Why? It’s an age-old question. One we ask our parents, our friends, even Google. Thank God, He has answers we can trust.
Over the next few columns, I want to tackle some of the most popular questions I hear as a pastor. Like this one: Why should I believe Jesus is God?
Now, I have to admit, I had that same question in my late teenage years. I knew that faith was foundational to my family’s culture, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to own that faith once I left my parents’ house. I honestly thought, “I’m not really sure if I believe some Jewish guy died and somehow was God.”
You might think that, too. Before we dive into answering this question, let’s look at what Americans actually do believe about Jesus. Here are five facts:
- The vast majority of Americans believe Jesus was a real person.
- Younger generations are increasingly less likely to believe Jesus is God.
- Americans are divided on whether Jesus was sinless.
- Most Americans say they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ.
- People are conflicted between “Jesus” and “good works” as the way to heaven.
With differing views, it can be hard to make a decision for yourself. How can we believe Jesus is God?
First of all, for those of you who believe Jesus was sinless, Jesus flat-out said He was the Jewish Messiah in Luke 4:20-21. He said, “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Everyone knew the part of the scroll Jesus was reading was about the Messiah they were waiting on. He basically said, “I didn’t come to preach to about God to you. I came to tell you that I am God.”
Don’t believe it just because He said it? Here is more evidence. There are more than 60 prophecies in the Bible with more than 300 specific details God gave to help us recognize the Messiah.
And guess what? Jesus fulfilled every single one of them. The mathematical odds of Him just fulfilling eight (much less all 60) was 1 in 100 quadrillion. No matter who you are, that is hard to argue with.
As I was making my decision more than 40 years ago, it hit me: If there was another way to Heaven outside of Jesus, would God really have subjected His son to the cruel cross of Calvary that He had to endure? If you are a parent, you know the answer is a resounding no way.
Also, if the events of our world calendar are now dated by Jesus’ appearance on the Earth, isn’t there a pretty good chance that he was the most unusual person to ever live on Earth? The more studying we do, the more it becomes obvious: Jesus truly was, is and always will be God.