If You Believe In The Meteor, You Should Believe in Jesus
Last week a meteor struck our planet. I’m willing to bet that sentence informed absolutely no one. In fact within the “twitterverse” we now inhabit, a meteor hitting our planet last Friday is now old news, consumed by our unquenchable appetite for the newest and more outlandish (another topic for another day). It would be nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t know about the meteor and doesn’t believe that it did in fact take place.
But you know what is interesting? There are people who report seeing things like this on a daily basis. There are supposed UFO sightings happening everywhere, and a quick Google search will reveal multiple accounts, photographs, and even videos of alleged events. So why are these so quickly dismissed? What is the difference between last weeks flying object that you’d have to be silly to deny, and all the other flying objects that you’d have to be silly to believe? It’s easy. One is accompanied by overwhelming, independent, corroborating, witness accounts, and the others are always one person trying to convince everyone what he or she saw.
Last week’s meteor was devastating to conspiracy theorists. I think it goes to show us all that if a UFO actually does show up some day, a lot of people are going to see it. It will be all over youtube, twitter, facebook, and cable news – if a UFO shows up in our skies, we will know it.
This is a helpful way to think about the uniqueness of the Bible, which tragically gets lumped together with other sacred books. Any historian will tell you there is a significant difference between the Christian Scriptures and other revelations. For example, when you study the history that surrounds the formation of the Quran and Book of Mormon, they have the feel of UFO sightings. When you study the history around the formation of the New Testament, it has the feel of a meteor hitting the earth.
How did the Quran come about? The prophet Muhammad went into a cave, emerged with divine revelation, and throughout the next 23 years added new revelation. After his life, these revelations were composed into a book, which became the Quran. What about the Book of Mormon? An angel came to Joseph Smith and told him about secret tablets that were hidden nearby. He found these, translated the engravings of an unknown language into English, and this became the Book of Mormon.
Compare that to the New Testament gospels. Not one word is written by the central character, Jesus Christ. He didn’t retreat to some mysterious place of revelation, He didn’t discover some hidden secret to give to the world, He didn’t transcribe something from an angel – Jesus just was. He was the history-shaping reality about which many testified. The New Testament is a compilation of these testimonies – different witnesses concerning Jesus of Nazareth.
Historically speaking, these accounts are remarkable. If they testified about anyone other than Jesus of Nazareth, then not a detail of the testimony would be disputed. (For more discussion on this topic I recommend Tim Keller)
And most remarkable of all is the historical testimony of His resurrection. A lot of excellent scholarship has shown that the evidence for the resurrection is so overwhelming that the burden of proof is squarely on the shoulders of anyone who wishes to argue against this historical reality. (N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God has become the standard of excellence in this area)
And so historically speaking, to dismiss other sacred books as conspiracies and nothing more would certainly be appropriate, some would even say wise. To dismiss the New Testament accounts would be inappropriate and extremely unwise.
Just over 2000 years ago something happened to this world. Jesus of Nazareth and His resurrection happened. He undeniably stands alone as the central historical event of all time. The question for all of us then becomes … what will we do with the undeniable reality of Jesus Christ?