He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” (Luke 9:20-22)
If You Believe Jesus Is Real
In a recent poll titled the “American Worldview Inventory 2020” by Dr. George Barna, Director of Research for the Cultural Research Center, research has revealed a “razor-thin 51% majority of Americans believe in a biblical view of God – this is down from 73% thirty years ago. This research adds to the mounting evidence that Americans are both redefining – and rejecting – God. Americans are almost evenly divided on the nature of Jesus Christ. Overall, 44% agreed that ‘when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ was fully divine and also fully human, and therefore committed sins, like other people.’ Slightly fewer (41%) viewed Jesus as fully divine and fully human, and sinless while on earth.” (Dr. Craig von Buseck; https://inspiration.org)
There is a great irony suggesting that Jesus was a real person and that He lived on the earth and yet disbelieved He was what He claimed to be, the Son of God. Studies have examined the texts of the gospels, trying to determine if the stories are true, with conclusions often returning that much of what is written about Jesus is a fabrication of human philosophy. There is an uneasy calm between wanting to believe that a man called Jesus lived in Nazareth two thousand years ago and accepting Him as a divine being. The great ploy of Satan is to allow men to accept that Jesus was a real person but then reject that He was anything more than a good man who went about doing good things.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John paint a very different picture of Jesus because they are the only ones whose writings are preserved to tell His story. The man Jesus is hinted at by many sources as a real person, but only the gospel writers detail the life of Jesus in His teachings and miracles. John claims that what he wrote should convince the reader that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Luke tells the story of Jesus asking His disciples who the crowds say that He was. There were many different opinions of people of what to make of the man from Nazareth. It was hard for some to see Jesus as divine because they could only see Him as a carpenter’s son. Peter spoke up and said that Jesus was the Christ of God. Jesus tells His disciples that He must suffer many things from the Jewish leaders, and they will kill him. The elders, chief priests, and scribes will reject Jesus as the Christ and have him killed through the authority of the Roman government.
On more than one occasion, Jesus says that when He is killed, He will rise from the dead. That is a remarkable claim. No man has made such a claim and proven its fulfillment. During the early days of the church, more than five hundred people claimed to have seen Jesus after His death. The New Testament church was established upon the faith of thousands of people willing to die for a risen Savior. Outside Jerusalem, an empty tomb stood as testimony to the proof of the resurrection. A dead man was put in the tomb, sealed with a huge stone, and guarded by the elite of the Roman army. The only way Jesus could have been taken out of the tomb was by the power of God. Jesus said He would rise from the dead, and He did.
The challenge to believe in Jesus is whether a person accepts the word of Jesus or to admit Jesus was the greatest con man in history and a prolific liar. It is contradictory to hear a man say he believes Jesus is a real person and then turn around and deny what Jesus said. Jesus claimed to be God, He claimed to have the power to forgive sins, He showed miraculous powers even the Jewish leaders never denied, and everything about the life of Jesus shows Him to be divine. The philosophies of men are contradictory to accept Jesus as real and then turn away from what He said. Either the story of Jesus is true, or it is a lie. If Jesus is a liar, then He is not a good man. Gandhi was a good man, but he never claimed to be the Son of God and promise he would rise from the dead. Jesus said He would be killed and raised the third day. He died on a Roman cross, buried in a new tomb guarded by Roman soldiers, and raised the third day by the power of God. If you believe Jesus is real, you have no choice but to accept the truth that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of the living God.