The Old Testament is full of prophecies about Jesus. A few of Isaiah’s predictions include that Jesus will be born of a virgin,2 will perform miracles,3 and will be smitten and called “the Lord.”4 In the book of Micah, Jesus is prophesied to be born in the town of Bethlehem.5 The Psalms predict that the Messiah will be the Son of God6 and a descendent of David;7 will be crucified, will rise from the dead, and will ascend into heaven.8 These are just a few of the over seven hundred prophecies about Jesus.
Let’s pause for a moment and catch our breath. I have covered a lot of information in these first four reasons. Much of this may be new to some of you. I’ve made some very broad statements in the last paragraph about fulfilled prophecies that we will unpack very specifically later in the book.
What I want you to get your mind around at this point is something very simple but profound:
- Jesus was a real person who actually lived on this planet. It is undeniable and factual. He is not a myth or a legend, but a real person who we can historically verify, not only from the Bible, but also from historians and from actual facts that we can know for certain. That may not sound like a big deal to some of you that have been followers of Christ for many years, but for some of us, the whole idea of Jesus was thrown into the “religious barrel” of fantasy thinking or mythology that we thought was made up by men.
- Jesus’ actual life and lifestyle of love and kindness is validated and unquestioned by friend and foe alike.
As we close out this first leg of our journey together, we can know for certain that a real man named Jesus lived, that He had impeccable character and extraordinary teachings, that His miraculous powers were validated by eyewitnesses, and that He made outrageous claims about who He was and why He came.
The evidence in the first century was so strong that His enemies and detractors aimed their attacks not at His life, His teaching, or the legitimacy of His miracles, but instead, they sought to prove He was merely a great man who was a great teacher with unexplainable, great powers. That is far less than His outrageous claims that He was in fact God and the Savior of the world.
Their strategy was basic—simply prove that He didn’t really die. If He didn’t die, then He didn’t rise from the dead. If He didn’t rise from the dead, He may be a great man, a great teacher, and even have great power, but He certainly is not God or the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has come to bring a new way of living and offer eternal life to all who believe.
Ingram, Chip. 2017. Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
We have just completed a 6-Week Bible Study Lesson Series on Chip Ingram’s book, Why I Believe. It is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription plan. The idea is to invite each participant to purchase their own book and discuss it each week.
Why I Believe, Lesson #1
Chapters 1, 2
Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Did Jesus Really Die?
Why I Believe, Lesson #2
Chapters 3, 4
Why I Believe the Bible
Don’t Take My Word for It
Why I Believe, Lesson #3
Why I Believe in Life After Death
Why I Believe, Lesson #4
Chapters 6, 7
Why I Believe in Life Creation
Science or God?
Why I Believe, Lesson #5
Why I Believe in the God of the Bible
Why I Believe, Lesson #6
How is that Working for You?