"And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?"
-- John 7:26
Why should anyone believe in Jesus? This is the question the religious rulers of Israel were planting in people's brains as Jesus' public ministry began to wind down. The powers that be had labeled Jesus a demoniac and libeled Him as a false prophet. As the great pastor and writer Warren Wiersbe said, "It is much easier to label and libel people rather than listen to them." This is good wisdom when it comes to listening to the Lord, and to other people, as well.
Though they tried to silence Him, the Word of God would not be stopped. Thought they dissuaded people from believing in Him, the Son of God continued to preach and plant seeds of faith in His followers. Do you believe Jesus is the Christ?
Believe in Jesus because He is the expected Messiah. The Messiah, as predicted by Old Testament prophecy, would indeed be a mystery man, but His origins and arrivals would not be unknown. He was to be born in Bethlehem (ref. Micah 5:2), raised in Nazareth (ref. Matthew 2:23), minister primarily in Galilee (ref. 9:1-2), and in Jerusalem be crucified, resurrected, and ascended into Heaven (ref. Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
We all make errors in judgment, and minor mistakes can be overcome. But erroneous interpretations of Scripture lead to fatally flawed conclusions about God. The worst mistake in the world is to judge Jesus wrongly, as the Jews of His day did. Jesus is the Messiah, He is the man sent from God and the true and living God sent to man.
Believe in Jesus because He is the incarnation of God. Jesus was perfect in speech. In His sermons, He never said anything that contradicted Scripture, scientific evidence, or the right sensibilities of mankind. Jesus was perfect in power. The signs pointing to His deity were bona fide, organic, verifiable miracles that created powerful and positive changes that only God can make. He made food multiply and walked on water. He made the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk. He made dead people come to life and gave His life in death so that spiritually dead people can live forever. No one can do these things except God.
If I could speak without ever making an error, then you should believe in me and follow me and do whatever I command. But I can't, and you shouldn't. If Bennie Hinn would walk into our church and heal my myopia, my arthritis, and make my hair grow back, I would believe in him and follow him and do whatever he commands. But he can't, so I won't. But the Lord Jesus Christ spoke the perfect and pure word of God, and touched people with the power of God, you should believe in Him!
Believe in Jesus because He is the only way to Heaven. He came to earth to bring God to people and bring people to God. Then, He returned home, not to Galilee, but to His real home, above the realm of sight, where only the faithful can follow. But you cannot come if you do not believe in Him. Pharisees and Sadducees do not go to Heaven. Unbelievers do not go to Heaven. Adherents of alternative or false religions other than true Christianity do not go to Heaven. Rejecters of religion altogether do not go to Heaven. Good people who ignore the good news, or gospel, of Jesus Christ do not go to Heaven. The only people who can follow Jesus into Heaven are those who follow Him on earth in true repentance and genuine faith. This is why you should believe in Him!
Such talk sounds offensive in this enlightened age in which we live. Claiming Christ's words, "I Am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (ref. John 14:6) in any age or culture is dangerous. But the gospel is true, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This is why you should believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Chuck DeVane is the Pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs. He is a graduate of Valdosta State University, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has served churches in Arkansas and Georgia, and preached the gospel across the United States and other countries. Email him at [email protected]