Matt asked:

If you were confronted by a Jew today and they asked why you believe in Jesus, what would you say?


Tim Staples replied:

"Well I would say, along with the Catechism of the Catholic church that I believe that the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is and I believe it's in the Catechism paragraph 643, it says that it's impossible not to acknowledge these as historical facts. In other words I believe in Jesus Christ because as a matter of history he really did live, he really did die and is resurrected from the dead. There's more historical evidence for that event than any other event by far in all of history.

Now I'd have to go beyond that though and emphasize that weren't not just talking about you know, demonstrating that Cesar existed or some other historical person. But it's the nature of this person and what he said, what he did that is really that leads me to accept him as who he claimed to be. And that is God manifested in the flesh. Now how do I get there? Jesus as a matter of history fulfilled scores of prophecies that were written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before he came to this earth. Down to what tribe he would be from in Genesis 49:10. Where he would be born Micah 5:1 and 2. Certain things about his life and his ministry, even descriptions of his death in Wisdom 2 and Psalm 22 ...

These are just prophecies that can not be explained in simple human terms and then you have the historical fact that not only did he fulfill these prophecies but he performed miracles that also demonstrated that he was who he said he was. He claimed to be God and he did miracles to prove it. And by the way those miracles are attested to not only by friends but by foes. Even the enemies of Christ according to the historical record acknowledge he did the miracles. Now they claimed he did it by the power of the devil which is really self-refuting because the devil doesn't have power to perform miracles like raising the dead which Christ did...

He prophesied the fact that he would establish a Church and he would give that Church his authority. And we all know the text of Matthew 16:18 and 19 where Jesus promised the power of the keys of the kingdom to Peter. And he did this in many different ways ... He ... says of that Church that he would give that Church his authority and that Church would be here until the end of time. And in fact we have that in the one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church ... he prophesied in Mark 16:17 he said these signs shall follow those that believe. In other words he said there will be signs following the true Church and one of those is miracles ... we have miracles verifiable in every generation for two thousand years in the Catholic church ... which tells us that he really is alive and well in his Church because you can't explain those miracles by the power of human beings ..."


Mark's take:

A dynamite answer (as always) from Tim Staples. He only left out one thing he has mentioned previously to this type of question: many people died and were even martyred fighting for the cause supporting Jesus Christ. As part of the historical evidence to support Jesus as a real person much documentation exists during the first generation following his death and resurrection.


Source material:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 643 states:

Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.503 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad”504) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale.”505 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”506

Genesis 49
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs;[d] and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Micah 5
[a] Now you are walled about with a wall;[b] siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the ruler of Israel. The Ruler from Bethlehem 2 [c] But you, O Bethlehem Eph′rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Wisdom 2
17 Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; 18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”

Psalm 22
16 Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced[b] my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.

Matthew 16
18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[d] and on this rock[e] I will build my church, and the powers of death[f] shall not prevail against it.[g] 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,[h] and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Mark 16
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”


Copyrights:

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: October 29, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 15:50


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"...and upon this rock I will build My Church..." Matthew 16:18