Where can we see Jesus today?
Question: Where can we see evidence of Jesus today? Are there any facts?
Answer: Yes, facts past and present, much more than many realise...
HISTORICAL FACTS still apply for today.
If facts are true, it doesn’t matter when they were discovered.
Historians exist to get to past facts, like the existence of Jesus.
The facts on the Onepager are not arguments from gaps we don’t have, but from facts we DO have.
And those facts together point to Jesus’ presence not only in the past but today as well. They support the present realities of: a Creator, and of sin, the Bible’s reliability and revelation, Jesus's life, death, resurrection, ascension, & Spiritual presence, including in our present day. These facts provide a reasonable foundation for the Christian worldview for today’s world.
Moreover these facts still apply to YOU today: your existence is evidence of God, your life, every breath you take, are facts. Your Bible reliably explains your sin, the struggle & grace in your life, and it establishes facts about your saviour. Such facts from the past remain relevant to what’s true in the present in your life.
NEW FACTS keep arising today.
-Archaeological finds which increasingly confirm the places and events of the Bible.
-Mendel’s Accountant, shows the deleterious effects of mutations over time, disproving evolution as a source of complexity.
-Problems with uniformitarian long-age calculations, support the cataclysmic events in the Biblical worldview.
Modern CONSEQUENCES continue to prove Biblical facts.
-Consequences of Godly morals, vs self-centred ones.
-Consequences of civilisations operating "under God” according to the Bible, vs "under self"
-Consequences of a Biblical worldview are consistently better for individuals, families, politics, war, science, economics, psychology, ethics - and the consequences are often life & death. This suggests that the Jesus worldview is best aligned with reality. (ie. true.)
Modern EXPERIENCES of the living Jesus continue to occur.
Just because they are subjective to each individual doesn’t mean they aren’t also objectively real. Rather, their ongoing occurrence invites deeper investigation. Upon investigation we find:
-Details, nuance, and life-directing impacts.
-Agreement with the descriptions & character of the Biblical Jesus.
-They occur across cultures and ethnicities - they don’t arise merely out of culture but also despite culture.
-Experiences consistently include answers to prayer, awareness of spiritual presence, spiritual inspiration & guidance, deliverance from bondages, and healings - physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational.
-They are widespread, with billions reporting similar encounters, and ongoing relationships, with the life-giving Spirit of Jesus.
-An open offer to all people to experience this Jesus too. These experiences can be qualitatively compared with others, and to the Bible. So the claim is that Jesus is an objective reality you can meet for yourself.
Why doesn't EVERYONE accept these facts?
Hesitations may include:
-Traumas that have left people emotionally wounded, resulting in a mindset of basic distrust, fear, bitterness, rejection, or the like. Understandably this makes them reluctant to entrust themselves to God. Emotional healing is needed.
-Ignorance of the facts, and/or their conclusions. Education can help.
-Self-centredness: devotion to their own self-driven lifestyle & the control to which they have become addicted/accustomed. Facing one’s own wilfulness is very hard.
-Self-delusion is surprisingly easy. Even truths are often misused for false conclusions - for example, “God has never shown himself to me.” True in the sense that God hasn’t made a display to force a concession out of that person, this truth can be misused for the false conclusion that the creator therefore does not exist. Yet it remains very possible that the creator exists unseen, and even for good reasons. There are many such misuses of truth statements which we must learn to recognise as self-delusion.
-Peer pressure, pride coupled with fear of rejection, can make a person deny truths they would rationally accept in less emotionally threatening circumstances. (See Peter’s denials.) A healthy sense of identity will help.
-Fear of exploring the facts lest discovering Jesus is alive means a significant change to their worldview and lifestyle. Courage to learn is needed, to find and face the truth.
-Fear of the risk that they might miss out on an experience of Jesus, so it’s safer not to take the risk. Courage to trust is needed, enough to really pray.
Why doesn’t God just "poke his head out of heaven" and "definitively PROVE" himself to us all?
"Is He toying with us, playing some kind of cosmic game of hide & seek? Offering himself, then hiding from us?" Well, that’s one (perhaps bitter-&-twisted) way to look at it. But here are some other ways to look at it:
1. How much MORE evidence do we really need?
Truthfully we already have more than enough evidence: the existence of all physical things, design, life, complexity, universal altruism, conscience, free-agency, reason, relationship, religion, archaeology, history of the highest order, reliable records of his personal presence and action, spiritual experiences to today, all matching the Bible. Plus the offer of your own personal relationship with his Spirit. Outside of those things… what else is there!
2. Would some plain, spiritual, revelation REALLY make us believe?
-If it happened to someone else, couldn’t I still merely discount it as “just another subjective experience”?
-If it happened to me, couldn’t I just rationalise it away as, “just some psychotic episode"?
-If it happened to a lot of us at the same time… as happened with Jesus’s miracles before his death, with his resurrection appearances, and with his Spirit's manifestations from Pentecost onwards... all those eyewitnesses were still ignored by many.
As Jesus said in one of his stories, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’
3. The free agency of each person’s heart plays a key role, their disposition, whether they WANT to face up to Jesus.
- If they DO want to meet and serve Jesus, there are more than enough facts to go on, they aren’t hidden, they can find them, and they can pray.
- If they DON'T want to meet Jesus, then humans are very capable of ignoring or rationalising away from God. If that is what they want, then the creator allows them room to do that. For the Supreme Being of the Universe to allow this seems remarkably gentle and humble.
TURNING AWAY also has consequences to consider
God’s ultimate plan is to gather the people who will come to him, to be with him forever. But those who pull away will not be in that gathering.
That’s why Romans 1 says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
We have observed all of this happening in our time too. And it simply constitutes further evidence for the truth of God’s word.
Meet Jesus EVERYWHERE
What do I do if I want to meet Jesus? Once I've paid attention to these many facts, how do I start a real relationship with Jesus?
Simply tell the ever-present spirit of Jesus that you want to do things his way from now on, and ask him to show you what that is.
LOOK & Listen for his answers.
Some places to look are obvious: read the Bible, and ask other Christians about what is already very clear, that he is likely to do with you.
Some listening takes practice. Our modern world is crammed with voices & signals throwing so much information at us, that we now actually have to learn to unplug, declutter, be still and quiet, in order to sense God’s gentle presence and promptings. Then we can begin to learn to put off and put on: put off bad identities, habits of thinking, behaviour, addictions, and put on Christ-filled identities, habits of thinking & conduct.
DO what he says.
Follow his higher purposes for our lives. Try it and see how you deepen and grow. Core practices include time with him, time with other believers, and time with other people as salt and light in the world. The aim is not legalistic obedience, but closer togetherness. You can learn to meet with Jesus everywhere you go, in everything you do. When it's his will, you will encounter his pleasure and joy in it. When it’s not his will, you will find he challenges you there, to put off that thing and put on something better.
Colossians 1 says, "For in him ALL THINGS were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
When we learn to meet with Jesus at all times, in all places, literally in all things, then the evidence for Jesus becomes clear in the air we breathe, our very life. The factual truths outside of us merely confirm the living Truth inside of us. It turns out that evidence for Jesus is actually... in all things.
And all these facts become clearer for those with eyes looking to see them.
So it turns out that the first step to RECOGNISE him is actually in your heart, your basic motivation. Or as Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Comments are closed.