This excerpt from Unconvinced: Exploring Faith As A Skeptic the YouVersion Reading Plan from North Point Ministries, Andy Stanley and the Starting Point Team, will explain.
Faith In The Person Jesus Not His Teaching
Throughout history, when leaders of popular movements died—like the prophet Muhammad and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—their followers would band together to keep their messages and missions alive.
But when Jesus was crucified, the movement he began came to a screeching halt. The mission died with him because he was the mission.
John 3:16 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus didn’t launch his movement around a new list of believe thats. At the center of his teaching was a single believe in. Jesus asked his followers to believe in him. Not his ideas. Him. This is reflected in arguably the most popular statement in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
Jesus didn’t come to leave his followers with a collection of wise words and parables. From start to finish, the mission of Jesus was Jesus. So it should come as no surprise that when his disciples watched him die, they watched the movement die with him. Messiahs don’t die. Sons of God can’t be killed. But there he was. Nailed to a cross.
When Jesus died, no one believed he was who he had claimed to be.
There were no Christians left.
Yet, the disciples who deserted him after his death were the same ones who later risked their lives to tell others about him. And here we are discussing him two thousand years later. The hinge, the thing that made all the difference, was not something Jesus taught. It was something Jesus did—he came back to life.
Christians don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible says so. Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead because Matthew and John, eyewitnesses, said so.
Acts 2:32 NIV God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.
We believe because Luke, a first-century doctor, investigated the events surrounding Jesus’ life and death and concluded that he rose from the dead. Even Paul, an infamous persecutor of Christians, came to believe that Jesus was the Son of God who rose from the dead.
Following Jesus requires faith. Specifically, it requires faith in Jesus. Not the teachings of Jesus—the person of Jesus. At the center of Christianity is an event attested to by eyewitnesses who lost faith when Jesus died but regained it when he rose from the dead. The foundation of Christianity is not a list of believe thats, but a single trust in.
Acts 2:22-24 NIV “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.