Five Reasons to Believe in Jesus
What are the odds that someone could make the following five predictions about a future President of the United States and be correct? “He will be a descendent of Abraham Lincoln, born in Bowling Green, Kentucky with blue eyes, but his parents will take him to Canada for a couple of years, then settle in Columbus, Ohio.”
Sounds like a longshot, doesn’t it? Yet, that’s exactly the kind of specificity we find in Matthew chapters 1 and 2. The Bible predicted that the Messiah would 1) come from the family line of King David, 2) be born to a virgin, 3) in Bethlehem, 4) live in Egypt, and 5) grow up in Nazareth. Let’s take a closer look…
- Come from the line of David (Isaiah 9:7 predicted this circa 700 BC). Joseph was the descendant of David, not Mary (Matthew 1:1, 16). That means it was more important for Joseph to be his earthly father than for Mary to be his mother! But Joseph had decided to divorce her (Matthew 1:19). God sent an angel who convinced Joseph to change his mind, preserving the prophecy (Matthew 1:20-24).
- Be born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 predicted this circa 700 BC). Joseph and Mary didn’t consummate their marriage until after Jesus was born (Matthew 1:25, Luke 1:34).
- Be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 predicted this circa 700 BC). Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem. So God sovereignly orchestrated Caesar Augustus to take a census of the entire Roman Empire. To complete the census, he made everyone go to their hometown which, for Joseph, was Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-6, Luke 2:1-4).
- Come from of Egypt (Hosea 11:1 predicted this circa 720 BC). King Herod wanted to kill the predicted Messianic child, so an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed him to take his wife and baby to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).
- Grow up in Nazareth (from Matthew 2:23, date unknown). When Herod died, an angel again appeared to Joseph and directed him back to Israel. But Herod’s son, Archelaus, was ruler, and Joseph was afraid, so he settled his family in Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23).
Personally, I find the fulfillment of these five predictions alone to be utterly convincing. Add in the other prophecies, eyewitness accounts, miracles, archaeological evidence, manuscript evidence, extra-biblical literature, the effect of Christ on world history, internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, and the testimony of changed lives, and the evidence overwhelms the senses.
If I can believe that Abraham Lincoln or Caesar Augustus or Napoleon existed and were who they said, am I not obliged by the weight of evidence to believe that Jesus existed and was who he said?
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, Ph.D.