|Back to Chapter 1,
One night I went to Fresno State University and ended up talking
with a man by the name of Bob. I shared
with him. When I got to the two kinds of lives on p. 11, he told
me he was in the middle. I asked him whether or not he had ever
received Jesus Christ as his savior and Lord. He said, "No. I am an
atheist." He believed that whatever was right for the individual was
right. I told him that, that was an interesting position. I then
said to Bob,
Bob, lets clarify something. Albert Einstine, one of the most
brilliant men of our time, said that the most intelligent person in
the world does not know one-tenth of one percent of all the
knowledge of the universe. Lets say you knew that one-tenth of one
percent. In order for you to say with authority that there is no God
you would have to claim to have all knowledge, to have traveled
throughout the whole universe and concluded that there is no God.
Can you make that claim?
Then your not really an atheist. An agnostic maybe.
Well I do not like to put labels on things.
Bob, saying you are an agnostic simply means you do not know whether
there is a God or not. Bob, what could prove to us whether there was
a God or not? Any ideas?
I donít know.
Bob, Jesus claimed to be God. When asked how He could prove not only
that claim but also all other claims he made, such as He was the
only way to God, the light of the world, etcetera, he replied back
by looking his inquirers right in the eye and said to them,
Kill Me and I will come back from the dead three days later to prove
to You that My claims about Myself are true. You know Bob,
even Jesusí disciples had doubts about Jesusí claims and the
literalness of the Old Testament which Jesus always drew his
authority from, but after Jesus rose from the dead the Bible says
that the disciples not only believed in the literalness of the Old
Testament but also every Word Jesus had spoken.
"When therefore He was raised
from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they
believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken."
You see Bob,
Christianity is not a blind leap into the dark. It is based on solid
historical fact. Jesus came back from the dead and the Apostle Paul
tells us that besides himself that there where over 512 other
witnesses to the fact of His Physical Resurrection. He writes in
"And that He appeared to
Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five
hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until Now,
but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all
the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He
appeared to me also."
Because most of these people
were still alive when Paul wrote this letter to Corinthia, Paulís
claims could be easily verified. No one ever stepped forward to
refute Paulís claims because what he said was absolutely true and
common knowledge at the time.
It was nothing but mass hysteria.
Bob, I could see how that might be a good argument if the
five-hundred and twelve people only saw what they thought might have
been Jesus from a distance and for a moment and then he was gone,
but the Bible tells us that not only did Jesus rise from the dead
and appear to more than five-hundred and twelve people but that
after His resurrection he continued to walk, talk, eat and
fellowship with these people for forty days.
"To these He also presented
Himself alive, after His suffering by many convincing proofs,
appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking
of the things concerning the kingdom of God."
Forty days gave these people
plenty of opportunity to prove to themselves whether Jesus really
did come back from the dead. The conclusion: He did
and every one of His Apostles died a martyrs death to prove that
claim except the Apostle John who was exiled on the Island of Patmos
in the Aegean Sea where he died of old age.
Ya, I guess that rules out mass hysteria.
The fact of Jesusí Physical Resurrection is one of the most reliable
facts of history. The testimony of Jesusí resurrection wasnít just
recorded by Jesusí disciples either. Josephus, the recognized Roman
Historian by Rome, wrote in his chronicles about Jesus (which I
showed him from a pamphlet I had with me called,
"Now there was about
this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for
he was a doer of wonderful works,
a teacher of such men as receive the truth with
pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the
Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him
to the cross, upon his impeachment by the principal man among us,
those who had loved Him from the first did not forsake him,
for he appeared to them alive on the third day,
as the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other
wonderful things about him. And even now, the race of Christians, so
named from Him, has not died out."50/379
Bob, no other
religious man of history or philosopher or scientist has ever come
back from the dead to prove his claims. Plato is dead. Socrates is
dead. Buddha is dead. Mohammed is dead. Darwin is still in the
grave. Only Jesus came back from the dead to prove to us that the
Bible, Godís Word, is absolutely reliable and true truth and that
His claims about Himself are absolutely true, that He is God who
became flesh and died on the cross to pay sins penalty for You and
Well I am happy where I am at.
Well Bob, let me share with you how to receive Jesus Christ when you
are ready to make that decision.
Bob no longer denied the
reality of Jesusí claims and who he was. He could not deny the
evidence that was before him. I went through the prayer of salvation
with him and explained to him what it meant. I told him that when he
was ready to receive Jesus all he had to do was turn to Jesus and
ask him to come into His
life and be His Lord
and Savior. I further explained to Him that Jesus really loved him,
that he really did have a plan for his life and that He wanted to
enter into a personal relationship with him. I then gave him the
Godís Word Absolutely.
I thanked him for his time and told him that if he ever wanted to
just talk or needed prayer for something to feel free to call me.
Because of my years
of sharing the Gospel, I could tell by his attitude at the beginning
that he probably would not receive Christ that day. So my main
concern with Bob was to plant a good seed. Not only was I able to
plant a good seed, but by the time I was done, Bob was no longer
denying Godís existence or the truth of the Gospel. That is the
first and strongest step to conversion. What was keeping Bob from
receiving Christ at this point was what the real issue was in the
first place: not his atheism, but not wanting Jesus to rule over him
as Lord. That was the real issue. This was made clear when he said,
I am happy where I am at. In a case like this all you
can do is try to communicate clearly what it means to be a Christian
and how to become one. If you accomplish that, you have accomplished
what Jesus wanted you to do. What the person does with that
knowledge is now between him and God. The Holy Spirit and Bobís
conscience will take it from there. When I left Bob, he no longer
was claiming to be an atheist.
Bibliography & Notes
Section 6 Chapters