Then You Will Know
Read John 8:28-30 (ESV)
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
What does Jesus cite as the ultimate evidence that He is the Christ?
If you ask a variety of Christians why they believe that Jesus really is the Messiah, you will likely get a wide variety of answers. Some might say because the Bible tells them so. Others might say because they were raised in a Christian home, heard the Gospel at a young age and they believed. Some might even say, “You know, I’ve never really thought about why….”
But there are many former doubters and skeptics who give an answer like this: “I became convinced that all of the evidence pointed to the resurrection of Jesus being an actual historical event.” In other words, they examined the evidence and found out that the best explanation of that evidence is that the death and resurrection of Jesus wasn’t historical fiction—it was historical fact.
That was the case for Christian apologist Lee Strobel, a former atheist. In a 2017 interview with Relevant magazine, he explained which piece of evidence was the key to convincing him of the truth of Christianity. He said: “It was really the resurrection that clenched it for me. Because, like Paul, I realized that if this can be falsified then the whole faith falls apart. So it was the cumulative case for the resurrection that I think was the lynchpin for me.” He was referencing Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:14 in which Paul said that if Christ hasn’t been raised from the dead our faith is vain and we should be pitied for believing a lie.
As we discussed yesterday, the Jewish religious leaders should have recognized that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God but they were unbelieving on purpose and willfully ignorant. In today’s passage we read that Jesus cited His death and resurrection as the evidence that was finally going to convince them that He was who He said He’d been all along. When He spoke about the Son of Man being lifted up, He was referring to His own crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
We have already seen Jesus refer to this in John 3:14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up….” Coming up in John 12:32, we will read that Jesus said: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” You can read the account of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21:4-9.
Jesus was correct, of course, that His death and resurrection convinced many people that He is God. In Mark 15:39, a Roman soldier who stood at the base of the cross during His crucifixion, saw the way that Jesus died and proclaimed, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, they went from fearful to bold believers declaring that He had risen. In Acts 2, when Peter preached his sermon at Pentecost about Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father in glory 3,000 Jews received Christ as their Lord and Savior (Acts 2:41).
While Jesus’ words in today’s passage didn’t convince all of the Jews who heard Him speak, John did say that many people heard Him and believed that He was one with the Father and that He spoke on God’s authority. Sadly, many others in the crowd were going to find out the hard way that they were wrong about who Jesus is.
Friend, what about you? Have you ever examined the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? If you are already a believer, doing so will bolster and deepen your faith in Christ. If you haven’t placed your faith in Jesus yet, I urge you to investigate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Then, you will know that He is I AM, the Son of God.
Lord, I thank and praise You that You didn’t ask us to believe in You blindly but You gave us work after work, sign after sign, and finally, the ultimate proof. You were willing to be raised up on the cross to die for our sin in our place but You rose again on the third day. You conquered sin and death so that whoever looks to You for salvation will live forever. Praise God! Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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