If you received what appeared to be an official email from the IRS saying that you owed an additional $50,000 in taxes this year, would you just delete it?
If you got a letter in the mail on Golden State Warriors stationary inviting you to meet Stephen Curry before their next home game, would you just throw it away? (Please insert into this scenario anyone you’d be excited to meet.)
In either hypothetical situation, you may not believe the claim is legitimate, but you’d at least do a nominal investigation. Some sort of response. An email. A phone call. Something. Any thoughtful person would. The magnitude of the claim and its impact on you if true is just too big. If the IRS email is legit, you could go to jail for not responding. And if the Golden State Warriors invite is real, you would miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime if you didn’t look into it.
Again, because of the magnitude of the claim and the magnitude of the impact, any thoughtful person would have to investigate. Now let’s apply this logic to a different, more important situation.
If you wrote a list of people who claimed to be God, who would be on that list? David Koresh, Jesus of Nazareth, Jim Jones, Kanye West…admittedly, that’s as far as I get without an internet search. If you do the search, you’ll find a group of people most of whom seem mentally unbalanced.
If you also wrote a list of people who have had the greatest impact on the world, who would be on that list? Aristotle, Mohammad, Jesus of Nazareth, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama…this list is up for debate. It’s kind of a fun debate actually.
However, there is only one person unequivocally on both lists. Jesus of Nazareth. The man claimed to be God and called people to believe in him for salvation — to escape divine judgment and receive eternal life. Huge claim! The man also continues to profoundly impact society, culture, and people in just about every nation on earth. Huge impact!
Because of the magnitude of his claim and his impact, Jesus requires investigation. To dismiss him completely, you better not just think he isn’t God…you better know it. The potential impact on your life is too important to ignore. Therefore, investigate. Put all cultural, political, and religious baggage and presuppositions aside, and investigate the facts behind the life, the claims, and the impact of Jesus. Any thoughtful person has to.
A helpful resource to this investigation is a teaching by Dr. Timothy Keller called “Who is this Jesus?” In it, he explores the facts and the possible conclusions associated with Jesus. Listen to it here.