“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Don’t you just love some of the things Jesus said? There are a few of His sayings that almost by themselves have utterly transformed the way our culture thinks and operates. How about, “Let the children come to me”? How about, “Love your neighbor as yourself”? How about, “For God so loved the world…”? But the thing is, anybody could have said those things. What made Jesus’ saying them so special?
On His last night with the disciples before the ordeal of the cross, Jesus shared a great deal of information with them. He knew His time was short and so He went into overdrive, making sure they knew everything they needed to know to carry them through the next couple of days.
One of the things that hit them hardest—and has stuck with us ever since—was when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In response to this, Philip said, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus’ response to Philip would have seemed like blasphemy if it hadn’t come with the previous three-years’ worth of context. He said, “Have I not been with you this whole time and you don’t recognize me?” In other words, “I am the Father.” Or to put it yet another way, “I am God.”
Jesus then went on to offer two lines of evidence for this. The first line was all the things He had said. Things like what I mentioned just a second ago. He basically invited them to believe in Him because of the words that He had said to them. And again, Jesus said some pretty powerful things. He said some things that bring the thoughtful reader to the place C. S. Lewis outlined sixty years ago. He’s either a liar (which just doesn’t jive when you examine the full weight of what He said), a lunatic (which doesn’t really make any sense either), or the Lord.
But again, why buy what He said? Anybody could have said those same things. Other people have said some pretty inspiring things over the years as well. They haven’t been heralded as the Savior of the world for them. What’s the difference?
So, Jesus offered them—and us—one more line of evidence: His works. And notice that this is almost an afterthought here. He spends quite a few words on this idea that we should believe He is who He says He is because of the things He said. And then almost as a tag He adds this: Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves. In other words, if My words aren’t enough, believe in Me because of the things I’ve done.
We’re familiar with the idea of expecting someone to walk their talk. To talk with big, bold words, but to not back them up with relevant actions is to be revealed to be a fraud. Jesus talked some awfully big talk during His ministry. He said some things that will leave you speechless if you think about them very long. This thing about being the only way to get to God is a prime example. If somebody doesn’t back talk like that up with some pretty powerful walk, we’re going to write them off as a fraud or a creep and quickly.
Here’s where I’m going: If Jesus’ words aren’t enough to convince you He is who He said He is—and let’s face it: that’s the case for a whole lot of folks—we do have something else to make the case: His actions. And there’s one action that stands out as making the strongest case: The resurrection.
If the resurrection really happened (and the evidence for that is pretty airtight), then we’ve got to do something with Jesus. He cannot be ignored. If the resurrection really happened, we have to take all of His words seriously. We have to give them the weight He intended for them to have. If the resurrection is real history, that means Jesus is Lord and we need to submit our lives to Him. If you can prove the resurrection false, you need to reject Jesus and I’ll join you. If you can’t, you need to follow Him. There are simply no other options.