The Jesus I encounter on the pages of the New Testament is a committed case maker. He didn’t expect His followers to believe what He said (direct evidence) without good reason (the support of indirect evidence). Jesus continually supported His testimony with the indirect evidence of the miracles He performed. He then made the case for the authority of His testimony from the corroborative evidence of these miracles:
But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.”
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
Jesus knew His followers needed more than His direct testimony. He offered the evidence of the miracles to corroborate His claims so His hearers would be fully convinced. In fact, Jesus was so committed to this evidential approach that He stayed with the disciples for over a month following His resurrection to give them additional evidence:
… until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Think about that for a minute. Jesus had already demonstrated His deity by rising from the grave. I think that would be enough for me. But it wasn’t for Jesus. He stayed an additional forty days to give many more “convincing proofs.” That’s an exceptional commitment to case making.
This short article was excerpted from Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. For more information about this third book in my Christian Case Making trilogy, please visit www.ForensicFaithBook.com.
For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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