Which is more important – eternal youth or eternal life? You could be wasting your hard earned cash on a gym membership! Stephen Baker walks us through this dilemma.
Life is full of questions and often the answers are difficult. Stephen Baker seeks to answer various questions about life and faith using the Bible as his only source. Listen to Stephen’s show, “Life Questions,” on HopeStreamRadio as he tackles the challenge of life questions.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John 14:6 (the Bible).
Many people are seeking for eternal youth. They try various beauty products, fitness regimes, healthy eating plans and therapy but never quite reach their goal.
The promise of eternal youth is an illusion which creates a lot of business opportunities; makes a lot of people feel better about themselves (in the short term) but never quite delivers what it promises.
For some reason we are all happy to go along with the scam! It’s a bit like the story about Emperor’s clothes. They knew the truth but nobody wanted to speak up.
The truth is that we all know we are going to die but nobody wants to talk about it. Maybe if we ignore it, it might go away! Let’s ignore the inevitable and pretend that it will never happen! Is this the way you think?
Please stop for a moment! I have good news for you. You cannot have eternal youth BUT YOU CAN HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!
This is not a scam! It’s true! There are no catches! It’s the real deal! So listen carefully!
2016 years ago an amazing event took place! Then 33 years later (so 1983 years ago) an even more incredible event took place. These events changed world history and are still revolutionising people’s lives.
What am I referring to? I’m referring to the birth of Jesus Christ and 33 years later his death and subsequent resurrection. His birth was a predicted event. Nearly 4,000 years before his birth a prediction had been made that a man would born of a woman (that’s normal you say) but without a man being involved in the conception. That prediction is found in the Bible, Genesis 3:15. That’s what Christians call ‘the virgin birth’; it might actually be more accurate to call it a ‘virgin conception’.
The Death of Jesus
Then there’s the death of Jesus. Again the way he died was predicted precisely and was not unexpected. The amazing thing is that the mode of his death was not a normal form of capital punishment at the time the predictions were made (see note at the end of this blog). In Psalm 22:16, written 1,000 years before the time of Christ, it stated in the context of suffering and death, ‘they pierced my hands and my feet’. This is an overt reference to death by crucifixion.
This passage has been cross referenced to the death of Jesus not just to identity the mode of his death but, incredibly, to identify a raft of things that happened on the occasion of the crucifixion. For instance verse 1 pre quotes some of the words that Jesus would say while suffering on the cross (see Matthew 27:46). Verses 7 & 8 pre quote what the leaders of the Jews would say to Jesus while he suffered on the cross (see Matthew 27:43). Verse 18 specifically describes how the squad of Roman soldiers would divide some of Jesus’ clothes between them but gamble for his seamless garment so that only one of them walked away with it. It’s not the fact that they took the victims clothes (that was normal) it’s the detail of how they divided one and gambled for the other (see John 19:23,24) that’s important in this passage. The last words of Jesus on the cross are pre recorded in verse 31. In Hebrew the words, translated in English, that ‘he hath done this’ or ‘that he has performed it’ are the same ones we find in John 19:30 that are translated into English as ‘it is finished’.
You may argue that Psalm 22 was written after the event – try telling that to a Jewish Rabbi. Most of them don’t even accept that the passage is speaking about Jesus.
You may argue that people manipulated events to fulfil scripture. I think an honest look at the circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus clearly makes that suggestion impossible.
The Bible Is The Word of God
So what are we left with? We are left with everything pointing to the fact that the Bible is the word of God. Only a supernatural being, such as God, is able to predict the future accurately. That’s only one aspect of what God can do but it’s absolutely true!
To be honest the references that I have given to you only scratch the surface of the evidence that the Bible is the word of God and that Jesus is the Son of God.
But let me take you back to considering Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. I mean to say was Jesus no more than a humble rural preacher? He only operated in the land of Palestine with a couple of rare excursions outside if it’s borders. He was extremely popular but somehow ended up being crucified by the Roman authorities (despite the Roman court records saying that he was innocent of any charges against him).
The story gets more intriguing – three days after his crucifixion it was reported that his tomb was empty and that he was seen alive. Check your historical sources and you will find sufficient eye witness evidence to this fact to persuade any court of law. Books have been written establishing the fact of his resurrection by a variety of intelligent and legal minds. Here are some authors you might want to check out. Gilbert West, English Poet, Frank Morison (his real name was Albert Henry Ross. He was Lawyer, Journalist & Author but wrote under a pseudonym), Professor Simon Greenleaf, American lawyer & Harvard Royal Professor of Law, Josh McDowell, Lawyer and Lee Strobel, Lawyer and Journalist to name a few (see the end of the blog for more details). Finally to complete the life of Christ on eart It is reported that he returned to heaven from Earth some 40 days after his resurrection.
Be honest with me – what do you make of this story. Crazy, impossible, legend!!
It sounds like it but why then would men die for this believe? Why do Christians believe that the death of Jesus somehow atoned for sin and evil? How have criminals been transformed through faith in Jesus? How is it possible that true Christianity has genuinely transformed societies?
Weighing The Evidence
The evidence that there is more to this than meets the eye goes on and on? Ignoring it won’t change the truth but it will leave you exposed to the fact that God intervened in history, that he sent a message and you refused to listen.
It is obvious that all is not right with the world! Evil exists! We have a moral conscious and an awareness of right and wrong! Spontaneous creation is impossible! There must be a creator! There is and he has communicated to us through his word, the Bible and through His Son, Jesus.
It is vital that we know the truth and the truth will make us free. This is too big an issue to ignore.
Please listen once again to the statements of scripture.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John 14:6 (the Bible).
Christ is the Saviour of sinners. He died to make full payment for our sins. He rose from the dead to demonstrate that he has paid the price in full, conquered death and offers eternal life to each person who repents (turns from their sin) and trusts Him to save them.
Britannica reports that the first historical record of Crucifixion was about 519 BC when “Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, crucifixion)
Some further detail is given in “The Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary”, Rev. Ed., 1975: CROSS… Crucifixion is first attested among the Persians (cf. Herodotus, Hist. i.128.2; iii.132.2, 159.1), perhaps derived from the Assyrian impalement. It was later employed by the Greeks, especially Alexander the Great, and by the Carthaginians, from whom the Romans adapted the practice as a punishment for slaves and non-citizens, and occasionaly for citizens guilty of treason. Although in the Old Testament the corpses of blasphemers or idolaters punished by stoning might be handged “on a tree” as further humiliation (Deut. 21:23), actual crucifixion was not introduced in Palestine until Hellenistic times. The Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes crucified those Jews who would not accept hellenization (Josephus Ant.xii.240-41; cf 1 Macc. 1:44-50).
Note re: people who investigated the resurrection
Gilbert West (1703-1756)
Gilbert West was included in Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets. As a student at Oxford, West set out to debunk the Bible’s account of Christ’s resurrection. Instead, having proved to himself that Christ did rise from the dead, he was converted. West published his conclusions in the book Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1747). On the fly-leaf he had the following printed: “Blame not before thou hast examined the truth.”
Albert Henry Ross (Frank Morison) (1881-1950)
Albert Ross was a lawyer, journalist, and novelist who grew up in Stratford-on-Avon, England. He was deeply affected by the skepticism of the times, particularly the attacks on the Bible by theological liberalism and Darwinism. After becoming a lawyer, he set out to write a book to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead, he was converted and wrote a book in defense of the resurrection entitled WHO MOVED THE STONE? — which is still in print today. He wrote the book under the name of Frank Morison.
Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853)
Simon Greenleaf, Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, was one of the most celebrated legal minds in American history. His Treatise on the Law of Evidence “is still considered the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure.”
As a law professor, he determined to expose the “myth” of the resurrection of Christ once and for all, but his thorough examination forced him to conclude, instead, that Jesus did rise from the dead. In 1846 he published An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.
Thus, one of the most celebrated minds in the legal profession of the past two centuries took the resurrection of Christ to trial, diligently examined the evidence, and judged it to be an established fact of history! And this was in spite of the fact that he began his investigation as a skeptic.
One of Greenleaf’s points is that nothing but the resurrection itself can explain the dramatic change in Christ’s disciples and their willingness to suffer and die for their testimony.
Josh McDowell, the author of Evidence That Demands a Verdict, was a skeptic when he entered university to pursue a law degree. There he met some Christians who challenged him to examine the evidence for the Bible and Jesus Christ.
Lee Strobel has a law degree from Yale University and worked as an investigative reporter for one of America’s largest newspapers, the Chicago Tribune. He was an atheist. After his wife became a Christian in 1979, he was upset at her decision and determined to prove that the Bible is not true and that Jesus Christ is not the Son God. For two years he pursued this objective, using all of his legal and journalistic skills, but in the end he had proved to himself that the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus rose from the dead. He became a Christian in 1981 and has since written many books defending the Christian faith.
“It wasn’t a phone call from an informant that prompted me to reexamine the case for Christ. It was my wife. Leslie stunned me in the autumn of 1979 by announcing that she had become a Christian. I rolled my eyes and braced for the worst, feeling like the victim of a bait-and-switch scam. I had married one Leslie–the fun Leslie, the carefree Leslie, the risk-taking Leslie–and now I feared she was going to turn into some sort of sexually repressed prude who would trade our upwardly mobile lifestyle for all-night prayer vigils and volunteer work in grimy soup kitchens.
“Instead I was pleasantly surprised–even fascinated–by the fundamental changes in her character, her integrity, and her personal confidence. Eventually I wanted to get to the bottom of what was prompting these subtle but significant shifts in my wife’s attitudes, so I launched an all-out investigation into the facts surrounding the case for Christianity.
For more information or to get in touch with Stephen visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk
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Images Courtesy of:
Gymnasium – tpsdave
Grandfather – bryandilts
Dolls – congerdesign
Sunset & Crosses – geralt
Bible – Pexels
The Crucifixion – Jacopo Bellini