Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12
Something that I find interesting when I speak to, correspond with or read about unbelievers is the common refrain that there just is not enough evidence to believe in God or Jesus. I personally do not believe it lack of evidence but a refusal to accept the evidence that is the real cause of their unbelief. No other person in antiquity has as many sources as close to their life and death as Jesus. No other person in antiquity has as many eyewitness accounts written within 20 to 60 years of their life as Jesus. We have two accounts written by eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and death, Matthew and John. We have two more accounts written by close followers of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and death, Mark a follower of Peter and Luke a traveling companion of Paul. Then we have Paul’s letters. While not a close follower during Jesus’ life, it is probably a certainty that Paul the known as Saul, knew of Jesus. Paul was an eyewitness to the risen Jesus and wrote over half of the New Testament. Add to that the other letters in the New Testament and the other historical accounts, Josephus, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger, there is ample evidence for Jesus’ existence and claims. All these accounts were written during the lifetimes of people who if they wanted to could have easily disputed the claims about Jesus.
I find Luke to be especially compelling. The historical details he includes in his Gospel and well as the Book of Acts is amazing. From obscure titles to the geography of the Mediterranean world at the time he is correct. I find it odd that Luke would be accurate in the tiny details yet be wrong about the big events he wrote about.
The simple fact is that when we are looking about any historical figure we are left with only writings of their existence. Once the contemporaries and the next generation have passed we no longer have witnesses that actually saw the person. Even then we have no tangible proof, read scientific proof. Historical events cannot be proved to a scientific certainty. What we are left with is legal proof, a preponderance of the evidence. I have neither the time or space to delve into all the evidence and that has been done much more capably by others, see Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ, or Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict or the newer Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace.
Yet people who refuse to believe the evidence about Jesus have no problems believing that Alexander the Great conquered the known world even though the earliest accounts were written over four hundred years after Alexander’s death. When it comes to history we all rely on the accounts of others. Not that there is no place for skepticism. I want evidence for what I believe. What I have a problem with is when people selectively ignore the evidence because it does not fit into their worldview. As Paul writes they refuse to believe the truth and will not be saved.
Have a blessed day,