"I have been all over the world.
I have seen many religions
and heard many philosophies.
How can I know that this is the truth?"
Years ago several of us visited an army captain whose wife attended our church. He welcomed us into his home and allowed us to talk with him about Jesus. When we asked if he would like to accept the forgiveness of Jesus and devote his life to Him, he politely asked a difficult question.
He said, “I have been all over the world. I have seen many religions and heard many philosophies. How can I know that what you say about Jesus is the truth?”
I said, “If God sent his son to die for you, that is surely important. I suggest that you ask God Himself to show you if this is true or not.”
In chapter 5 of The Gospel of John in the New Testament, Jesus dealt with this very question. Beginning with verse 31 He said if He alone bore witness about Himself His testimony could not be deemed to be true. But He said, “There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that his testimony is true.”
Jesus first mentioned John the Baptist. John said Jesus was the son of God. John the Baptist may have been the most impressive man to walk the earth in those days. Jesus called him a burning and shining light. He noted that they rejoiced for a time in his light. There are many today who will tell you that you can personally experience Jesus in your life. Some of them are impressive people. Astrophysicist/astronomer, Hugh Ross of the University of California is one who comes to mind. I also think of preachers like Tim Keller, and Ravi Zacharias who died earlier this year. Billy Graham also died this year. Years ago the church that I served was starting home-churches in a mountain valley that did not have a church. In house after house where we were invited to lead Bible studies people brought up Billy Graham. Everyone seemed to be impressed with Billy. He indeed bore witness to the truth. But people, no matter how impressive, are not the great witness Jesus spoke of. Jesus said He did not accept human testimony. He mentioned John so that the people might be saved, but He said there was a greater witness yet.
Jesus next spoke about the works that he was doing. His miracles were a powerful witness about him. God continues to show us his mighty works today. The more we know about the Earth, and life, and the universe the more astounded we become. Is it rational to believe that the most complex things we know anything about, including life, eyesight, human consciousness, and intelligence, and even the universe itself happened by accident?
Of course, admitting that there had to be a Creator, does not make Christianity true. But the miracles of Jesus can still be seen to this day. I have heard people accuse Christianity of perpetuating slavery. And they are right. In the 19th Century some people actually used the Bible to justify slavery. God forgive us. However, it should be noted that slavery has been prevalent in every part of the world. We do not know of a time in history when human bondage did not exist. And no other philosophy, no other influence besides Christianity ever abolished slavery from whole nations or from human approval and law.
Angola prison in Louisiana was once one of the most dangerous prisons in the United States. Because of a Christian witness, that whole prison has been turned around. Despite the fact that some of the most violent criminals in our country have been incarcerated there, almost all violence has been eliminated within its walls. Is there any example in the entire world of anything else turning a prison around like that?
A large hospital in the city where I used to live is dedicated to scientifically curing people of alcohol and drug addiction. They saturated the city with advertisements about their treatment plan. According to their own statistics, only 20% of their patients were still alcohol or drug-free three years after their treatment. 20% is certainly better than nothing. And I will admit that the statistics this hospital provides are better than many other treatment centers. However, Christian treatment programs are much more effective. I have a friend who began an outpatient treatment program in the same city. After 20 years more than 60% of those who have gone through his program are still alcohol and drug-free. Nothing else changes people like the message of Jesus Christ.
But Jesus does not quite say that the works that He accomplishes are the testimony about which He referred. He says that by those miracles which still take place God himself to testifies about Jesus. If you are considering these things I would encourage you to ask God to show you if this is the truth. You might pray something like, “God, if there really is a God and if you really care about me, show me if this is the truth, and help me understand what you show me."
Early on a Sunday morning several weeks after we visited the Army officer that I began by telling you about, he came to our church dressed in fatigues. He had duty that day and could not come to the service. But he told me he had not been able to forget the prayer that I had suggested to him. In the next 10 years God did a number of stunning things in that man’s life. And he eventually gave his life to Christ. I am still in regular contact with him even though I live in a different state. For nearly 30 years now he has been one of the strongest leaders in the church that he joined.
My new novel, EARS TO HEAR ,
will soon be released!
Some of you know that I recently published the collection of short stories, THE GATHERING OF OUTCASTS
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