Who is Jesus Christ? And how can we know the truth? There’s a lot of controversy these days surrounding Christmas. Merely greeting someone with “Merry Christmas” is on its way to being grounds for legal action. This should not be surprising, however. On the very day Jesus was born, the world was immediately divided. Some, like King Herod, felt threatened. So much so that he had all young male Jewish children murdered in an effort to destroy the Christ. Others, like the three wise men, were willing to travel great distances to find the Christ child in order to worship him.
In today’s modern world, people may cling to various justifications for rejecting Jesus. “There’s no proof,” or “look at all the damage religion has caused.” “It conflicts with science” and so on. These are fair questions that should and can be answered (A great site is www.gotquestions.org). However, we can easily get caught up in an endless chase trying to dispel all these challenges. Instead, the Bible tells us that the real issue always comes down to the human heart. Just as when Jesus Christ was born, even today, people respond in one of three ways. Offense and rejection, embrace and worship, or open-minded inquiry. It was not until I was 30 years old that I heard the story of Jesus. I found myself in category number three.
When I was a child, my father would tease me, saying, “You’d make a great lawyer!” As a natural-born skeptic, I ask a lot of questions. I’m not a cynic, but I like to take my time to investigate things before I accept them. I want to be certain of the truth, no matter where my inquiry may lead me. So at age 30, after much careful investigation and to my utter amazement, I discovered that the claims of the Bible about who Jesus Christ was were absolutely true. In a matter of months, I went from an irreligious agnostic to a born-again Christian.
Healthy investigation is good; God even welcomes it.
“‘Come, let’s reason together,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18 ESV).
Consider how people reacted to Paul, a high ranking Jewish scholar turned preacher of Jesus. “As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue [and] reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’ he said.
Some of the Jews were persuaded. But the Jew[ish leaders] were jealous, so they rounded up some bad characters and started a riot in the city. [Paul then traveled to Berea where] they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed. [but] When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching [in] Berea, they went there, too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. [Paul then traveled to Athens and] when they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject.’” (Acts 17, selected)
What is Truth?
Belief and commitment, sneering and riots, healthy inquiry—Paul had seen it all.
At Jesus’ trial, Pilate wants to know who Jesus is. He asks, “‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this [reason] I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18:37-38)
Jesus tells us plainly who He is. “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) and “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 ).
He even tells us why He came, “For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” (John 12:47)
The fact of the matter is, rejecting, embracing, or seeking the truth about Jesus is never ultimately based on our view of science, history, or even religion, although we may begin there—in the end, it always comes down to the heart.
“‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart…’” (Joel 2:12)
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7)