WHY I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST
“What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). Though this is the question that was asked by Pilate almost two thousand years ago, yet I consider it the supreme religious question of our own age.
Shall we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? or shall we, like those of His own day, cry out with violence: “Let Him be crucified!” To fail to answer, is but to answer.
If I were assigned the task of finding out about any other man, there are two classes of people whom I would like to interview: His enemies and His friends; their testimony would give me both sides. Neither do I believe Jesus should be made an exception to this rule. What, then, did His enemies, those who lived when He lived, say about Him?
Testimony of His Enemies
Among His bitterest enemies were the Pharisees and scribes, and they said: “This man receives sinners, and eats with them!” (Luke 15:2). But, O how glad I am for that! For were Jesus to have had nothing to do with sinful men, we would all be lost! Therefore, what they intended to be testimony against Him was testimony favoring Him.
Pilate, the Roman governor, said: “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4). The governor’s wife said: “Have nothing to do with that just Man” (Matthew 27:19). And Judas, the traitor, said: “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4).
The testimony of His enemies would almost convince one, but let us next consider the testimony of His friends.
Testimony of His Friends
All of His friends, without an exception, acknowledged Him to be the Son of God. Even God said, “This is My Beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17). Over five hundred testified that they saw Him after He arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Even that sober, scientific investigator, Thomas, who refused to be swept away with the sensational report of His resurrection, after seeing Him, cried out: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
Those who testified that they saw Him following His resurrection had forty days to ascertain the integrity of their testimony. They therefore could not have been deceived!
They gained neither money, property, popularity nor influence by their testimony; rather, they suffered the loss of all these things because of it; nevertheless, they could not “speak the things which [they had] seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). No one who has studied psychology could possibly believe that these were deceitful men; the evidence will not allow such an interpretation.
We must conclude therefore that they were competent and true witnesses, and that all that they have said about Jesus, including His marvelous life, His vicarious death, and His glorious resurrection and ascension is true.
I Therefore Believe
I therefore believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, because of what both God and men, both His enemies and His friends, have said about Him.
I also believe Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God, because of the unquestionable impact His life has had upon human history. His earthly parentage was poor and mediocre; His travels were limited to no great portion of Palestine; He never went to school; He never personally wrote a book; He only lived about thirty-three years, and yet His life has had such an impact upon human history that it has split world history wide open! Who but the Son of God could do such as He did? I, therefore, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!
R. C. Oliver was a Christian educator. He received his training at Freed-Hardeman College,Akron University, Marietta College, East Tennessee State University, Michigan State, and The University of Mississippi. He taught in the Bible and English departments at Freed-Hardeman from 1965 until his retirement in 1982. Oliver was an accomplished English grammarian. He was a Gospel preacher and polished debater. His rational, conversational pulpit delivery was powerful. He was blessed with a natural ability to “think on his feet.” He was not contentious or mean-spirited. He did not delight in religious controversy, but as Paul, “was set for the defense of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:17).