Why Should I Believe in Jesus?
The reasons to believe in Jesus start with His promises to believers, His track record of fulfilling those promises, and the rewarding benefits of knowing Him. Many believers can attest to these things happening in a wide variety of ways. If you are looking for more concrete answers, I am going to describe four categories of “why” that apply to this question.
Believing in Jesus not only secures your eternal life in God's beautiful kingdom, but also accomplishes so much more that will benefit you immensely.
Innumerable believers have attributed their high level of success to Him. I have heard many people tell about miraculous things that Jesus did in their lives. If I were to name the many positive things He has done so far in my life, it would bewilder you. I realize it is intriguing to hear the juicy details of such a claim, but I would prefer your mind stay on the main point. It is that YOU can experience many positive and miraculous experiences in your own life when you believe in Jesus. Maybe not all in the beginning, but with time.
The benefits of salvation include relationship with God, lifelong help from God, the blessings of God, and royalty as a child of the most royal King.
New and great value is placed on you in the kingdom of God. You become a partaker of God's nature so to speak. Purpose and meaning are added to your life. You are given availability to peace that passes all understanding. You are given a future and a hope. You get a new nature that is full of joy, love, and peace. You can tap into all these things by seeking to be close to God, trusting Him, and living in His ways.
Forgiveness is another impactful benefit. Being forgiven for all your sins, will tend to take a huge burden off your shoulders. There is an immense freedom that comes from knowing that all your past sins are cleansed off of you, and your future sins are paid for. You can feel cleansed from them as well by confessing them to God and turning back to Him.
Perhaps the most powerful reasons for believing are that He loves you for who you really are, He makes a really good friend, He smiles upon you with delight, and He is calling you in a gentle way to come to Him and be saved. Do not consider it a coincidence that you are reading this right now when I am writing about Jesus calling you to faith in Him. Maybe you would want to pray about it and see.
The popularity of self-improvement books, seminars, websites and videos indicate people, even those who are "comfortable in their own skin", want to become better. Believing in Jesus is the best way possible to improve yourself. He can help you change your life for the positive better than anyone else can.
Personal Relationship With God as Evidence
I have found that the various sources of evidence for Jesus, as convincing as they are, have not been as impressive as the many ways He proved Himself to me personally. After you are in a strong relationship with Him, I would be surprised if He does not prove Himself to you over and over. There is no greater evidence for Jesus than when He makes Himself real to you. It is undeniable.
The many accounts of answered prayer in the name of Jesus are prevalent wherever He is believed in. Many thousands of incidents considered miraculous have taken place and associated with Jesus. The list of evidence continues to increase every day. Unlike other categories, this form of evidence is after-the-fact of believing in Jesus.
Third Category: Evidence From Personal Familiarity With Faithful Christians
If you don't want to put the "cart before the horse" by believing in Jesus to see the benefits, consider the next best thing, finding the perspective of good Christians as to the benefits they have experienced.
No human alive on earth today is perfect. However, some are better representatives of Christianity than others. I have known several non-Christians who attended churches, Bible studies, and home worship groups, for the purpose of learning about Jesus and observing the people who love Him. I knew one, who came for a year before accepting Jesus into his heart. But he kept coming back because of the people and "that something different" about them.
Many times I have heard of a person saying to a believer, "I want what you have." But this only comes from getting to know believers. You might have heard the expression that something is "better caught than taught". That is definitely true about knowing Jesus and seeing His Holy Spirit alive in people you know.
Look for people like that, without expecting them to be non-sinner, non-hypocritical, or non-judgmental. Expect them to be fallible human beings that care a lot about Jesus. Be forgiving with them if it seems they are ever being difficult. See what happens.
Fourth Category: Overwhelming External Evidence.
There is more evidence for why you should believe in Jesus than any of us could absorb in a lifetime. To start, you are probably aware that He is such a significant figure in history that our calendar starts with Him. That should give us a clue as to His positive impact on the world.
Starting with only 12 believers, now more than 2.4 billion people consider themselves followers of Jesus as He is depicted in the Bible. Jesus currently has more followers than any other central figure of any group of God believers or religion has ever had.
If you don't believe in God at all, you might want to consider that about 79% of the world's population believe in a Most High God and claim to follow his ways. Those who identify as athiests, believing God does not exist, are in a very small minority, about 3% of the world's population. Of that 2.68% live in China or Russia, leaving about 0.32% of the world population as self-identified athiests. That is about one third of one percent.
(statistics as of 8/28/2020 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism - it is admitted that Wikipedia's statistics are not absolute or flawless. But they are fairly well documented.)
People outside China and Russia, are nearly all non-atheists according to the numbers. Similarly, few are agnostic. Agnostic means a person who holds that it is unknown, at least to them personally, as to whether God exists. Although agnosticism is a well-known stance, there are so few agnostics in the world, that no trustworthy record of their numbers or percentage exists.
The book that tells Jesus' life story is the biggest selling book of all time, namely the Holy Bible. This should indicate that many people read it and give it great value. The Bible demonstrates God's existence thousands of times in various ways. It portrays Jesus in a way that illustrates His life from many human witnesses. It tells His habits, His unique oratory acumen, His sense of humor, His sarcasm against deceptive evil-doers, His friendship, His empathy, His compassionate emotions (crying, lamenting, healing the lepers), and many other intimate and intricate personal details.
More universities, hospitals, orphanages, and humanitarian organizations were begun by His followers than by the followers of any other leader. This was because they believed His teachings and followed His example.
Many modern world leaders have been His followers including nearly all the United States Presidents. Many of the most intelligent people who have ever lived were His followers. These reasons are just “the tip of the iceberg” of rational, credible, documented details to support putting your faith in Jesus as your Savior.
Mountains of evidence exist about Jesus, enough to assume it is proven by today’s popular standards. A lot of evidence against Him has also been purported. Most of it is from flawed science or logic. But neither body of evidence is absolutely conclusive through natural-based analysis, no matter which side boasts the highest number of evidentiary findings. That is because God wants people to come to Him by faith, with humility, and openness of heart, according to Scripture.
The Miracles of Jesus
Miracles by Jesus constitute another set of evidence. In the New Testament a small fraction of the miracles of Jesus were recorded. Around 40 were described. These miracles, such as healings, raising people from the dead, casting out demons, calming a storm, feeding two crowds by multiplying food, walking on water, telling His disciples to reach into the mouth of a fish to get money for taxes, rising from the dead Himself, and ascending into the clouds in front of over 500 witnesses. These are the miracles that were told about Him at the beginning of the Christian faith.
The Spread of Christianity Despite Vicious Persecution
The rapid conversion of many thousands of people, and the miracles that followed provided evidence that was undeniable to believers. They faced vicious persecution and martyrdom by the Roman Empire.
Did that threat snuff out the Savior's church? No. The believers' faith proved unalterable even to death. Within 290 years, nearly the entire Roman Empire became Christian. Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which accepted Christianity in 313 AD. Within 10 years afterward it had become the official religion of the Roman Empire.
The entire Roman Empire went from a stance of treacherous genocidal enemies of Jesus and His followers to repentant believers in Jesus, worshippers, and fellow followers with the Christians. How does that happen without being evidence of the reality and power of Jesus and His good news?
Miracles By Jesus' Followers
Miracles by Jesus in answer to prayer after He rose and commissioned His disciples to carry on in His ministry are evidence. To a person who has never seen a miracle, it seems as if miracles no longer take place. But to millions of believers who have witnessed true miracles in Jesus' name, it is absurd to think that miracles no longer happen.
The first recorded miracle after Jesus ascended into Heaven, is the day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts Chapter 2. At this event, God released the power of the Holy Spirit in a way unheard of before, resulting in the spiritual birth of Jesus' church.
Flames of fire appeared over the heads of the disciples, and they were empowered to the point where they could praise and worship in known languages that they had never learned. They also preached the good news in those languages. From that point, they were able to do many mighty miracles.
Many of the miracles are recorded afterward in the book of Acts. Christian history and tradition records many more.
I have witnessed more than a few miracles in my life. A family member's story can be found by doing a search for Milton Ellithorpe. He was healed of multiple compound fractures and severe internal bleeding caused by being hit by a moving street car. The doctors gave up on him and sent him home to die. But God did a miracle.
God does miracles small and large. Uncle Milton's was a big one. My daughter's healing from an "incurable" heart defect, was pretty big too. Once you see a few, you start to recognize them in various proportions happening around you. Whenever I see one, I thank God for His goodness. I am bragging about God here, not me.
I found some passages that recorded life during the 40 days after Jesus resurrected. Here is one: "He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
Among the most popularly presented evidences of Jesus has been His resurrection. I believe He resurrected just as the Bible claims. I accept that "many infallible proofs" took place. My belief is based on personal experience, Bible knowledge, and faith.
However, what things are major evidence of the resurrection? To a person whose thinking is limited to our western rational mindset, there is no proof of the resurrection. Why? Because only modern, rational arguments are valid in their eyes.
To someone open to the presence of Jesus, the resurrection is proven every time Jesus is given the respect He deserves.
The eyewitness testimonies found in scripture should count for something. Paul wrote that among the 500 or so people who saw Jesus after His resurrection, "many are alive to this day". Paul knew that the resurrection could be corroborated in His time period by the testimony of eyewitnesses.
The general reason the resurrection is considered by most believers to be credible is it is a miracle. Conversely to those who don't believe in miracles, it is not found credible precisely because they believe miracles do not happen.
Lack of outside historical evidence of Jesus' resurrection does not subtract from the case for resurrection, any more than it does for the three resurrections Jesus performed on others, or the resurrection by Elijah of the widow's son in the Old Testament - 1 Kings 17:17-24.
If we take the Jonah's testimony at face value, Jonah died inside the big fish and was resurrected. ("Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. . . .The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; yet You have brought up my life from the pit")
People get hung up over who raised Jesus from the dead. When Jesus died, the Trinity was not divided, so it is possible that all three persons were involved in raising Him. That is why Jesus, speaking of His body, said "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up", three verses by apostles said God raised Him from the dead, and one verse saying "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
Just as with all the miracles that have ever taken place, God's power performed the resurrection of Jesus. God is omnipotent, all-powerful. There is no reason to assume He did not raise Jesus, if you believe God exists and is as powerful as ever.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is a testament to God, the miracle worker. Jesus said "I only do what I see the Father doing". When Jesus saw the Father wanted a miracle, Jesus stepped in and helped by doing what He saw the Father doing. They together performed the miracles.
Now Jesus is unlimited, and performs miracles for us by means of the Holy Spirit.
He lives. Jesus did not stay dead. He is risen!
Societal Blindness and Skepticism to Real Miracles
A strange phenomenon exists where the more astounding a miracle is, the more a skeptical person would consider it to be fabricated and unreal. To me that is counter-intuitive.
What tends.to happen is that the person who claims the miracle happened becomes suspect of mental instability, lying, or other wrong-doing.
The enemy of our souls goes all-out in discrediting miracles claimed to be done in the present in Jesus' name. He blinds and deceives in this way because signs and wonders are such timely evidence of Jesus' reality here and now.
Ironically, satan uses the evidence of Jesus' existence to persuade people that Jesus is not real. He does this by sowing doubt and unbelief into people.
Nearly everything we see that indicates a strong anti-Jesus sentiment in modern western culture, is evidence of Jesus. Why? Because if Jesus wasn't real, nobody would be so militantly trying to discredit and disrespect Him!
If Jesus wasn't real, there would be no Easter Bunny to subtly obscure the real meaning of Easter, or Santa Claus to rob Christmas of its main character. All Saints Day would not be superceded in our culture by Halloween as a holiday.
Impact on Other Religions
Several major world religions have made a place for Jesus in their set of beliefs. It is not necessarily the Jesus portrayed in the Bible, but it indicates Jesus had an impact. For example, Hinduism accepts Jesus as a real being, who existed on earth as an avatar of divine origin and meaning. They have great respect for Jesus in this context, though it is obviously far from the biblical Christian way of thinking.
Hinduism became inclusive of Jesus by changing His theological persona to fit with existing Hindu theology and religion. Islam depicts Jesus as their coming messiah and a great prophet. Again, it is not the Jesus of the biblical Trinity, but a lesser Jesus. Perhaps Mohammed had a great respect for Jesus and understood Christianity, but wanted to create a religion for his special culture.
I point out the differences not to engender strife, but to underline the impact of Jesus on the world, even on the second and third largest religious groups.
I am not naive to the negative aspects in which satan can manipulate counterfeit teachings to lead people away from the truth, but not enough Christians see the positives in which God is moving in other religions to glorify Jesus in His way.
To show the impact of Jesus on other religions as part of our evidence, we could add 3.2 billion to the 2.4 billion I mentioned for Jesus followers, summing to 5.6 billion. That is a lot of people who believe that Jesus exists. It is the majority of people on earth. You would be blind not to admit that Jesus has made a big splash in history and world culture. It is evidence of why people should believe in Him, the real Jesus of the Bible.
However, I must give respect to the major world religions, knowing some of the ways of including our Savior involve sincere ways of helping different mindsets embrace the real Jesus.
Historical Documentation of the Existence of Jesus
Much history-related evidence points to the reality of Jesus. An example of an historical proof is that of Flavius Josephus, the non-believing historian of the first century. The part most considered to validate the historicity of Jesus is when we wrote:
"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified;" - Josephus Antiquities 20.9.1
This was written by Josephus about James the brother of Jesus. James wrote the book of James in the New Testament. This passage in Josephus is the earliest non-Christian historical documentation of Jesus "called Christ" appearing authentic to scholars. It is considered to have been written in 93-94 AD.
Josephus also recorded other accounts coinciding with the New Testament. For example, here is his account of King Herod and John the Baptist, both contemporaries of Jesus and New Testament figures:
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God as a just punishment of what Herod had done against John, who was called the Baptist. For Herod had killed this good man, who had commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, righteousness towards one another and piety towards God. For only thus, in John's opinion, would the baptism he administered be acceptable to God, namely, if they used it to obtain not pardon for some sins but rather the cleansing of their bodies, inasmuch as it was taken for granted that their souls had already been purified by justice. Now many people came in crowds to him, for they were greatly moved by his words. Herod, who feared that the great influence John had over the masses might put them into his power and enable him to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it best to put him to death. In this way, he might prevent any mischief John might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly John was sent as a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the castle I already mentioned, and was put to death. Now the Jews thought that the destruction of his army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure with him." - Josephus Antiquities 18.116-119
These accounts by Josephus correlates with Bible passages. Josephus added insight on the political aspects and Herod's suspicious temper that the New Testament does not mention.
Original disciples of Jesus were alive at the time Josephus wrote.
Although Josephus was the earliest and most respected Jewish historian validating the presence of Jesus on earth and His followers, there were more historians to follow.
Personally, I am sure New Testament writers like Luke, an historian himself and a doctor, are just as credible, and wrote their history earlier than Jospehus.
Since the time of until now, much has been learned and written showing evidence and persuasive cases for becoming a born again Christian by believing in Jesus as your Savior. In fact, a whole genre of writing is devoted to it, and is called "Christian apologetics". It has no relation to our word "apology" in modern terms. In ancient times, it meant a case to support a fact. For example, a lawyer's case on behalf of his client was called an apology.
If you do a search for "Christian Apologetics" in your favorite book-sales website, you should find many to choose from of the popular variety, and a number that border on scholarly apologetics.
More serious scholarly books are found in the libraries and bookstores of Christian theological seminaries and universities. In apologetics books, you will find a seemingly endless array of evidence and persuasive ideas leading an engaged reader toward acceptance of Jesus.
If the evidence presented so far is not adequate for you, click this link for more:
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