One never truly retires.
As long as we draw breath, there is always something to be done, a mission to complete, a word to share, a goal to achieve.
It is so interesting to me how God works because He wastes nothing.
When my husband and I "retired" a few years back, we thought we would close the working chapter in our lives and move on… to what we weren't sure. Yet, in His infinite wisdom, God decided He would take a law enforcement officer's skills and pair them with a paralegal's skills to create an investigative team that is prospering beyond what we could have hoped or imagined. They are totally separate careers merged in perfect complement. Now, we "work" together with a shared mission to "seek out the truth." We are learning that it isn't easy to prove what is true– there are always gray areas, he-said, she-said, and everything in between. Yet, when you have the testimony of credible witnesses, the truth becomes much easier to find and believe.
Today, I’d like to share some truth—the truth of the gospel. Before we begin, I’d ask that you suspend any preconceived notions or ideas and, just for a moment, consider that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah, and through Him, we can be assured of life after death.
It is worth clarifying that I am speaking on both the religions of Judaism and Christianity. Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion, with approximately 14 million followers, and Christianity is the world's largest and most widely spread religion, with roughly 2.4 billion followers. It is essential to understand that the entire Christian faith is built upon Judaism, but where it differs is the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah- the promised deliverer of the Jewish people and the one that fulfills all the Jewish messianic prophecies from the Torah (Old Testament.)
With that said, there is so much "evidence" to consider in determining if Jesus is indeed the Messiah that I'm afraid to review it all here, I would lose you, so for the sake of simplicity, I would like to only focus on what I believe is the very heart or core of truth which is found in the testimony of witnesses.
To begin, we must first agree that the person of Jesus existed. Please don't take my word for it! There is a multitude of non-Christian historical accounts found in the writings of Flavius Josephus, Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Maimonides, and even the Jewish Sanhedrin documenting and supporting the early Christian eyewitness accounts of the death of Jesus Christ. There is no dispute that at the request of the Jewish Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate had Jesus publicly executed by crucifixion in Judea in the 1st Century A.D.
History shows Jesus not only existed but also died and rose again!
How do we know this? Eyewitnesses. Over 500 of them!
1 Corinthians 15:6 documents the most significant number of eyewitnesses to see Jesus at one time post-resurrection:
“After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”
This is significant on two accounts- 1) At the time of this writing, many of these witnesses were still alive and could have refuted this reporting if it was false, and 2) at this same time, Jewish law dictated that just two eyewitnesses could provide testimony that would establish the truth. So much so, Deuteronomy 17:6 reads, "Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses."
Here, we have five hundred people (500) all testifying that they saw the resurrected Jesus! Let's remember this is way back in the day before costumes, makeup, and hair extensions- no way to impersonate him like Elvis!
Not only that, but it is extraordinary to consider that many of these eyewitnesses went on to be Christian martyrs- facing intense persecution, imprisonment, torture, and death. All they had to do to stop the pain was denounce that Jesus was resurrected- yet none did. This speaks volumes because no person would be willing to face extreme cruelty and death clinging to a lie.
Further, we have the testimony of an eyewitness from the Roman Army, ordered by Pilate to oversee Jesus' crucifixion – the Centurion. When questioned about Jesus, he responded- "Surely he was the Son of God!” ~Matthew 27:54
From the lips of the executioner.
All the above should instill a high level of confidence that Jesus was resurrected from death! Sir Lionel Luckhoo, who achieved The Guinness Book of World Records title of the “world’s most successful attorney” with a record of 245 consecutive defense murder trial acquittals, agrees when he wrote-
“I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials, and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt."
There is no room for doubt.
But there is more…
God's own enemies testify to the truth of Jesus. Satan and His demons had this to say when confronted with Jesus:
Mark 1:24- “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Mark 3:11- “Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
Yet, the ultimate testimony is from God himself. We see in 1 John 5:6-9:
“This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.”
God's truth testifies and provides evidence through water, blood, and spirit.
Let me clarify the blood we have already discussed above- Jesus' bloody death on the cross that was witnessed and documented in history. A death that was foretold hundreds of years before it transpired!
The water is referring to Jesus’ baptism found in Matthew 3:16-17:
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
And finally, the Holy Spirit testified throughout Jesus’ life as to His identity, with Luke 1:35 as just an example:
“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Now that we have established there is ample evidence through credible testimonies that Jesus was not only a natural person but that He was killed and rose from the dead, we can move on to WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Simple… Jesus is the ticket to life both now and for eternity.
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." ~ 1 John 5:11-12
Jesus is life. Jesus is truth.
Either you have him or you don’t. The choice is yours.
But, the truth can set you free!