While He lived on earth, one of Jesus’ closest friends was a very young man who we know simply as John. A dedicated follower and disciple of Jesus, as well as an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus, John was so impressed with God in Christ, or as he describes, “The Word” that he’s certain he doesn’t need to offer very much evidence “so that you might also believe.”
Jesus ministry lasted ~ 1,000 days give or take. Out of that 1,000 days, John’s account covers no more than twenty days. When I think of all the evidence that atheists reject, a priori reject no less, it amazes me how John could say, “I wrote these things so that you might also believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Of course when you’ve been right there, in the midst of it all. When you’ve been a disciple of the Rabbi for a really intense three years (as Plato said, “A disciple is a vessel so tightly sealed that not one drop of your leader’s teaching leaks out”), it would be hard for John to comprehend how someone WOULDN'T believe what he’s experienced.
I’ve written pages and pages and pages of information. I’ve described it backwards and forwards. I’ve given citations and citations regarding citations. All in an attempt to show atheists that Jesus is not just a historical figure, but His life, death and resurrection are detailed by numerous extra Biblical writers. All to no avail. There is no evidence great enough or clear enough to convince those determined to deny the existence of God. Like those who wish to deny the holocaust, no amount of evidence, nor the quality of the evidence is enough to convince those who wish to deny Jesus. And yet, John, in all seriousness presents seven signs to “prove” that Jesus was and is Creator God. That’s all. Seven signs over twenty days that John believes should be enough to show the reader that Jesus was exactly who He said He was, God in human form.
1) John says Jesus’ first sign was performed in the town of Cana. This is where Jesus turned water into wine. He made the wine in twenty gallon stone containers that were made to hold ceremonial water. I’m sure the provocation was not lost on the Pharisees.
2) Next, John tells about Jesus healing an official’s son. A Roman officer’s son! Again, healing the enemy seems deliberately geared to alienate and offend.
3) Pushing the social envelope further, Jesus heals an invalid - on the Sabbath. It’s like Jesus was trolling for Pharisees.
4) Next, Jesus feeds over 12,000 men, women and children with a little bit of bread and a couple fish. In contrast to assuaging physical hunger, Jesus describes Himself “the bread of life” and states that those who come to Him for spiritual nourishment will never hunger again.
5) Everyone knows about Jesus walking on the water. It seems that John especially wanted to point out that, as only Creator God could, He who created matter out of nothing demonstrated power over the physics of matter. In fact, as many theologians have pointed out, the miracles, especially the healing miracles were not a case of Jesus messing with the norm, but instead He was bringing “reality” back to what was the norm before sin was allowed to enter into space and time.
6) Then, a man born blind from birth is healed, again on the Sabbath. By this time in His ministry Jesus is livid at the lack of compassion that religious leaders of His day, like many religious people of our day display. The desire of people to punish rather than heal is very, very disturbing to Jesus.
7) Finally, Jesus raises Lazarus after he’d been in the grave for four days. Again, He demonstrates not just power over the laws of physics as we understand them, now the One who creates, gives and sustains life demonstrates power over death itself.
Seven signs. That’s all. Seven signs that were enough for the officials of the time to plot to kill not just Jesus but Lazarus as well. None of the leaders were accusing Jesus of being a fraud, a shyster, a clever magician. They were furious because Jesus’ claims to be God were backed up with irrefutable proof by doing things that only the Creator of matter / energy, space, time and life itself could do. Jesus was stealing their thunder and they wanted Him gone baby gone. We have seven signs that John says should be enough to prove to us that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God - Jesus the Christ.
And if that isn’t enough, then comes Jesus' resurrection from the dead. An empty tomb that John himself inspected. Repeated post burial encounters with the risen Jesus are also described by John. He ate with Jesus, walked and talked and was taught by Jesus for about 50 days after His resurrection. So convinced were the disciples that they did a 180 from being hopeless cowards hiding behind locked doors to becoming powerful and almost fearless witnesses. So powerful and compelling was the evidence of the risen Jesus that the Christian Church was born out of Jesus’ resurrection. There is no other reason for these devout Jews to leave the religion of their family and of their community and sacrifice their lives to testify to the resurrection other than the truth of that event.
And then John writes, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30.
No amount of evidence is enough for atheists. They mock the people of Jesus’ day as being too primitive to know whether or not a virgin could become pregnant. A young girl, Mary, knew it was not naturally possible but atheists discount what women say. Atheists think the people were too ignorant to know that diseases don’t disappear at someone’s command or that limbs crippled from birth couldn’t be made to heal in an instant. Atheists derisively call these people “stone-age goat herders.” Atheists think that those people were so gullible that it was easy to trick them into believing that people can rise from the dead. Not one of the disciples believed it without empirical evidence. Yet atheists ignore that historical evidence. In fact, so compelling is the historical evidence that we have that, like others on the fringes of society who simply say, “the holocaust never happened,” atheists are now forced to say, “Jesus never existed.” Sad but true.
No amount of evidence is enough for those committed to atheism.
How much is enough for you?