Put Jesus on Trial

by Perry Hall

When talking with atheists, I like to tell them to put Jesus on trial. How do we do this?

Practical:

Examine Jesus's Teachings:

  1. What do you think of Jesus's teachings?
  2. Are Jesus's teachings indicative of a wise man, a conniver, or a lunatic?
  3. How do Jesus's teachings compare to others?
  4. Is Jesus a respected teacher, even by those who don't believe in him as divine? If so, why?

Examine Jesus's Life:

  1. What do you think of Jesus's life?
  2. Is Jesus's life indicative of a wise man, a conniver, or a lunatic?
  3. How does Jesus's life compare to his teaching? Are the two consistent?
  4. Is Jesus's life respected by others, even those who don't believe in his deity? If so, why?

Follow-up Questions:

  1. Did Jesus teach and live these things to gain for himself in this life? If he did, he was either an idiot or a lunatic because it led to his death.
  2. Who did Jesus credit?
  3. Who did Jesus rely on?
  4. So, did Jesus believe in God?
  5. How did Jesus's belief in God affect his teaching and life?
  6. How did Jesus's belief in God affect the way he faced death?

These questions begin to answer the question, "Which God?" They even show how even the greatest who ever lived is exalted above all other teachers, even by atheists. So, what do we do with Jesus's theism?

Therefore, is considering the "whole" Jesus, which includes his belief in God, evidence worth weighing in the discussion of theism versus atheism? Yes!

Apologetics:

When we examine Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection from a legal perspective, we put Jesus on trial.

  1. What did hostile contemporary witnesses say about Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection?
  2. What do the changes in the lives of the apostles ("friendly witnesses") after they saw Jesus resurrected indicate?
  3. What does the life of Paul, a hostile witness, say about the resurrection?
  4. Do even most modern hostile witnesses today admit the tomb was empty?
  5. What do you do with that empty tomb?

Paul claims in Romans 1:3-4 that the resurrection proves Jesus is the Son of God. This tells us that if there is a Son of God, there is a God, and it tells us which God to believe in! The God of the Scriptures. The God of Jesus. This includes the Father, Son, and "Spirit of Holiness."

Conclusion:

When we put Jesus on trial, by examining his teachings and life, we see his faith and confidence in God the Father and reliance on the Holy Spirit.

When we examine the death, burial, and resurrection from a legal perspective, we put Jesus on trial. In Jesus being resurrected, we see God's faith and confidence in Jesus. God wouldn't have raised a false, conniving teacher and hypocrite. Nor would God have raised a lunatic who falsely claimed to be his son.

Jesus is either Lord, liar, or lunatic.

Is Jesus's teaching, life, and resurrection enough evidence to believe? When we put Jesus on trial, we declare his innocence. This means there is a God.

If you are an atheist, I challenge you to put Jesus on trial. His teaching, life, and resurrection are the evidence.

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