John 7:30-31 (ESV)
So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
How much evidence do you need to convict someone of a crime? In the United States’ legal system there are three different standards of proof, depending on the circumstances. A “preponderance of the evidence” is the lowest standard and simply means that it is more likely than not based on the facts presented. “Clear and convincing evidence” is the next step up and shows that it is highly probably that the evidence supports the allegation. Finally, “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is the highest standard and used in criminal proceedings because the defendant’s freedom is on the line.
How much proof did it take for you to believe in Jesus?
As we have seen, nobody comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him or her (Jn. 6:44), so why is evidence a part of the story at all? Because we also have a freewill and are free-thinking individuals. That is part of the Image of God that we possess as his special creation. So, when an unbeliever starts to pepper you with questions, don’t shrink back! There are great answers to these questions…and quite frankly, most of the questions have been the same for quite some time. God’s claims can handle our inquiries, and while some aspects of Scripture remain a mystery (Eph. 5:28-32 for example), what needs to be known is knowable.
Frank Turek is a Christian apologist and he often tells of his encounters with aggressive atheists when he speaks on college campuses. He has asked many of them, “If there was scientific and rational proof that the bible’s claims are true, would you become a follower of Jesus Christ?” Sadly, almost all of them answer in the negative. It isn’t that they CAN’T believe…they simply don’t want to believe.
Jesus Christ took on human flesh and lived amongst His creation for 33-years. He performed countless miracles. He defied nature. He spoke with authority and confounded the Jewish leaders at every turn. There was a preponderance of evidence. There was clear and convincing evidence of his claims. Jesus offered proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Many believed. Others didn’t. The same is true today. We have the privilege of sharing the story, pointing to the evidence, and proclaiming the invitation. What happens next is between the hearer and their Creator.