Until I was sixteen years old, I was a church-goer — but not a believer. My dad stayed home Sunday mornings, but my mom rousted us boys out of bed and “dragged” us off to church.
I sang words that I didn’t believe in the junior choir until my voice changed, which gave me an excuse to leave that group. I also went through the motions of being confirmed and immersed to join the church. The pastor asked me, “Do you believe in Jesus as your Savior?” I said “yes” — but I didn’t. I merely followed the twelve-year-old “herd.”
When I was sixteen, we changed churches. Suddenly, the new preacher preached about the mysterious God of the Bible, who is three Persons in one God. He talked about Jesus as both fully God and fully man, who died a criminal’s death to forgive believers’ many imperfections. He said that Jesus rose from the dead three days later to give us life that will last forever.
My curiosity was aroused. I investigated the Bible to get evidence about his preaching, because I have a scientific mind.
- I found many predictions about Jesus were written hundreds of years before he was born. They came true during his life. Eyewitnesses described these events in the New Testament.
- I was impressed with Jesus’ many miracles, also reported by the eyewitnesses.
- I discovered the historical fact that the Jewish people of Jesus’ time fully expected that God would send the Messiah to kick the Roman-occupiers out of the land. They thought that he would then rule their country as their earthly king.
- I learned that the Pharisees and the priests had added many of their own rules to the Old Testament laws to control the people’s conduct.
- When Jesus came, he challenged the established order. This caused people’s ideas about him to be divided. Some believed in him; but many went along with the religious establishment, rejected him, and agreed to his death.
- Jesus’ followers became depressed and discouraged when he died on the Roman torture tree, an event that they saw with their own eyes. Their hopes to be his ruling advisors were dashed.
- Three days later, their lives changed to genuine joy and courage when they saw him alive from the dead. They held on to their story in spite of severe persecution from the Jews, Greeks, and Romans. You can’t get better witnesses of historical events than people who are willing to suffer and die for their testimonies.
Thus, I came to believe in the Bible, God, and Jesus. I still believe six decades later, in spite of many physical and emotional struggles. For these reasons, I believe that God “talked” me into believing in Jesus as my Rescuer, that he is the only true God, and that the Bible is God’s primary way of revealing himself to people.
What do you believe? How do you respond to my beliefs?