Hebrews 11:1–2 (NIV)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
This verse explains Matthew 17:20.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (NIV)
A little bit of certainty can move mountains.
That’s what the first Christians had. They knew who Jesus was because of the fresh facts of His life, death, and resurrection. And boy did they move mountains. By 100AD there were a million Christians. As Tertullian would later write to Caesar, “We are but of yesterday, and yet we have filled all the places that belong to you — cities, islands, forts, towns, exchanges; the military camps themselves, tribes, town councils, the palace, the senate, the market-place; we have left you nothing but your temples.”
The ancients of Hebrews 11:2 deserve to be commended for their faith. They didn’t have the benefit of being close to the incarnation.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29 (NIV)
We might be similarly commended, as we’re far away too. We want to be sure. Solid faith is exciting. Life without it is anything but.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” — Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NIV)
In studying mathematics, you grind through a lot of proofs. Later, even if the details of a proof are forgotten, you remember that you proved it. Just for kicks, you might revisit a particularly interesting proof (such as Euler’s outrageous proof that the sum of 1/n2 is π2/6), but you don’t need to. You know in your heart that the theorem or formula is true, and you can use it confidently.
This series will be a bit like that. It will grind through how we can know that Jesus rose from the dead. It won’t have the exact structure of a mathematical proof, but it’ll cover all the bases. Our goal is to prove it, as they say it in court, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
This should do more than just satisfy your curiosity. It can give you faith that moves mountains.
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