The Jesus Encounter

In recent weeks, I’ve enjoyed reading “The God Who is There” and “Escape from Reason”  by Francis Schaeffer.  A good brother in Christ recommended the books to me and I am grateful for the recommendation.  Schaeffer had a lot of good things to say about the devolution of Western thought that began in the early Renaissance and gained steam in late 18th/early 19th century philosophy.  His description of how the conclusions of philosophers trickle down to Christian theology through the fine arts is intriguing.   If that sort of thing interests you, I recommend the books.

In chapter six of “Escape from Reason,” Schaeffer cautions his readers, “The evangelical Christian needs to be careful because some evangelicals have recently been asserting that what matters is not setting out to prove or disprove propositions; what matters is an encounter with Jesus.”  He then goes on to say (in language that is unique to Schaeffer that I will paraphrase for the sake of clarity) that such a believer in God has moved into a non-rational state of belief.   Schaeffer asserts that this type of faith — one based upon experience rather than ration or verifiable historical evidence made available through the Word of God — is foreign to Bible.

I believe Schaeffer’s analysis and conclusion are accurate.  Let’s take just one “Jesus encounter” from the New Testament:  the resurrected Christ.  Without question, the eleven apostles experienced something in the weeks following the resurrection.  They believe they saw Jesus risen from the dead.  Some believe they were hallucinating.  Others call it a delusion or “conversion disorder.”  Nevertheless, they experienced something, something that profoundly changed the course of their lives.  How then do we know if what they said they experienced was real?  We look to the evidence that supports their claim.

  1. We know that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.  This is fact verified by those who witnessed the event as well as external sources such as Tacitus, Josephus, Mara Bar-Serapion, and the Jewish Talmud.  Even the most skeptical scholar agrees that the crucifixion of Jesus took place.  
  2. The early disciples were convinced to the point they were willing to die for what they believed they experienced.  History tells us that all of the apostles were killed for their faith except for John.
  3. Paul, an early enemy and persecutor of the Christian faith, converted when he saw the resurrected Jesus.  Paul abandoned a promising career as a Rabbi and endured a terrible life of hardship for the sake of his belief.
  4. James, the brother of Jesus, was skeptical of his brother’s claims during His ministry but later became a pillar in the Jerusalem church.   James was convinced by witnessing His risen brother.
  5. The tomb of Jesus was empty.  The eleven apostles began preaching the good news of Jesus’s resurrection less than two months after His crucifixion.  The tomb was near Jerusalem.  If in fact the body of Jesus was still in the tomb, those who opposed the apostles’ message could produce the body easily.   The arid climate would have preserved the body well enough to be recognized.  By accusing the disciples of stealing the body, the Jewish leadership indirectly admitted the tomb was empty.

In the Christian faith’s most important “Jesus encounter”, we find a number of historical facts that verify the claims of the apostles.  These truths lead me and many others to believe that Jesus’s resurrection is an historical event and not a subjective experience.

Perhaps you have “encountered Jesus.”  Or, perhaps you believe such an encounter is possible though you have never experienced it.  If you’re willing to do so, I would like to hear from you in the comments section below.  Where in the Bible can I turn to learn if such an experience is possible within the covenant of Christ?  What objective evidence can you offer that what you experienced was in fact an encounter with Jesus?  If you believe you encountered Jesus, I believe you experienced something.  However, I want to know how I can verify it was in fact Jesus you encountered.  I don’t want to miss something important!

Come, let’s reason together.

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Seeking to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ by talking with people who love the truth.

3 thoughts on “The Jesus Encounter”

  1. that was Taurus. Every 2150 years it moves backwards 1 Zodiac and is called the “Precession of the Equinoxes”. These times are called “ages”. We are in the Age of Pisces, the two fish, thus Jesus fed everyone with 2 fish, once came across 2 fishermen, and I’m sure you’ve seen the Jesus fish on cars. Moses signifies the age of Ares, the Ram, which is why he is depicted with a Ram’s horn. Before him, Taurus the Bull, which is why he orders everyone to kill each other when he sees them worshipping a golden bull as he ushered in the new age of Ares. The Bible says in Luke 22:10 when talking about the new age “And he said to them, Behold, when you are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters in.” Funny how Aquarius, the next Zodiac in line, is depicted as a man pouring out a jug of water. Food for thought. If that didn’t shake your faith, you are blind to reason. Wait you read “The Escape from Reason”. You are probably proud

    1. Hi George. I’m glad you commented. You have presented a lot of material that merits a response. Rather than looking at every challenge you raise, I propose we start with your initial statements:

      You say you know the crucifixion took place because of eyewitness accounts. What are the names of the witnesses and where is the hard evidence. You must say Allah is also real, because Muhammad said he saw him. What are the “historical facts” that support the claims of the Apostles? And they can’t come from the bible, or else the story of the Garden of Eden is “historical fact”. BTW, let me define loosely what “historical facts” are not. They are not what only Christians “know” (LOL) happened because it says so in the bible.

      The crucifixion of Jesus is a well established historical fact. There are a number of extra-Biblical sources that readily admit Jesus was crucified.

      When Pilate, upon hearing him [Jesus] accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified. Josephus, Antiquities 18.64

      Nero fastened the guilt [of the burning of Rome] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius a the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate. Tacitus, Annals 15.44

      “…on the eve of Passover Yeshu (a.k.a. Joshua in Hebrew, Jesus in Greek) was hanged.” The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a.

      The crucifixion of Jesus is an historical fact, an assertion supported by these three independent ancient sources. The apostles saw Jesus crucified and their testimony was accepted as credible in the ancient world. I can offer more ancient corroboration if necessary.

      The apostles and those associated with them were not personally removed from the events by centuries. Two of the gospel accounts were written by apostles of Jesus who were eyewitnesses of His ministry. The other two accounts — Mark and Luke — were written by men closely associated with apostles: Peter and Paul respectively. When you read Luke’s gospel account as well as the Acts of the Apostle, you are reading an historian’s view of these events. Luke told Theophilus that he had personally investigated the life of Jesus and was himself a personal participant in Paul’s ministry.

      You’re free to reject the historicity of the Bible. However, you have offered no evidence that I should do so. I invite you to tell me why the historical accounts concerning the manifestation, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus are untrue. Tell me why you believe Jesus was not crucified. Where is your evidence? Do you also challenge the authenticity of Josephus, Tacitus, et. al.?
      I look forward to your response.

  2. Your logic is very skewed. You say you know the crucifixion took place because of eyewitness accounts. What are the names of the witnesses and where is the hard evidence. You must say Allah is also real, because Muhammad said he saw him. What are the “historical facts” that support the claims of the Apostles? And they can’t come from the bible, or else the story of the Garden of Eden is “historical fact”. BTW, let me define loosely what “historical facts” are not. They are not what only Christians “know” (LOL) happened because it says so in the bible. Jesus, in fact, IS the Sun of God, though. No, I didn’t spell sun wrong. Jesus is an astrological symbolism for the sun. That’s why on Dec. 24, the three stars in Orion’s Belt, which have been called the Three Kings since before Christianity, align with Sirius, the star of the East, and point where “the sun will rise the next day”. Also, the Zodiac in the sky during Christmas since 0 B.C. until 2150 A.D. is Pisces. Before that was Ares, and before..

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