We Have This Hope — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

We Have This Hope — Morning Devotions

Sometimes you hear people say the Bible is not reliable. In fact, there is so much evidence to support the truth of Christianity, that it demands our attention.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsWednesday 16 Feb 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 3 minutes

Sometimes you hear people say they don’t believe the Bible or will not have anything to do with the teachings of the church. “It’s all a fairy story”, they say. “Where’s the evidence?”, they ask. Maybe you have thought the same, but never actually spoke to anyone about it. Today I’d like to go through some basics to explain the hope that Christians have. In fact, there is so much evidence to support the truth of Christianity, that it demands our attention.

Jesus was a historical figure

The first thing to say is that Jesus Christ was born and lived on this earth. There is proof from many sources like the Roman historian named Tacitus in his writings in 112 AD, Pliny the Younger in his letter to the Emperor Trajan, and a number of Jewish sources like Flavious Josephus, a general and historian who made several references to Jesus. There was Thallus, a Samaritan historian who tried to explain away the darkness of the day Jesus was crucified.

So overwhelming is the evidence of Jesus existence that even atheistic historians admit he lived. H. G. Wells in his book Outline of History said, “One is obliged to say ‘here was a man. This part of the tale could not have been invented’”. One of the most gifted writers of 20th century Will Durant devoted two chapters of his book The Story of Civilisation to Jesus Christ. I’m sure there are other writers who saw Jesus as an actual historical figure.

The New Testament writers themselves claim to have known Jesus—like Luke the doctor. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and spoke of the early church and wrote of historical events. Sir William Ramsay has written: “Luke is a historian of the first rank. Not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense. This author should be placed along with the greatest historians”.

The Apostle John wrote an eyewitness account of Jesus’ life. The Jewish rabbi Paul knew Jesus and half of the New Testament books are his personal letters. As a historical document, the evidence is quite remarkable. Even when matched up with the archaeological discoveries over the years, this book, the Bible, still stands up. In other words, nothing has ever contradicted the New Testament.

Who do you say Jesus is?

With this, there are certain implications for us. We are forced to make a decision concerning Jesus. We can’t deny that he lived and therefore we must decide who he is. In Matthew 16 Jesus said to his disciples: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.” “What about you?”, he asked them. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”.

This is historical evidence from the New Testament, and its reliability can’t be refuted. Some say, they may be sincere, but mistaken. Again, there is ample proof that the people Jesus was with were prepared to stand by their belief and even die if necessary. Normally you won’t sacrifice your own life unless you believe in the cause.

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Jesus’ disciples were prepared to die if necessary

Some say the New Testament is a book of lies, carefully contrived. But how do you explain the quality of the teachings? Here is a book with the world’s highest standard of morality—would liars and frauds go to all this trouble to deceive millions of people? Of course not. Here is teaching of love and morality which cannot be equalled.

Take two examples: the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 to 7, and Paul’s address on love found in 1 Corinthians 13. How can deceivers put together such a clever series of teaching with historical names, places and events that have been verified? Almost impossible to do.

To believe in Jesus according to the New Testament means we have hope and salvation. It tells me of the life and death of Jesus, and how I can be saved from my sin and his blood which cleanses me from sin. His teachings and promises satisfy my inner need, and in him I can have peace and joy. No-one else can do this. It makes no sense to discredit the Jesus of the Bible.