With Christmas approaching, most people are aware that the holiday exists to celebrate the day our Savior, Jesus Christ, came into the world in human form. But even with such awareness, here in the United States, it seems that many people would rather ignore the religious facet of Christmas in favor of a more generic celebration centered on the commercial aspect. They will happily take the gifts, the paid days off from work, and the meals shared with family, but they would rather not discuss the real reason we celebrate.
This is most unfortunate. When people push away the real reason for the celebration, they experience all the stress of the holiday season without understanding and benefitting from the object of the celebration which, of course, is Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, the third person of the trinity who, for a time, humbled himself by coming to earth in human form and living among us. He experienced growing up, obeying his parents, and working for his father. He resisted temptation, confronted the wrongs of the religious leaders of the day, performed miracles, taught the people, and when the time came, suffered a horrifying death that all of us, no matter where we live, would find appalling in this day and age. It’s not a myth or fairy tale; it is actual history.
So if I could tell these people just one thing as Christmas approaches, it’s this: there were eyewitnesses. Lots of them. There were people who saw, heard, and testified to the truth of the Gospel narratives. The apostle Peter writes this: “For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes. And he received honor and glory from God the Father when God’s glorious voice called down from heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son, I am fully pleased with him.’ We ourselves heard the voice when we were there with him on the holy mountain.” (2Peter 1:16-18)
Notice closely what Peter is saying. First, he says “We have seen…”. He is remembering what is commonly referred to as the transfiguration (read Matthew 17:1-13) and he was there with James and John. So three eyewitnesses. And what did they see? The Bible says Jesus’ appearance changed, his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became dazzling white. And then Moses and Elijah, who had long been departed from the earth, were standing next to Jesus talking with him. This is an incredible, otherwordly experience and Peter, James, and John saw this happen with their own eyes. And then God spoke from heaven and they heard his voice. The Bible recounts that Peter, James, and John were terrified by this experience as one might expect they would be.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, there were eyewitnesses. People who stood there and watched him suffer and die. And people who watched as the Roman guards thrust a sword into his side to be sure he was really dead. And eyewitnesses who saw him buried in the cave that was later sealed and guarded by highly trained military men. And when Jesus rose from that grave and walked the earth again, there were eyewitnesses. People such as Mary Magdalene (John 20:14-17) and Thomas (John 20:24-29), and the seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee, with whom he went fishing (John 21:1-14). And the Apostle Paul tells us the risen Jesus was seen by more than 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:5-8), many of whom were still alive at the time he wrote his letter.
That is a lot of eyewitnesses. And it’s only a partial list of the people who saw Jesus, walked with him, listened to him, were healed by him, or otherwise interacted with him right here on earth. In any court of law, this would be overwhelming evidence that could not be denied. And we are all eyewitnesses, too. Not of Jesus Christ in the flesh, but of the existence of God. For the Bible tells us clearly: “…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.” (Romans 1:19-20)
And so I would tell anyone who would ignore the real reason we celebrate Christmas that they are willfully ignoring the facts. Jesus is real, he walked this earth, he died in our place for our sins, and he rose again. Jesus is God. The evidence is simply overwhelming.
How about you? Are you preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, or are you ignoring the evidence and choosing unbelief? The choice is yours. If you would like to know more about the evidence for Jesus Christ, please contact us at ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com. We will be happy to help you and/or recommend resources for further information.
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[…] another blog I spoke of eyewitnesses (to read it, click here). The story of Jesus’ birth is full of eyewitness testimony. We have Mary, who relates her […]