Common Sense Living

How A Practical Guy Came To Believe In Jesus

My background and training is in engineering, business, and finance. I have an MBA, graduating either #1 or #2 in those degree programs from well accredited colleges. Because of this training along with a lifetime of experience, I believe practically nothing unless it can be proven, and I trust most things even less. So how does a guy like me eventually come to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, was physically born into this world, died for my benefit, was physically raised from the dead, and now resides with God in a place called heaven…. and will one day return in glory to claim his church, his true followers? And no…..I’m not brainwashed!

First of all, this belief didn’t happen overnight. In fact, my beliefs were developed over 30 years of off and on consideration. I eventually became a firm believer in a universal God, a journey I documented here: We First Lie to Ourselves, Then We Lie to Everyone Else! But it is one thing to believe in God, and quite another to believe in Jesus. In fact, there are a lot of people who believe in God, yet not believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah, with the Jewish faith being a primary example. Satan himself even believes in God!

Now there are some people who do not even believe Jesus as a man really existed, just as their are some people who don’t believe astronauts walked on the surface of the moon. They believe it’s all some kind of a hoax. This blog post is NOT going to debate that topic. There is more than adequate evidence of the existence of Jesus as a man, who walked this planet, and made quite a name for himself. The Biblical Gospels are but one source. Flavious Josephus, a Jewish historian, is another. There is also Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman historian and politician who provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There are also the synoptic gospels which are not part of the Bible. Based on the evidence, Jesus existed and created quite a stir in the political arena! If you don’t believe at least this, you may need further study of these documentation sources.

About 4 years ago, I was exposed for the first time to an argument presented decades ago by C.S. Lewis. As a believer in God, but not so much Jesus, this argument struck me for years until finally I reached a point where I had to admit what Jesus claimed is true.

At the time, I thought of Jesus as just a man who was “in tune” with God, and that anyone could do similar if they dedicated themselves to doing so, if they just lived a good life, prayed, meditated, etc. I did not consider Jesus as God the Son, in physical bodily form, and nor did I really grasp the significance of Jesus’ comment in John 14:6 where he stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

What Jesus is saying here is that the ONLY way to be “in tune” with God, to know God, is by believing in him and him alone! You cannot “live a good life” and expect to reside with God in heaven, as some in the Christian faith erroneously believe.

As for C.S. Lewis’ argument, it states there are only 3 possibilities regarding that which Jesus claimed. Those possibilities are:

  1. Jesus was lying. (What he said was not the truth), or
  2. Jesus was delusional. (He believed what he said, but it was not the truth), or
  3. Jesus was in fact stating the truth.

Based on the Gospels themselves and on all other credible documentation, from the day Jesus began his ministry, he knew he would be put to death in a brutal act of capital punishment.

Matthew 16:21 clearly states this by saying, “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Matthew 26:1-2 states that, “When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified”.

Not only did Jesus know full well he would be put to death for what he was saying, he knew HOW it would happen! He knew that he would be put to death in the most excruciatingly painful way possible! (the word “excruciating” is derived from the word “crucify”)

This Youtube video describes the process of crucifixion. As you watch this, imagine yourself in this situation, KNOWINGLY and VOLUNTARILY offering yourself up for it!

In John 15:13, Jesus stated, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” At his trial in front of Roman Governor Pontius Pilot, Jesus did not even offer a defense, to the point that even Pilot was shocked! He literally laid down his life, like a lamb going to the slaughter. Pilot, knowing that a painful crucifixion would occur and believing Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing, even prodded Jesus to offer a defense at his trial.

Matthew 27:12-14 states, “But when he was accused by the chief priests, he gave no answer. Then Pilot said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?’ But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was amazed.”

Governor Pontius Pilot then offered a deal to the Jews, to potentially give Jesus a way out. He would let them choose between Barabbas, a known hardened criminal, or Jesus, a man he believed to be innocent. Matthew 27:18 states, “For he (Pilot) knew that it was out of envy that they had him delivered up.” The Jews again chose Jesus to be crucified, an innocent man, instead of the hardened criminal.

Jesus, innocent of any crime, accurately predicted his own death, and voluntarily accepted it out of love for mankind.

WHY would a liar give up so much? A liar WOULDN’T! Every liar I know would have left town in a heartbeat the moment they realized their lies would in fact incur consequences of a punishment such as crucifixion! They would NOT stick around saying, “Gee….I wonder what this will be like!”. Liars are weaklings, cowards! And even if they didn’t think they would truly be caught, they would be lying at their own trial and defense! Jesus did none of this! He clearly believed what he was saying, to the point that his own physical life did not matter! He was not intentionally lying!

So was Jesus delusional, where he believed what he was saying, but it wasn’t the truth?

I don’t believe Jesus was delusional either. Even delusional people, when faced with the inevitable known consequences of their delusions have an uncanny ability to lie to get out of the consequences….even if at the last moment!

If you were delusional to the point of claiming you were personally responsible for killing President Kennedy, then suddenly were faced with crucifixion for your crime, would you continue making such a claim? Heck no!!! You would suddenly and accurately find truth! And even if you did commit the act, you would now be lying to get out of the consequences!

Delusional people have an amazing way of seeing truth when faced with the very real consequences of their lies! Jesus again didn’t do this. He didn’t defend himself, even when the governor was prompting him to do so. Furthermore, Jesus was innocent of any crime! He could have backed out by showing his innocence, or at a minimum recanting what he said. But he chose not to!

Galileo Galilei, the famed Italian astronomer and physicist, successfully proved Copernicus’ theories that the Earth circled the sun, and not the other way around. The Catholic pope at the time saw Galileo as a threat to church doctrine. Galileo was investigated by the Roman inquisition in 1615, and was labeled a heretic. He was tried, and faced a penalty of death. Even though Galileo was telling the truth, he recanted his truthful proclamations rather than face public execution. As it was, he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

Galileo was a truthful upright man who lied to get out of a potential death sentence. How much more would a liar or delusional person lie to get out of one? Yet Jesus did none of this!

So if Jesus wasn’t lying, and he wasn’t delusional, he must have been telling the truth! And if what he claimed is true, that changes everything!

Being an engineer, and a person who is familiar with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as well as quantum mechanics, I think there is ample evidence to state that “something” exists beyond SpaceTime. A place where both space and time collapse to zero, and don’t exist. That there is a place outside our universe, where at least in theory, God exists. A place that is timeless. The Bible states that God created the universe, not that he is the universe, and not that he is in the universe. If God can create the universe, then he can certainly and miraculously impregnate a woman named Mary with his Son. And he can raise that Son from the dead as is documented in the Gospels, and was predicted even before he was born!

The Book of Revelation states in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” This passage is Jesus, as God, talking. How can one be the beginning and end at the same time, unless time doesn’t exist? And if time doesn’t really exist, the future is already known, and has already happened. Is this how the Bible was able to accurately predict Jesus’ coming 700 years before it happened in Isaiah 7:14 where it says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Immanuel means God is with us).

There are at least 50 different accurate predictions of Jesus’ coming in the Bible’s Old Testament. While I don’t know how some of these predictions were made so accurately, if you believe a God exists outside of spacetime, you have to admit it is theoretically possible.

Psalm 40:6-8 states, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have opened, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come, it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

Jesus, as God, with Gods law within his heart, was pure in thought. He lived his life in perfect love, thinking not of himself, but of mankind, including you and I.

When I think about my thoughts, they are anything but pure. Occasionally, a pure one comes through, but in all honesty, I have thoughts that are self-centered, greedy, arrogant, lustful, damaging, vengeful, and sometimes downright hateful. The reasons I do things are due to fear, or greed. I don’t do things for eternal reasons, or for someone else’s benefit. In my heart of hearts, I do things for my benefit, and if it benefits me to benefit you, then I will do those things.

Jesus, by all accounts, did not have such thoughts! His thoughts were pure, unlike anyone I know. I cannot even imagine thinking purely, and if I did, it wouldn’t be pure. For instance, the minute you believe yourself to be humble, you’re not! Impure thoughts are our human nature, and are the very definition of sin. So someone whose thoughts and actions are pure and blameless, like Jesus….such a person is rare indeed!

The Bible states in Proverbs 23:7 (KJV), “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul asks in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”. In Romans 3:23 Paul also states, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Even the apostle Paul was not capable of having pure thoughts! As he states, all fall short of the glory of God. Jesus however was blameless and innocent of any impure thoughts, and none of us without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross are pure enough for Gods glory in heaven.

Throughout history, Jesus has been called “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords”. His ministry on this Earth lasted all of 3 years, and in that 3 years he inspired more dedicated followers for the next 2000 years than any Nobel, during any reign, in the history of mankind! Even if you do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, one has to admit that this evidence of leadership is unmatched in history, almost as if it were God himself moving the mountains! Christians of course believe Jesus is God, the Son in the holy trinity.

Clearly, those who knew Jesus in person believed him to be the Son of God, and that he told the truth. All of his disciples, except for the Apostle John, died brutally at the hands of men for their belief in Jesus, and their spreading the word about his life and gift.

The more I study the life of Jesus, the more I stand in absolute awe at what this man did. If he was telling the truth, as I believe he was and as all evidence shows he was, then he truly is the Son of God and voluntarily died for my eternal salvation. I owe him my life, yet he asked nothing in return for his gift except to simply believe in him. And by believing in him, we keep his commandments which according to Luke 10:27-28 are “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Commandments for which I miserably and continuously fail at following.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded by faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5

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