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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All in the Open

But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.” Acts 26:25, 26 (New American Standard Bible)

Lee Patrick Strobel, who was a veteran reporter for the “Chicago Tribune,” was an avowed atheist who in 1980 set out to prove the accounts of Jesus Christ were untrue. His careful quest became nearly a two year investigation into all the historical data concerning Jesus of Nazareth. At the end of his search he was amazed that the evidence, instead of cementing his atheistic viewpoint, brought him face-to-face with God’s Only Begotten Son. At that time he knew he needed to make a choice as to what to do with the Living Christ. The atheist became a believer and one of His most ardent champions. The disciple John said of his experience with Jesus that He had witnessed Christ in human form and physically interacted with him in a real space/time sense (John 1:14, 1st John 1:1-3). The disciple Peter also said that the story of Jesus wasn’t some clever story that was created by some crafty liars but that Jesus was actually witnessed in His power and glory (2nd Peter 1:16). All of Jesus’ disciples but John died martyrs deaths, their witness being written in their own blood. This thing surely was not done in some corner.

No other person of antiquity has been so fully documented by eye witness accounts as Jesus of Nazareth. Even His enemies admitted He was the doer of miraculous things (John 11:47, Acts 3:1-10, 4:10, 14-16). Why is it so easy to admit Caesar and his Roman legions crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC but stumble at the overwhelming evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really lived and did the things He did? He never left it so we would wonder that all he was was some great teacher. I like what C.S. Lewis said concerning Jesus;

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus]: '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.” – Mere Christianity, p 52.