We must accept Him and obey His Word

Published 4:14 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: There are some who teach that testifying to the reality of Jesus Christ (as presented in the Bible) makes someone a Christian. If this is true, why did the Roman emperor Julian try to topple the Christian faith, yet testified to the validity of Jesus? – T.C.


Dear T.C.: Negative historical documents carry evidence of the truth and power of Jesus Christ. The fourth-century Roman emperor named Julian the Apostate opposed Christians and wrote of them disparagingly, but even his insults bear witness. “Jesus … having done nothing in His lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it is a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcise demoniacs … these impious Galileans not only feed their own poor, but ours also; welcoming them into their [love].”

The Athenian philosopher Socrates lived four centuries before Jesus and was engaged in the pursuit of truth. His most famous quote is, “I know that I know nothing.” One writer has noted that “Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only three. Yet the influence of Christ’s three-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity.” This opinion echoes that of Augustine in the fourth century: “I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I never read in either of them, ‘Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.’”

Jesus asked His disciples this question, “‘Who do men say that I am?’ … Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8:27–29). We must ask ourselves, “Do we belong to Jesus Christ the Savior?” It is more than recognizing the existence of Jesus; we must accept Him and obey His Word (see 1 John 1:9; 2:3–5).

(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)