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Through the years I have had the opportunity to perform and speak on over 3,000 college and university campuses on five continents of the world. Everywhere I go, I tell students, "Whenever someone make an extraordinary claim, you need to demand extraordinary evidence before you accept that extraordinary claim."
Jesus made the extraordinary claim that He, Himself, was God. Jesus said, "I and my Father are one. He who has seen Me has seen the Father." The extraordinary evidence Jesus provided to prove He was God were the incredible miracles He performed over a period of 3 1/2 years and witnessed by tens of thousands of people.
A miracle has been defined as an "act of God". It is something that only God can do. Anyone can claim to be God and quite a few have; however, only God can do what only God can do. Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster or any other founders of the world's great religions never claimed to be God. None of them ever claimed to be able to perform miracle. In all of human history, Jesus was unique.
He could instantly heal every known sickness and disease of every person who came to Him. He could raise the dead. He could take a small boy's lunch and multiply it to feed over 5,000 people. He could say to a raging storm, "Peace, be still" and the storm would instantly stop. But the miracle of all miracles was His own resurrection.
To those who questioned His being God He made the issue very clear, direct, and concise. Jesus said, "Do not believe my words." I repeat, Jesus said, "Do not believe My words -- unless you see me do Miracles that only God can do." Even the worst enemies of Jesus were never able to deny the miracles that He did. The religious leaders who plotted His death said, "If we do not stop this man the entire nation of Israel will believe in Him and follow Him because of the miracles He performs."
The enemies of Jesus did not deny that He performed miracles. Likewise, the leaders of other religions also could not deny His miracles. Since September 11th we have heard a great deal about Islam, the religion of Muslims. In their holy book, the Koran, their prophet Muhammad said this of Jesus: "Jesus was born of a virgin; He lived a sinless life; He performed miracles; He could give sight to the blind, cure lepers, and raise the dead." Muhammad spoke more highly of Jesus Christ than he did of himself. Once again, the miracles were validated by leaders of other religions and could not be denied by His enemies.
So for the atheist and other skeptics there is a big problem. If there is no God then what explanation can be offered in addressing the miracles that Jesus constantly performed that proved that He was and is God in human form? How do they do it? What tactics are used to minimize Jesus' genuine miracles? Many have tried to suggest that Jesus was just a magician performing clever magic tricks. One of the most popular books atheists refer to was a book written by Morton Smith called Jesus the Magician in which he tries to convince himself and others that Jesus was just a magician.
Two thousand years ago the Jewish religious leaders who rejected Christ as their Messiah also had to explain away the miracles of Jesus. How did they do it? In the Jewish Talmud, written following the death of Christ, they said, "Jesus was a magician who led Israel astray through his magical deceptions." That statement not only confirms the historicity of Jesus, but it also provides evidence to the fact that He did amazing things that most people thought were miracles. So for 2,000 years skeptics who know absolutely nothing about the subject of magic have tried to explain away the miracles that Jesus performed by insisting that Jesus was just a magician. The choice was, and is, clear: either Jesus was a magician or else He was God as He claimed Himself to be.
questions & answers
Q: How do we know Jesus really existed?
A: By examining the evidence. No reputable scholar really doubts Jesus' existence. Even his enemies never attempted to dismiss him as a myth. Jesus was a real person whose life and historical impact is irrefutable. In fact, according to leading historians, no one has had a greater impact on our world than Jesus. (read article)