Why do bad things happen to good people?
Why do selfish people seemingly get rewarded?
Why does evil exist?
These are questions I've often thought about and I don't have full answers to all of them. Yet, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Why?
Because Jesus was a historical person who's lived a life that was a fulfillment of prophecy written generations before he was born.
During his crucifixion by Roman soldiers, Jesus reminded the crowd of onlookers of that when he recited the opening line of Pslam 22: "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" Which was a common teaching technique of Rabbi's when referring to a section of scripture. In this particular case, Jesus referred to a section of scripture likely written a 1000 years before he was born that predicted his crucifixion and ultimate victory (more on that later).
Though archeology can't prove much of the theological nature of the Bible, there is a surprising amount of archeological evidence for people, events, and places mentioned in the Bible. And I'm not talking the made up stuff I used to see in the national enquirer, but real peer-reviewed/studied stuff.
When historians are trying to determine the reliability of a historical document (a biography for example), one of the things they ask themselves is do we have physical evidence this place or this person mentioned in the document existed. The more pieces of physical evidence, the more reliable the document is thought to be.
The first disciples of Jesus had to have witnessed something MIRACULOUS.
L. Ron Hubbard, the author of Battlefield Earth and founder of Scientology, famously said, "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."
We've all seen his statement play out across the world, where the founders of cults and religions go on to exert an uncomfortable amount of control over their followers' personal lives and finances for their own benefit above all others.
If that kind of behavior is the rule, the first disciples of Christ are the exception. These people preached across their world facing persecution at every turn and in their time on Earth never reaped monetary or social rewards from it. In other words, they didn't get rich and powerful. In fact, most of Jesus's first disciples died horrible deaths because of their religion. So why preach at all? Because they witnessed something so miraculous and compelling they had to share it with others and in this case, they claimed it was the resurrected Jesus.
At this point, it's important to note that there's not a record of a single one of these disciples recanting their belief in Jesus's resurrection.
I consider myself to be a good person. I suppose most people do. But what if the standard for good enough to be with God is perfection? I try to treat people with respect and follow the golden rule but I know I'm not perfect. So where does that leave me?
If God is just, he must deal with my sins. Every. Single. One.
But I won't be alone. God will judge all of us. The rich man who bribed his way out of trouble or the scammers who stole thousands of dollars from my elderly grandmother will have to face God someday. And I imagine the hand of judgement won't be forgiving.
Unless it is.
Because someone already took that punishment for us.
And that's what Jesus's crucifixion was all about. The only perfect person, God in the flesh, took the judgment we all deserve. Like the shed blood of the perfect lambs used in Ancient Israel, Jesus's shed blood covers our sins. Every. Single. One.
And that brings me to the final reason I want to mention:
The world is a painful place. Disease. Suffering. Violence. Death. Is it all just the result of an extremely improbably cosmic accident? If so, our existence is rather bleak and insignificant in our vast universe. But faith in Christ offers something more. A point of light in the dark. A purpose to everything even if I don't understand it. It's hard not to use platitudes here, but on an emotional level, my faith in Jesus gives me hope. Hope there's more than all the pain, suffering, and death. Hope I will see my faithful friends and loved ones again and the joy and good times I've shared with them is only a taste of what's to come. Hope that our fleeting lives are more significant than an uncaring cosmic accident would make us believe.
Jesus came back from the dead to give us hope. The ultimate victory.
These aren't all the reasons I'm a Christian, but they are some of the most important to me even though I don't have all the answers.
If you're curious about Jesus, I recommend starting with the gospel of John. Read it with an open mind. Think about it. Ask questions. Look for answers. You will find some.
If you want to be saved right now, I suggest this prayer to guide you along. Reach out to me if you have questions or have a prayer request.