Despite Christians around the world dying for their faith in ever increasing numbers, we are seeing people across the globe turning to follow Jesus Christ. But which Jesus Christ do you want? Isn’t there only one? In fact, if we look around us, there are many. I see statues of Jesus in some churches, pictures of him on walls in homes. I hear his name mentioned in more than one conversation a day, more often as an exclamation than a person. Others connect Jesus with nothing more than hot cross buns and Easter eggs.
But, do all these forms point to the same person? The Jesus written about in the Quran is quite different to the Jesus written about in the Bible. To Muslims, Jesus was a prophet; to Christians he is the Son of God. To Muslims Jesus did not die; to Christians he not only died, but was raised to life!
So, will the real Jesus please stand up! Many books have been written by well qualified people seeking to prove the Jesus of the Bible did not exist. In their quest to point out the errors they have used the most sophisticated procedures available. But many of these sceptics have turned to follow Jesus, thoroughly convinced what they have discovered is true and feasible.
The great British philosopher and self-described “reluctant convert”, C S Lewis, said we cannot ignore Jesus – he won’t let us. Instead, each of us are left to choose one of three options: either Jesus’ claims were lies and he went to his grave believing his own lie, or he was a lunatic and went the same way, or he was who he said he was, the Son of God. Historical records show Jesus was indeed executed. Equally reliable sources also tell us he was seen by many eye witnesses after he was raised from the dead. Most of Jesus contemporaries suffered torture and death because they refused to denounce the Jesus of the Bible. However, the greatest proof that Jesus is alive is surely the life-changing difference he makes in a person’s life when they surrender to his kingship, seek forgiveness for their rebellion against God and seek to follow him.
Yes, the Bible account of Jesus has stood the test of time. Nonetheless, it requires faith and permission on the part of the believer to allow God’s Spirit to make the changes in one’s life. Only then can we declare, as they did of old, “Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!”