Ponders Baptist Church - online
ready always to give an answer to every man that asks
Most people will not be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth is
their Creator. They will never believe it no matter the evidence.
That much we know going in. There are however, a few people
that will consider what we say, and that is a powerful motivator
to continue.

At times even Jesus would plead for believers:

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or
else believe me for the very works' sake.

The works he refers to here are miracles. The eyewitnesses
reported seeing miraculous healings, calming the weather,
walking on water, exorcisms, and even raising the dead, to name
a few. His detractors at the time did not deny the miracles.
There were too many witnesses. Instead they made the case that
the miracles were the work of dark forces, rather than the work
of God. The Bible records this:

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth
not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the
devils.

It is now known that some anti-Christian writings derived from a
first century oral tradition also recorded miracles of Jesus.
Consider some of the most important works of Judaism: the
Torah, Mishnah, and Talmud. For perspective, the Talmud is a
commentary on the Mishnah, and the Mishnah is a commentary
on the Torah. The Torah, or Law, corresponds to the books of
Moses in the Bible. We find in the Talmud a few veiled and
uncomplimentary references to Jesus reflecting the sentiments of
the first century Pharisees who knew him. In the Munich Talmud,
a 14th century manuscript recovered in 1991, the veil is partially
removed and some specific references to the miracles of Jesus are
recorded. Portions were systematically edited out of later
manuscripts.

It was taught: On the Eve of the Passover they hung Yeshu
the Notzri. And the herald went out before him for forty
days [saying]: 'Yeshu the Notzri will go out to be stoned for
sorcery and misleading and enticing Israel [to idolatry].
Any who knows [anything] in his defence must come and
declare concerning him.' But no one came to his defence
so they hung him on the Eve of Passover.
(Munich Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a)

There you go. Yeshu the Notzri is none other than Jesus of
Nazareth, and the sorcery of which he is accused refers to
miracles. Notice the call for defense witnesses for the anticipated
trial and that the Passover crucifixion is also confirmed. The
method of execution in this passage, stoning vs hanging
(crucifixion), is also significantly echoed in the Biblical account.

It's one thing when your friends witness on your behalf. It's
another matter altogether when your adversaries confirm your
testimony. Those who are paying attention are finding more and
more reasons to believe in Jesus.

Indeed it is the season for reason and that's good news.

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