Here are some thoughts from Josh McDowell’s Christ Up Close and Personal video series. May they strengthen your faith so that you may use them to strengthen someone else’s J
- The Bible was written over a span of 1,500 years by over 40 authors from every walk of life (kings, poets, philosophers, statesman) and was written in a variety of places (wilderness, dungeon, palaces, military campaigns) and written during both times of war and peace as well as in moods of both joy and sorrow. It was written on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and yet it covers hundreds of controversial subjects with harmony and continuity.
- The Old Testament stated that The Messiah would be born of the seed of the woman, the lineage of Shem, the descendants of Abraham, the line of Isaac, the line of Jacob, the tribe of Judah, of the family line of Jesse and of the house of David. And it’s a matter of historical record that Christ was of the house of David. Not only that but Psalm 22 predicted in about 1012 BC that the Messiah would be crucified – His hands and feet would be pierced against a tree. That method of execution was not started until 800 years after that prophesy was written – during the time of the Romains. Psalm 41 and Zachariah 11 state that Christ would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver that would be thrown on the floor in the Temple and be used to buy a potter’s field for a burial plot. Micah 5:2 says that Christ would be born in the city of Bethlehem. Bethlehem had less that 1000 inhabitants at the time of that prophesy. Some 333 prophesies were all fulfilled in one individual. Dr. Peter Stoner worked out the probability that only 8 of these prophesies could be fulfilled in any one individual and his results were confirmed by the American Scientific Association. The results were 1 in 100000000000000000 for only 8 to have been fulfilled in any one individual.
- In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 11 caves near Qumran on the Dead Sea. 40,000 inscribed fragments were discovered and 500 books reconstructed. All the Old Testament books except Esther. They had been hidden there around 67 AD when the Romans were invading. There was a complete Isaiah Scroll that dated back to 125 BC. Many of the prophesies about Christ are found in Isaiah and we have a complete scroll that dates back well over 100 years before Jesus was even born.
- Think about the eyewitness testimony of the apostles. Many people in history have died for a lie – but they believed it was the truth. If the resurrection was a lie, the apostles had to know it was a lie. And yet they died some of the most horrible martyr’s deaths recorded in history. Up until their deaths they never waivered in insisting they lived with Him (Jesus) and ate with Him for 40 days after the resurrection. Not only that, they began their ministry in what would have been the hardest place to convince anyone of the resurrection - had it been a lie. They went back to Jerusalem where anyone could have refuted them if it wasn’t true. In Acts 2:22, Peter (as did many of the apostles) appealed to the knowledge of a very antagonistic audience. (They wanted to stone him.) He said, “Jesus the Nazarene…attested to you by God with powerful, miracles, wonders and signs…which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know…” Instead of stoning him, they yielded to him. Acts 2:37 states, “Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles – all who have been called by the Lord our God.” That day 3,000 were added to the church.