Ravi Zacharias on Why He Believes Jesus

In this video, Ravi explains why he believes Jesus to be the Way the Truth and the Life:

Notes from the Video

Truth is typically measured in three ways:

  • Logical Consistency
  • Empirical Adequacy
  • Experiential Relevance

He believes Jesus because:

  1. His description of the human condition.

No other worldview describes the condition of the human heart as accurately as Jesus.

The Holocaust reveals the depths of depravity possible in the human heart.

“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.

I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”

Viktor Frankl

In the academy, we are producing an entire generation of young people who do not believe in absolutes.

The early stages of corruption may be behind lecterns. But, the end stage is the devaluation, the dehumanization, the denigration, and ultimately the desensitization of your conscience.

The porn industry reveals how the supposed “most beautiful” people in the world are used to reveal the ugliness contained in the human heart.

Nietzsche declared that God is dead in the nineteenth century. Then he went on to say that universal madness would break out in the twentieth century, making it the bloodiest century in history. In the twentieth century, more people were killed on the battlefield than the previous nineteen put together.

When you recognize the depravity in your own heart, you can begin to become an answer rather than just another question.

Christianity is the only answer in the world that offers you a savior.

He asks the UN where in history do the four concepts of evil, justice, love, and forgiveness converge? The Cross of Christ.

What is happening in the Middle East is three thousand years of history and the logic of unforgiveness.

Forgiveness is so easily spoken of. Only in Christ do we find the only surety of forgiveness.

He came to my desk with a quivering lip,

the lesson was done.

“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?

I’ve spoiled this one.”

I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted

and gave him a new one all unspotted.

And into his tired heart I cried,

“Do better now, my child.”

I went to the throne with a trembling heart;

the day was done.

“Have you a new day for me, dear Master?

I’ve spoiled this one.”

He took my day, all soiled and blotted

and gave me a new one all unspotted.

And into my tired heart he cried,

“Do better now, my child.”

His second point is: God’s forgiveness is his provision for you and for me.

His third point is His equipment in suffering.

Christ indwells us to enable us to walk through this life.

Life is punctuated by suffering. When pain has entered your heart, life becomes almost unlivable.

The existentialist lives for the moment, the traditionalist for the past, the utopianist for the future. When Jesus gave the disciples communion, he said when you eat of this bread and drink of this cup (now), you proclaim the Lord’s death (past) until he comes again (future). He gave meaning to all of time.

Time is the canvass on which you present your portrait. Eternity is the keyhole that takes you into the gallery that gives you the whole story.

The entire truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in three points:

  1. The people it has transformed

Peter – the fluctuator. Transformed until he was ready to be the solid foundation on which the church is built.

Thomas – the doubter. Thomas was transformed until he took his surety to Indian to evangelize the people there.

Paul – the terrorizer. Transformed until he becomes the writer of one-third of the New Testament.

They all saw the risen Christ. They all paid with their lives.

  1. How it applies to you and me

He describes your heart, he provides for your malady, he equips you in suffering, he puts meaning into every moment in history, and he conquers death through the resurrection from the grave.

  1. What it means for history

Ravi quotes Malcolm Muggeridge:

We look back upon history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare speaks of ‘the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.’

I look back on my own fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that, ‘God who’s made the mighty would make them mightier yet.’ I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last a thousand years; an Italian clown announce that he would restart the calendar to begin his own ascension to power. I’ve heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as a wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka.

I’ve seen America wealthier in terms of weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people desired, they could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests.

All in one lifetime. All in one lifetime. All gone with the wind.

England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keep her motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate.

All in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.

Then he adds this postscript:

Behind the debris of these solemn supermen, and self-styled imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one, because of whom, by whom, in whom and through whom alone, mankind may still have peace: The person of Jesus Christ. I present him as the way, the truth, and the life.

Questions:

  1. Do you find people will generally acknowledge the depravity of the human heart?
  2. Do you feel Christ still looms large in society?
  3. How have you been transformed by Christ, and how do you communicate that transformation to others?
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