Why Do We Follow Jesus?
May 15, 2019
by John Van der Werff, DDS
Why do you follow Jesus?
These are answers I hear a lot: The Bible says so. I grew up in a Christian home. I had an experience with God.
But we are told our lives will be more difficult. That does not sound good. There will be a reward, but not necessarily in this lifetime. Jesus is not always a “nice guy.” Do we want to believe what is pleasant and easy, or what is true? Even though I don’t like my phone bill, I know it is true.
Jesus claimed He is the Son of God in Mark 14:62. Why should we believe Him?
In 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, Paul said Jesus rose from the dead and, unless He did, we should be pitied. Jesus apparently spoke and acted like He was God, but did Jesus rise from the dead or not?
Many people claimed to have seen Jesus after He rose. Any current credible historian, Christian or not, will say Jesus was a real person, that the disciples believed He rose from the dead, and that he died on the cross and was buried. But an atheist will not say Jesus rose from the dead. If He was not resurrected, what happened to His body?
The most common possibilities discussed are:
- The enemies of Jesus, the Romans or the Jews, took it. But then when the disciples started to proclaim the news of the resurrection, the Romans or Jewish leaders would have brought out Jesus’ body.
- The disciples took it. But if we look at what happened to the disciples after they proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection, death by torture, how long would the conspiracy last?
- No one knows what happened to it. But it seems unlikely that a great teacher like Jesus would just disappear. We know where Buddha, Mohammad, Peter, Paul, and Thomas were buried. Why not Jesus? Furthermore, the Jewish leadership knew Jesus said He would return, so it seems unlikely they would allow His body to just disappear. They wanted to make sure they knew what happened to the body.
- The appearance was a hallucination. But hallucinations are not group activities. They are individual experiences.
The best explanation that fits the facts is that He did rise from the dead. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that more than 500 people saw Jesus. His resurrection would also explain the dramatic change of attitude of the disciples after Jesus’ death. This would include James, the skeptical brother of Jesus, Peter, who denied any association with Jesus, Thomas, also a skeptic, and Paul, a former killer of Christians.
If the evidence supports the resurrection of Jesus, then that would be great reason to follow Him.