What if it’s all true?

There’s an old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes”. It’s a way of saying that times of extreme stress and fear can prompt belief in a higher power. You start asking things like, “What’s life all about? What happens when I die? Is there really a God?”. Of course, we’d rather avoid those difficult situations that prompt these questions, but there is benefit in asking those bigger questions in life, even if the asking is uncomfortable.

People have always searched for meaning and purpose. You see this in the writings of ancient Greek philosophers and in the sacred texts of all the major religions. You can detect it in the greatest novels, essays, and poems ever written. But is it possible to find conclusive answers to our questions?

Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus made some astonishing claims and gave the world some profound answers to our deepest questions about life. With great confidence, he talked about the meaning of life, the reality and nature of God, where to find hope and happiness, and what happens to us beyond the grave. He said to his followers that he came to give us “life to the full” (John 10:10).

Jesus makes some extraordinary claims, which we’re often tempted to dismiss

There’s a story about two men who were walking along a beach in the Florida Keys in the US.  After walking for a while, one of them spotted a bottle washed up on the sand. On closer inspection, they saw that the bottle contained documents wrapped neatly in an official-looking ribbon. They pulled out the documents and found a legal will for a personal estate.

In disbelief, they read the contents of the opening letter on the first page. “Whoever finds this bottle and the contents within is entitled to inherit my whole estate.” The bottle contained more official documents and the contact details of a solicitor who would verify that the whole thing was authentic.

The two men had completely different opinions about what to do next. One of them said, “This is a hoax. This is surely too good to be true. Throw this back into the sea for someone more gullible”. And he walked off. The other man called after him and said, “What if it’s all true? Isn’t it at least worth investigating? Maybe it is a hoax, but if the stakes are so high and we have little to lose, shouldn’t we at least consider it?” At which he folded up the papers and put them in his pocket. Later on, he rang the phone number in the letter. It turns out the whole thing was true. After several weeks of meetings, he ended up inheriting over $5 million dollars of cash and real estate.

Jesus makes some extraordinary claims, which we’re often tempted to dismiss. But given what’s at stake, what if it’s all true? Maybe as you’ve come this far in thinking about these big questions, you’d like to come a little further. That’s what this series on Sundays called ChatGOD is all about.