that He ‘sits at the right hand of the Power that is in Heaven.’  They decided to throw him off the temple so that the people would be afraid to believe as he believed.  The fall did not kill him, and he rose to his knees and prayed for the men who had just thrown him off of a temple.  They proceeded to stone him, and he was finally killed when a man struck him over the head with a club.
 
We all have the idea of God, but we have also all sinned and our sin causes a seperation between us and God.  It is not a matter of living as good as we can and hoping that the good outweighs the bad, as other religions propose.  Jesus was and is God, and His death on the cross provides the only path to be reconciled with God.  Jesus taught that we had to be perfect and have perfect righteousness in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.  But none of us can attain perfection or perfect righteousness.  ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’
 
Thats where Jesus comes in.  He lived a perfect life and had perfect righteousness.  He knew no sin, but died the death for our sin.  We know no righteousness, but through His death on the Cross we can have forgiveness for our sins, His perfection, and His righteousness.  Our sin for His righteousness.  His death for our life.  That is the Gospel, and that is Christianity.

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December 7, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atheist, Christ crucified, Faith, Jesus, Messiah, Resurrection | 1 Comment