Evidence for Jesus
Today I went to see the movie, The Case for Christ. It was very good. I highly recommend going to see it.
The movie theater didn't have very many people in it. Perhaps because it is a gorgeous Sunday afternoon here. The perfect Spring day.
Or perhaps because most people don't know about the book and the movie. I asked the women in my women's group and the women I went to the movie with and none of them had ever read the book. I remember many of my co-workers at the Christian bookstore (if not all) had not read the book. This surprised me since as of September 2016 there were over 10 million copies of The Case for Christ in print. With the release of the movie, I'm sure that number will climb.
Just a few of the many books Lee Strobel has written which you may have heard about:
The Case for Christ, (1998)
The Case for Faith, (2000)
The Case for a Creator, (2004)
The Case for Easter, (2004)
The Case for Christmas (2014)
I wrote in a previous blog (Some Answers to Profound Questions dated 1/26/16) how this book, The Case for Christ, had a huge impact on me. I read it early on in my search-for-answers part of my spiritual journey and it quite frankly, blew me away. Up until then I had never encountered approaching Christianity in an intelligent way. There is real evidence for holding the beliefs we have.
Lee Strobel was an investigative reporter and an atheist. His wife becomes a Christian and Lee is not happy about it. He goes on a two year journey to prove there is no foundation for Christianity and to get his wife out of this "cult." Lee interviews 13 scholars at the top of their fields about the evidence of Christ; and at the end, Lee realizes there is just too much evidence not to believe. Lee Strobel becomes a believer of Jesus. And he writes the book, The Case for Christ.
Every Christian should read this book.
Every atheist should read this book.
But the book is very different than the movie.
The book is a summary of the interviews he had with scholars and the evidence for Christ.
You probably have some of these same questions about Christianity.
Can we trust the biographies of Jesus, the Gospels? It addresses perceived inconsistencies in the Gospels/ Can the eyewitnesses be trusted?
Were Jesus' biographies reliably preserved for us?
Is there credible evidence for Jesus outside His biographies?
Does archeology confirm or contradict Jesus' biographies?
Was Jesus really convinced that He was the Son of God? Was Jesus crazy? Did He alone match the identity of the Messiah?
Was Jesus' death a sham and His resurrection a hoax? The medical evidence - Did He really die? Did the Roman guard or His disciples steal His body?
Was Jesus seen alive after His death on the cross?
This book goes through the evidence of Jesus as the Christ. It is a bit scholarly - not everyone's cup of tea - but I promise you it is a worthwhile read. It is broke down into small little chapters that are easily manageable. Take your time reading it if you have to, but tackle it.
It has been awhile since I have read The Case for Christ, but I have used parts of it in my teaching so I keep it in my reference library and go back to it very frequently. I teach about the manuscript evidence and the errors, called variances, in those manuscripts. How we know God preserved His Word for us. I teach about Jesus fulfilling all of the Old Testament prophesies for the Messiah. I remember the medical evidence and reading how our Lord died. This gave me a whole new perspective on His scourging and crucifixion. It sticks with me to this moment.
I found one of the most compelling interviews in the book was with Louis Lapides, M.Div., Th.M.. Lapides answers the question, Did Jesus - and Jesus alone - match the identity of the Messiah? Lapides was raised as a Jew. His story of how he became a Christian - a Messianic Jew - and how that decision affected his life is pretty amazing. I have for many years been fascinated with Messianic Jews. I have searched for answers to why don't the Jews believe Jesus is the Messiah if they have read their Scriptures? And I am fascinated with how Messianic Jews came to believe in Yeshua, what they call Jesus. So this interview really has stuck with me besides his evidence on how Jesus fulfilled all of the prophesies (a mathematical impossibility really).
The book is incredible. Read it. Seriously.
There are two; no three; OK, four books every person who professes to be Christian should read. (In my opinion of course.) They are:
The Bible (you knew I was going to say that)
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
Basic Christianity by John Stott
The movie, The Case for Christ (link to the trailer), is about this journey Lee Strobel took from being an atheist to a believer and very much about the struggle it caused in his marriage. He and his wife, Leslie, believed two very different things. What Lee and Leslie experienced until Lee became a believer is put forth in their book, Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage (2002). I read this book a long time ago. It was very good.
The back cover of Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage says:
"Leslie's decision to become a follower of Jesus brought heated opposition from her skeptical husband. They began to experience conflict over a variety of issues, from finances to child-rearing. But over time, Leslie learned how to survive a spiritual mismatch. Today they're both Christians - and they want you to know that there is hope if you're a Christian married to a nonbeliever."
Nothing can be harder for a Christian to be married to someone who doesn't share their faith. Sitting alone at church. Being excited about what you are learning and experiencing and not being able to share it with your spouse. Arguments on tithing and whether and how much money to give to the church. How will you raise the children to know Jesus, if you can't openly talk to them about Him in your home?... If you are in this situation, read this book.
The movie, The Case for Christ, only gives you maybe 5 to 7 brief sections of evidence for Christ. There is so much more covered in the book! The movie is a combination of the two books.
Go enjoy the movie.
And then, READ the book, The Case for Christ.
Seriously, put the phone down and pick up a book that will make a real difference in your life!
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