YOU DESERVE AN ANSWER to the punch-in-the-gut question I asked in Tuesday’s article, “When Jesus sounds like a myth.”
“There are stories in the Bible about Jesus that, as far as many Bible newcomers are concerned, sound like Greek myths. Here’s the question: Why would we believe stories about Jesus that sound like stories a crazy person would believe?”
After raising that question, I took readers on a pagan’s tour through the story of Jesus walking on the water. I read it and reacted to it along the way as I suspect some nonbelievers would.
Honestly, it’s hard for even some veteran Christians to read a miracle story like this without wondering if it’s a huge exaggeration that started with a kernel of truth or a tall story told by a big bag of wind over a big bag of wine.
I got responses from readers
“I really depend on my belief that God can do anything and sometimes I know that’s all I can depend on. So, in the miracles that we read in the Bible, whether they are “stretches” of what happened or firsthand reports, my Christian outlook is to take great comfort in God’s overwhelming power to provide for all of His beloved children.”
“We as humans have limitations where God does not and if he chooses he can help us walk on water too.”
“Your question ‘Why would we believe stories about Jesus that sound like stories a crazy person would believe?’ really hit home this morning.
I feel this struggle in my work (I translate Bible teaching materials into French). I live in a kind of a bubble (I work from home, all my extended family are believers, I go to church, etc.) so I am not exposed to people actually questioning my beliefs about Jesus and the Bible. But I do quite a good job at it myself.
Why is it, I wonder, that I keep on translating Bible stuff (I am educated, I got a B.A.)? Why do I write plays and poems and devotionals and conferences that are all Bible-based and Jesus-centered? I have been doing that for 38 years. Yet, I still feel I am foolish when I think too much about it.
You know, the story of Jesus walking on the water is just as ‘unbelievable’ as God creating the world, or as a prophet being caught up to heaven in a chariot of fire, or even as Jesus raising from the dead. The “worst” story, to my opinion, is that of the rapture: Jesus will come back and take us up to heaven! I mean, that is nonsense. We Christians are just crazy, out of our minds.
Jesus DOES sound like a myth. God-man. Sinless. Able to bring people back to life. Kind of like a phoenix (‘real’ myth!) raising to life from ashes.
‘Why would we believe stories about Jesus that sound like stories a crazy person would believe?’
I am (almost) sorry to say that, but it boils down to faith. At least, for me. One day, the Author of the Book spoke to my heart. I felt my need to be redeemed, and Jesus was the Redeemer, so I put my trust in him and in his Word. I chose to trust that what’s in that Book is true. I read it, studied it, felt its changing power within me. It is the Spirit of God who convinces of the veracity of the things of God.
And maybe—maybe—I would tell skeptics ‘Try it. Try Jesus, honestly. Not with an arrogant attitude. Consider Jesus’ words, assume they are true. Consider his actions, assume they are real. Consider him a real person, and ask him to show you what he’d like you to see. Open your heart to what you might discover.’ (God said he will make himself known to those who seek him with a sincere heart—so I would trust that promise of His.)”
I have learned long ago, especially with all these “trolls” on Social Media, that questions of “faith” will never be answered with those who have not been regenerated. So I take the Presuppositional approach:
1) God is
2) God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures
You can give proofs until you are blue in the face. The Grace of God brings Faith (a reasonable trusting faith) and God regenerates the heart. So I didn’t take the bait yesterday Lol!
Stephen M. Miller
Here’s how I think the Presuppositional approach translates to the people God loves who are outside the faith:
• I presume there’s a God.
• I presume he controlled what was said about him in the Bible.
To which some might say, “Methinks thou dost presume too much.”
I believe it’s great when we can get to a point in our spiritual journey that we can take that presumptious leap of faith. But people outside the faith—the folks who became the target of Jesus’ ministry, and ours—want to know why we’re jumping, why we presume there’s a God, and why we can’t explain our faith in a way that enables them to understand it.
They understand what’s behind the faith we show when we turn on a light switch. I think they’d like to understand what’s behind the faith we exhibit in our belief that God turned on the lights of the universe.
If it takes talking until we’re blue in the face, then perhaps Christians should look more like the Blue Man Group.
What’s that line in the Galaxy Quest movie? Something like “Never surrender. Never give up. Fly on until we’re out of oxygen and blue in the face.”
Okay, I made up that last part.
Peace to you, Wayne.