A Historical Reason: The Reliability of the BiblePastor Lutzer | October 19, 1997
Selected highlights from this sermon
The Bible is full of history, and the history of the Bible is interwoven with its theology. You can’t have one without the other.
Time and again, archeology has shown the biblical narrative to be correct. Of course, archeology is unable to speak concerning every historical instance. However, the Bible has enough evidence for those who are open to belief, but for those who are closed to belief, there will never be enough evidence.
Folks, as all of us know, the Bible is a historical book. It’s a historical book. No matter where you pick it up—you read about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus Christ, the journeys of the Apostle Paul—all of that is found in the Scriptures. In fact, it would be true to say that there are actually hundreds of events (thousands of events) that are presented in the Bible as being a sober history. The Bible is intended to be believed, but the question that we have to ask today is how accurate is this history. How accurate is it? Well, of course, it depends who you ask. Time Magazine says that a man by the name of Dr. John Van Seters of the University of North Carolina declared, when speaking to the Society of Biblical Literature, spoke with hope-like confidence. He said that none of the Old Testament was written before 587 B.C. There was no Moses, no crossing of the sea, no revelation on Mount Sinai. Time Magazine goes on to make its own comments. “Years of searching for evidence have convinced all but the most conservative that Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs were inventions of biblical authors.”
Now let me ask you a question. When you read a statement like that, is there something within your heart that seems to just quiver a little bit? Are you beginning to think that at the end of the day, no matter what Peter promised us in 2 Peter, maybe we have believed fables? Is your faith just slightly shaken that perhaps the patriarchs were inventions of biblical writers? No Moses, no crossing of the sea, no Sinai, and he speaks with pope-like confidence! That should shake you (chuckles) or should it? Folks, before we give up the faith, let us at least understand the presuppositions upon which statements like that are repeatedly made, and anxiously quoted.
First of all, the first presupposition is that none of the Bible can be accepted as authoritative unless it is verified by outside sources. Since there is no mention of the Exodus in Egyptian literature we cannot accept the biblical story of the Exodus. If there is no reference to Abraham in extra biblical literature, in some monument or some clay tablet, well then we assume that Abraham did not exist. As a matter of fact, until many years ago, there were those who said that David did not exist. He also was a creation of biblical writers. But lo and behold in recent years two references today that have been found in archeological finds, and now, oh bless your soul, it is okay. You can believe there was a David. Aren’t you encouraged? So that’s the first presupposition, that unless we can find Moses who chiseled his initials into Mount Sinai, the event didn’t happen.
There’s a second presupposition, and that is, of course, that no miracles can be admitted or believed. That is a more firmly held presupposition. None! It’s now kosher to believe in David, but after believing in David, you most assuredly do not believe that he spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You do not believe that God came to him out of heaven and said, “David, I am going to make a covenant with you.” Nothing like that! Surely there was no avenging angel on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Nothing like that!
In fact, in the same article in Time Magazine someone says this regarding Christ. They believe that Christ did not exist because, it says, “No first century inscription mentions Him.” Now mind you, He is mentioned in first century literature. Josephus, in his book The Antiquities of the Jews refers to Christ’s resurrection. It says that He was put to death and appeared to the disciples later, three days afterwards. But that would not be admitted because many people say, “Well, he couldn’t have written that because he was a Jew, and no Jew would refer to the resurrection of Christ.” And there is no inscription that mentions Him. There is no object or building that has survived which has a special link to Him, and therefore, it is believed that Christ did not exist. Wow!
You can now understand that if the skeptics have their Bible, we could call it the grasshopper pocket version of the Bible. Once you’ve stripped away everything that can’t be confirmed by archeological sources, once you have said that there can be no miracles, once you are absolutely convinced that the Bible must be treated as a purely human book, and must be stripped of everything divine, why indeed you have a Bible that is very, very small.
We, of course, look at things differently, don’t we? If you were with us last time you know that I mentioned that the Bible has 1,500 references either directly or indirectly to its divine authorship. And you know that this is part of a series of messages. There was an introductory message, and then last week’s message, and today we come to the second reason why I believe the Bible is God’s Word, and that is the historical reason. But, you see, because of the fact that we believe that the Bible was divinely inspired, we must either accept the whole thing as inspired, or reject it all as an awesome unbelievable forgery. We have to make one decision or another as I pointed out last week. We, therefore, have believed in the Scriptures. Even before archeology has been able to vindicate any of it, we were convinced that the Bible was the Word of God. We’re convinced that the Exodus happened even if no reference to it is found. And by the way (at no extra charge), what makes us think that a proud nation like Egypt would have recorded a defeat for archeologists to find? Nations like that never did, so we should not be surprised that there’s no reference to the Exodus in secular literature.
But we believed in the Exodus anyway. We believed in David long before archeologists came along and said, “Guess what! It’s now okay to believe in him because we found him in two inscriptions.” We even believed in the story of Jonah and the big fish long before zoologists measured the gullet of a whale and told us that it was now okay to believe. As a matter of fact, we even believe that a donkey spoke to Balaam. We believed that a donkey spoke to Balaam long before silly speeches, given by biblical scholars, made us realize that the phenomenon does happen in recent history (laughter). Am I going too fast for some of you. (laughter)
I want you to know today that the Bible expects us to believe its history, and as we shall point out in a few moments, wherever it has touched history, wherever there have been archeological finds, almost always it has confirmed exactly what the Bible says.
I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the second chapter of Mark just for a moment to show you how we cannot separate the Bible’s history from the Bible’s theology. Now, I mention that because there are many folks who tell us that the Bible can have errors in historical matters, but it still can be theologically reliable. And I need to point out to you that that is absurdity, because the history and the theology is so interwoven that many historical events are theological events.
Jesus, in the second chapter, performed a miracle, and you’ll notice He says to the paralytic in Mark 2:5-11, “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk?”’” Now notice this: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
What Jesus is saying is this. Let me ask you first of all the question that he asked these people. “What is easier to say? Thy sins be forgiven thee or to take up your pallet and go home.” Now the answer might not be what you think it is. Actually it is much easier to say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” because you can say it. Talk is cheap. You can say the words but you can’t prove it has happened because when someone’s sins are forgiven you can’t see them leave the person with a video camera. That belongs to the realm of what philosophers call the metaphysical world. But to say to someone who is a cripple, “Rise, take up your pallet and go home,” now that’s something else because that’s a miracle that can be verified. Other people can watch, and they can find out whether or not this man who was a cripple was actually able to walk. That is something, you see, that has empirical verification connected with it.
Now, here is Christ’s point. Christ is saying, “When I tell this man, ‘Take up your pallet and go home,’ when I say those words and you see that miracle, that gives you also reason to believe that when I say, ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee,’ that I have a right to make a statement like that.” Now my point, and I don’t want you to miss it, is simply that the historical aspects of the Bible, its events if you please, are so closely tied into the theological aspects that we cannot rip them in two. And the Bible is a whole piece of cloth. It is either entirely true, or entirely fallacious, filled with errors and unbelievable.
Now, many people don’t realize that that’s what Jesus also meant, I think, in John 3 when He said to a man by the name of Nicodemus, “You know, if I had told you earthly things and you do not believe, how then are you going to believe the heavenly?” And what Jesus is saying is, “Because of the fact that what I tell you about the things of this earth are true, you can also believe that the things that I tell you about heavenly things are true.” And that’s why I say to you that the historicity of the Bible, the integrity of the text of the original manuscripts, and the fact that it is historically reliable, that becomes the basis for its spiritual input and its theological statements.
Now, today’s message is a little different from most, and it’s been a very, very difficult message to prepare. It was difficult because I was tempted, when I sat down to think about this message, to begin to rehearse all of the archeological data that has come in in the last fifty years regarding the Bible to show how incredibly often it authenticates the Scriptures. But that would take too long. Huge books have been written about it.
Some of you subscribe to the Biblical Archeological Review, and you know that every issue is chuck full of new discoveries, but today I want to simply ask the question, “What role does archeology really play?” What role do inscriptions and clay tablets and even the Dead Sea Scrolls play, for example, in helping us understand the truthfulness of the Bible? Well, the answer is this. First of all, obviously archeology and these various studies cannot prove the entire Scriptures. We’ve already established that. There may never be an inscription with Abraham’s name, Isaac or Jacob. There most assuredly may never be a reference to the exodus in Egyptian literature.
But secondly, let us remember that these studies are not an exact science. They are not an exact science! As they continue to work, archeologists frequently revise their conclusions and we must be very careful because certainly we would like to say that archeology confirms the Bible as it has in many instances. There are also many instances, at least a few, in which it seems to contradict the Scriptures. And we must go very carefully, recognizing that if all the facts were in, indeed it would not contradict the Scriptures.
In 1968 I was studying in Israel, and there was a part of our group that was doing an archeological study in Ai. Do you remember the story of Ai where Joshua fought that battle and lost because a man had hidden something in his tent? Achan had hidden that which God had forbidden. And the students came back to Jerusalem one evening and they said, “You know, we want to rewrite the book of Joshua.” I thought, “How undeniably arrogant that you would have more knowledge regarding what happened, just because you spent six weeks in a hot tent doing some digging, than the ancient biblical writers, who were eyewitnesses, staggers the imagination.”
Well, another archeologist came to Jerusalem and said he thought that the students were even digging in the wrong place, that they were in the wrong city, so it isn’t an exact science. It isn’t exact, but I will say that as the evidence begins to grow, one liberal theory of the Bible after another has had to capitulate over and over again because the more we know, the more favorable it is to the biblical text.
I want to spend a moment answering a question that I am frequently asked. People ask me this question. They say, “What about some of the accounts of creation that occur in sources that are not in the Bible?” For example, archeologists in the city of Nineveh. There was a library in the city of Nineveh with thousands of clay tablets, and it was the library of Ashurbanipal. I used to teach biblical history and the students used to always be able to remember that name by saying “I-sure-been-a-Paul.” And in that find they discovered that there are traces of an account of creation one-hundred lines long. And it is believed that this account is 400 years older than Moses. The account goes back to about the year 1800, and when we think of Moses we’re thinking about 1400 B.C. And the similarities are striking. They cannot be accounted for just simply by chance.
For example, this account speaks of a time when there was just the earth and it was waste and void. There is similarity in the order of creation. There is a favoring of the number seven. There seem to be seven days of creation. But I want you to know that despite those similarities, there are many differences, namely that the account, the Babylonian account, is filled with polytheism. It’s got female gods and male gods, and the god, Marduk, is the one who is telling all the rest what to do. There are all kinds of (What shall we say?) somewhat off-color stories regarding what these gods are doing.
How do we account for that if it’s older than the Bible? Well, the answer, my friend, is not that Moses got it from these polytheists, and cleaned it up and decided to write it as Genesis 1 and 2. No, I don’t think that that’s the answer. If he did, he most assuredly would have had to be inspired by God to know how to clean up this account and make it theologically accurate. But it is unlikely that that happened because usually when you have one account dependent on another, the second account always embellishes the first. It never simplifies it.
There’s a better explanation. I believe that long before Moses, God revealed Himself to the human race. I can’t believe that century after century would go on without a revelation from the Almighty. And so God revealed Himself to these people. He explained the days of creation. He perhaps even gave them other information about Himself during those periods of time. And as a result of that you have this tradition of the creation story, which was not accurately recorded. It went along by word of mouth for a while and then it was written down, but it became contaminated with all kinds of pagan ideas, and so here’s this story floating out there before the time of Moses. In a sense it verifies the fact that God has revealed the creation story because these stories would not have happened simply on their own.
There are flood stories in almost every civilization. That only makes sense because you have the flood, you have Noah, you have his sons. And as they begin to spread out and nations begin to build, of course they continue to tell the story of the flood and the experience that was had. But of course, those stories are corrupt with all kinds of pagan ideas as well, and when you read the Bible you can see its simplicity, and you can see its accuracy. There is evidence that indeed there was a worldwide flood. In fact, there’s much that a worldwide flood can explain that no other phenomenon can explain that has been uncovered by archeologists and scientists. So there are stories of the Tower of Babylon that have seeped into society, and oftentimes are found in other cultures as well. Again, understandable! Understandable!
What I’d like to do today for just a few moments (and as you know as I mentioned if you are visiting today, this is a bit of an unusual message) is to give you only two instances of where archeology has helped us confirm the Scriptures—one from the Old Testament and one from the New.
I want you to take your Bibles for a moment and just turn to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 27. You’ll notice the text tells us there that God spoke to Joshua. No wonder critics would say that this book of Deuteronomy is a fabrication because almost on every page God is speaking: “The Word of the Lord came to Moses and He said…” And once you discount all of that and say that that’s impossible, why then indeed you get to that slim Bible that we talked about earlier. But in chapter 27, verse 4, it says this: “And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. And there you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them.”
Did Joshua do this? Well turn to Joshua 8 where we have a reference to this altar. In Joshua 8:30 it says: “At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, ‘an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.’ And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings.”
Would you believe that in the mid-80s that altar was discovered on Mount Ebal? It is about 25x35 feet in terms of its area and several feet high. Exactly 942 bones have been discovered, bones of sheep and goats and oxen, and there it is. Now that might be a minor point, but isn’t it interesting that once again, you see, as archeologists have gone back and have been able to date all of these artifacts, and the artifacts go back to the time of Joshua (They have means by which the date can be ascertained.), it’s a small point. It’s a small point, but again, it’s just like the Bible says it is. So today I tell you now that archeology has confirmed it. You can breathe a sigh of relief. You can believe finally that Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal.
Now let’s take the New Testament. The stories of Jesus Christ have often been severely criticized. Years ago Luke 2 was said to be totally fallacious. Luke got it all wrong. It was popular by those who are quoted in national magazines. They would say that Luke was wrong, and this was their criticism of Luke 2:1: “Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.”
Critics say that Augustus did not order a census at this time. Quirinius was the governor of Syria at a later date. And during this census people could pay wherever they lived, and even if they had to go somewhere, the husband would not have had to take his family. And so for years as scholars dug around in this they said that Luke was wrong.
You know, there was a man by the name of William Ramsey, who was an unbeliever, who set out to prove that the Gospel of Luke was filled with errors—Luke and Acts. You know that Luke also wrote the book of Acts, and he was going to show that it was really a book full of errors, so William Ramsey, after years and years of painstaking archeological investigation, said these words: (quote) “Luke’s history is unsurpassed regarding its accuracy.” And he became a believer in Jesus Christ through those investigations.
What they discovered in this instance was they came across a decree in Egypt. They discovered that Quirinius was governor twice. He was governor when Christ was born, but he was also governor later, so that explains that. They discovered that the copy of the census, which I read this week but do not have with me (It’s found in archeological books.) basically says that indeed the families have to return to the cities of their origin if they want to keep the titles of their land, and it confirms the fact that a decree did go out from Caesar Augustus at that time, and it was while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
Now, my dear friend, do you understand how important it is for us to believe and to be convinced that if all the facts were known, we have in our hands a very, very reliable book? It is the Word of God.
I conclude with another quote from that veritable treasure of theological wisdom and knowledge, namely Time Magazine. (laughter) It says, “Few scholars believe that the miracles like Moses’ burning bush or Jesus’ resurrection will ever be proved scientifically.” That’s Time Magazine. (chuckles) I don’t understand why they wrote that. I don’t want to be too hard on the author but either there is something going on here that we don’t perceive (This is, if I might say so, quite foolish.) to prove these things scientifically. The scientific method is dependent upon observation, the gathering of data, the repeated experiments. The hypothesis is developed and the hypothesis is tested.
Not only will the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the burning bush not be proven scientifically, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that the existence of Napoleon cannot be proven scientifically either. You don’t prove historical events scientifically. Scientific investigation has to do with that whole duplication of events, the repeated experiments. If you want to know whether or not Ivory soap floats, you buy some Ivory soap. And then you get your neighbors to buy some Ivory soap, and then you test it. And you test it until you are convinced that it floats or that it doesn’t float. You can’t do that with these events. They cannot be proven scientifically. Of course they cannot be, but they can be proven historically in the sense that the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is overwhelmingly strong in comparison to all other manuscripts that have been found regarding ancient literature, whether it is the writings of Plato or Greek history or whatever. Now that, of course, would involve us here in a lecture, and this is to be a sermon and not a lecture, but I can assure you of the fact that if you approach the New Testament manuscripts with an unbiased mind, and you say to yourself, “You know, I am willing to believe if the evidence is compelling,” you can believe. But if you say, “I will not believe no matter what,” nothing will convince you.
I like the words of Bernard Ram. He says, “No other book has been so chopped, knifed, sifted, scrutinized and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or classical literature in modern times has been the subject of such mass attack as the Bible? And the attack has been with such venom and skepticism, with such thoroughness and erudition upon every line, every chapter, every tenet.” He says, “A thousand times over the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tomb stone, and the committal read, but somehow the corpse never stays put.” It just never stays put. It’s always there. It’s always there.
I’d like to make two conclusions today. First, the Bible has enough evidence for those who are open to belief. It has enough evidence for those who are open to belief, but not enough for those who are closed to belief. We’ve already made the point. If you are here today, sitting with your arms crossed, and you’re saying to yourself, “You know, I’m a skeptic,” I cannot prove you otherwise. If you want evidence for some of the patriarchs, we’ve already learned you can’t substantiate it. No inscriptions have been found. I can’t convince you. So enjoy your skepticism.
If you approach the Bible and say, “You know, I don’t know whether or not it’s God’s Word, but I am going to read it and ask God to show me about Christ, because I’m open to the possibility that God has spoken,” why indeed, for you there is much evidence. Much evidence! You know, we sometimes refer to Thomas, who was a latecomer in the believing of the resurrection, and he said, “Except I shall put my hand in the print of His nails, I will not believe.” And then Jesus very graciously came through the closed door without opening it and said, “Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hand, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” And Thomas, you remember, said, “My Lord and my God.”
You see, the disciples were not wily-minded gullible fishermen. They were hard-headed. They wanted evidence. But thank God that Thomas was at least an honest doubter. He was a doubter who was willing to believe if the evidence was there. And Jesus very graciously granted him the evidence and said, “Here it is.” And he confessed, “I believe.”
And by the way, your name is in the Bible. All of us, I suppose, would like to have our names in the Bible, but it’s there in John 21, because Jesus said, “Blessed is the person who has not seen and yet has believed.” Blessed is John, Mary, Peter and Paul, and Darryl and Doug and others who haven’t seen and yet they believed. You see, there’s enough evidence for those who are open to faith, but not enough evidence for the people who say, “I will not believe. Period.” In fact, if we had 100 percent proof we wouldn’t need faith. There is faith but it is a reasonable faith. It’s a sensible faith. It’s a faith based on good evidence, but it is not absolute for those who do not want to believe.
Secondly, to take the final step of personal trust in Christ, that is actually a gift of faith that God gives. What do I mean? Let’s suppose that we could go back 2000 years and we could go up to the hill of Calvary and watch Jesus die. Or let us suppose that there was some archeological find that said Jesus died on a cross and it even gave the inscription above the cross when He died. Let’s just suppose that that were found. Would all the skeptics be saying, “Oh, I believe.” No, all that they’d do is believe that Jesus was crucified. They would not believe that He was crucified for our sins. You see?
To believe that Jesus was crucified for our sins, and for you to personally believe it, that is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Spirit draw him.” That’s a miracle of God. You say, “Well, if it’s a miracle of God, then why do you even preach? Why don’t you just let God do His miracles?” It’s because during preaching God may do a miracle.
I’m going to tell you a story which I’ve told a couple of times now in prayer meeting and so forth, and since various versions of it are now floating around the church, you might as well get it from the person who was active in its instigation.
I teach once a week this semester up at Trinity International University. I teach preaching, and one day I was trying to think of how I could impress upon my students the fact that it was while we were dead in trespasses and sins that God raised us. And unless God raises the dead, spiritually speaking, preaching is useless. So I decided to take them to a cemetery in Deerfield. And I didn’t know where the cemetery was, but I went early. I finally found a place to park. The story is a little longer than I’m making it. I saw a woman come out of a restaurant and I just asked her cold turkey, “Could you tell me where the cemetery is here in Deerfield?” And she said, “I can’t believe that you are asking because we were just talking about that.” And a man steps out of the restaurant and she said, “He’s the caretaker of the cemetery.” (chuckles) It’s just one of those little things that God does once in a while to let you know that you are on track.
So I said to him, “You know, I teach just up the way at Trinity. I would like to bring my class to the cemetery.” I said, “Where is the cemetery?” He said, “If you’d have kept going two more blocks you’d have found it.” And then he told me where to park, and said that the cemetery would be open and I could have my class in the cemetery.
So after lecturing for awhile I told the students to pack up their books. I told them we were going to cemetery. I told them how to get there. They arrived. They were all gathering around and we came to a tombstone that was maybe four feet high with a man buried in it. Jonathan, I believe, was his name, and his wife, Adrianne. At least we’ll say that. I do remember they died in 1912—Jonathan and Adrianne.
And so I read the text where it says that we are dead in trespasses and sins, and God sovereignly made us alive. And then I read Ezekiel 37 where God says, “Ezekiel, preach to these dry bones.” So I said to one of the students, Tom… I said, “Tom, would you preach to Adrianne and Jonathan and tell them it’s resurrection morning and that it’s time to get up?” And I stared at him. (laughter) And you know, he wouldn’t do it. (laughter) Seriously! He just stared back as if to say, “You can’t be serious.” So I said, “Well, if you won’t, I will.” So I went over there and I shouted. I said, “Jonathan and Adrianne, rise up. It’s resurrection morning.” And then I paused. Boy, am I ever glad that nothing happened. (laughter)
And then I said to the students, “You know what the problem is? They couldn’t hear me.” That was the problem, and I went over and I shouted more loudly. I said, “Jonathan and Adrianne, wake up; it’s resurrection morning,” with all of my might. I waited. There was no resurrection. Then I said to the students, “How do you think I felt doing that? Pretty stupid, yeah!” I felt so stupid that Tom wouldn’t even do it.
And I said, “That’s the way it is when we preach the Gospel to people. We’re doing something that is absolutely silly apart from the fact that God in His grace might create a resurrection. And then I read the rest of Ezekiel 37 where when he preached to dry bones, God took flesh and put it on the bones. And then after the flesh, God came and breathed life into the bones, and they lived.
Do you know that there could be here today somebody whose heart is prepared to believe, and God is working in your life and that’s why you feel so guilty? That’s why you feel so alienated from God because you don’t know where to turn. And I want you to know today that even at this moment while I am speaking God could quicken you and you say, “Yes, I believe.” And if you say that and you were saved, it is a gift of God. It’s a gift of God!
And that’s what the Gospel is. We could argue for hours about the historicity of the Bible, and no matter how much evidence I gave, you could turn away and walk away. But the real issue is this. If you come today with a hungry heart, willing to believe, and say, “God, I long to believe,” believe in Christ who died for us, you could have a camera and have picked up resurrection morning. A skeptic could look at Christ coming out of the tomb and say, “Well, isn’t that interesting? We have a very, very confusing natural occurrence which we have not been able to explain.” You could explain it away, but if you desire to believe, believe in Christ today and be saved.
Father, we ask that You shall take these words and brand them into the hearts and the minds of all who have listened we pray. And we ask, Lord, that even today, those who perhaps came with skepticism in their hearts might be willing to reach out and say, “Yes, I believe on Christ.” Grant them that ability we pray.
And before I close this prayer, if you need to talk to the Lord, you can reach out to Him right where you are and say, “Yes, I believe. I believe.” Hungry heart, defeated, alienated, lonely, guilty, believe that Jesus died for sinners.
Father, do that in mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.