|Volume 25 Number 5 May 2023
I Believe in Jesus
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
As Philip’s sermon came to its climax, the Ethiopian asked “…what hinders me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36 NKJV). The answer Philip gave and the response are insightful. “…‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’” (Acts 8:37). Every person who is baptized into Christ answers that same question with the same answer. If you were asked to explain what it means to believe in Jesus, how would you answer? I often think about how I could encapsulate exactly what I believe about Jesus. In a nutshell, here is what “I Believe in Jesus.”
I believe that Jesus is real! The evidence for the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was (but still is) a real person is overwhelming! This evidence clearly appears in the biblical accounts. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life, ̶ the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us; that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3 ESV). The Gospel accounts are permeated with evidence of what Jesus said and did before multitudes of people. Those words and deeds so affected the crowds that people daily thronged Jesus just to observe His ways and words. Extra-biblical sources, such as Flavus Josephus, attest to the reality of Jesus, and in one text refers to Jesus as “the Christ” Who was “marvelous in His deeds” (Antiquities 18.3.3). Polycarp, who lived in Smyrna in the 2nd Century, spoke of Jesus as a real person. Even the enemies of Jesus, like Celsus, a 2nd Century pagan philosopher, spoke of the real person Jesus, who “claimed” to be God’s Son. Only an irrational person would disagree that Jesus is real!
I believe that Jesus is relevant! Some may believe in Jesus but feel as though His ways and Words are no longer relevant today. I could not more vehemently disagree! Jesus is as relevant as He ever was! The answer to Peter’s question is still the same today, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68 NKJV). Jesus is still the One Who “fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Eternal life is still found only in the Son (1 John 5:11-12). Even though loads of people believe and protest differently, “…There is no other authority under heaven… by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Either Jesus is the way, or He is not (John 14:6). I believe He is!
I believe that Jesus is risen! The foundational fact of the Gospel and what we believe rests on the truth of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I am just not sure how anyone could fall in love with a dead Messiah. My Messiah is alive! The evidence of Jesus’ resurrection is truly tremendous, seen by so many eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). The evidence is so clear that even our Lord’s enemies had to falsify the facts with lies to attempt to hide the truth (Matthew 28:12-15). Just think of some of the small pieces of evidence that show the veracity of the resurrection of our King. The tomb was sealed with a huge rock, and the women were concerned about how they would get in to anoint the Lord’s body (Mark 16:1-4). Fact, the tomb was empty upon their arrival (Mark 16:4). Fact, the soldiers were paid a large sum of money to tell a lie (Matthew 28:12-15). Fact, none of the enemies of Jesus ever produced His body! Fact, though every one of the apostles were severely persecuted and all but John were martyred, they still stuck to the resurrection account! Fact, Saul of Tarsus went from church enemy #1 to church evangelist #1! A person has to become completely irrational to believe anything other than the body of Jesus raised on the third day!
I believe that Jesus is reigning! What kind of kingdom would there be without a king? A kingdom needs a king! Jesus is reigning in Heaven today according to eyewitness testimony (Acts 2:32-36). Consider carefully from this text, not only did Peter preach it, but all the other apostles also believed it and preached it, as well as the Holy Spirit who guided Luke to record it. When Jesus returns a second time, He will deliver up the kingdom, not set it up as premillennialism falsely teaches (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Paul was clear about the reign of Jesus in his day, because he affirmed that he and those in Colossi were currently in the kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Jesus clearly taught that some of the people in His day would still be alive when the kingdom came with power (Mark 9:1; cf. Acts 2). Undeniably, Jesus is reigning!
I believe that Jesus is returning! It should not really surprise us that some would not believe in the return of Jesus, because folks in Peter’s day were scoffing at it, too (2 Peter 3). Yet, scoffing does not change Scripture! To comfort His helpers, Jesus told them He was returning (John 14:1-4). To comfort the hurting, Paul told the Thessalonians that Jesus was returning (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). “…Two men… in white apparel” stood on Mt. Olivet, and their message was clear: Jesus will come again (Acts 1:10-11). Clearly, Jesus is returning!
To really believe in Jesus is to be transformed from the inside out! The Gospel of Jesus is not just a comforting message or a good message, but it is a true message! The truth centers around the One Who came and died for us. Without fear or shame, I loudly proclaim that I believe in Jesus! It is a matter of life and death. What about you; do you believe in Jesus?