Full text of apologist and bestselling author Ravi Zacharias’s sermon titled “Why I Believe Jesus”
Best quotes from this sermon:
“Take a look at your heart. You know why? On the day you see your heart is desperately wicked in need of a savior, you could become an answer rather than just another question.”
“Time is the canvas on which you present your portrait. Eternity is the key hole that takes you into the gallery that gives you the whole story.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Ravi Zacharias – Apologist & Bestselling author
And when you look at the story of Jesus and encounter with Pilate in John 18, Pilate asks him the most important question he could have ever asked. He said “What is truth?” And walked away.
Imagine that, imagine that, standing in front of him, who claimed to be “The Way, The Truth, And The Life.”
And Jesus had said to him, “They that on the side of truth, listen to me.”
And so to you this afternoon, I want to present a message within the time that I have allocated here. And the message is: Why do I believe Jesus Christ to be The Way, The Truth, And The Life?”
I have written a lot on the subject. I’ve written a book on this called Jesus Among Other Gods. I’ve written one called Why Jesus? — none of that material am I bringing to you here today. I’m just taking some existentially relevant ideas that I hope will form the impetus within your life to carry this message everywhere you go.
You see, truth is generally measured, tell us the philosophers in three ways: logical consistency; empirical adequacy; and experiential relevance. Is what you are saying logically consistent? Is it empirically verifiable? Is it experientially relevant?
So there’s consistency, verifiability and relevance. May I just take the third of these on the relevance of the message of Jesus and talk to you little bit about it.
Number one: Is this description of the human condition? No one, no one describes your heart and my heart more accurately than the person of Jesus Christ.
You know, it’s yesterday; I was talking to a young woman who comes from a completely different faith from a different part of this world. And as she was talking to me, she said to me, I never believed in God because of my faith in the icon that I believed in before. She said, now, all of a sudden in following Jesus Christ, I have seen my heart in a way I have never seen it before.
It was in the 1980s during the Cold War that I had been invited to Warsaw, Poland. It was grim, cloudy; it was cold. The Soviet presence already there very much so in the early eighties. And I was taken to another city where I was speaking to the Polish gathering.
And one day, a man by the medical doctor said to me, “Ravi, have you ever been to Auschwitz?”
I said to him, “Yes, I’ve been to some concentration camps, Buchenwald and Dachau?”
He said, “No, no, no, no, this is a death camp. Have you ever been to a death camp?”
I said, “I don’t think so.”
He said, “Let me take you there.” So we drove.
Emotionally I was totally unprepared for what I was going to see. Totally unprepared, because Buchenwald, Dachau and all, as much as they show you something, doesn’t show you what Auschwitz does.
And as I walked in there, from room to room, the only response — the only response is pin drop silence. You see the pictures of young boys that had been castrated by Mengele, standing there as twins, photograph like this with skeletons and their skin tied, taught around them, vacant, empty eyes.
And you look at what the most educated generation then did to humanity. In one room, there was 14,000 pounds of women’s hair stashed behind glass. When the women were taken into the gas ovens, they were stripped of their hair, which was then put into sacks and sold in the marketplace to make money out of all of this — 14,000 pounds of that hair still remained behind glass.
They were being exterminated in Auschwitz at the rate of 12,000 every day. They’d be stripped naked and taken into the gas rooms, which they were told were actually their showers. And they’d be so tightly packed against each other flesh to flesh already, just skin and bones. And they would not know what was coming. They were told they were going to get their first shower and all this while — shaven, bald, standing shoulder to shoulder and the spigots would be turned on, and the gas would start to descend and somebody would scream, “Gas!” Another 12,000 shoveled out of there.
And I remember walking out of there thinking to myself: This is what we are capable of — even listening to the best music under the world and going to the highest educational system.
But I missed something in that. You see ladies and gentlemen, the problem of evil is not so much that it’s so pervasive and so strong out there, but the fact that it is deep inside your heart and mind too.
Viktor Frankl who served twice in Auschwitz as a prisoner says this: “If we present man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of heredity and environment, we will feed the nihilism to which he is already prone. I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazis liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’” — Listen to the statement – “I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”
The Theory of Relativism today is being presented in the highest institutes of our learning, producing a whole generation of young men and women who no longer believe that there are absolutes. That’s where it’s happening.
The early stages of corruption may be behind lecterns, the end stages is the devaluation, the dehumanization, the denigration, and ultimately the desensitization of your conscience of mind.
One of my great heroes was a man called Malcolm Muggeridge. In the early days of my conversion, I started reading Muggeridge because he was a brilliant user of language in a way I had never read anybody else. Muggeridge himself was a late comer to Jesus Christ, possibly the greatest British journalist of the 20th century, a toss up between him and GK Chesterton. Both of them who ended up becoming moralist philosophers.
I had the privilege of being with Muggeridge just a nine months before he died at his home in England and spending one of the finest afternoons I’d ever spent in my life. As he talked of his younger days and his own wanderings, and we talked about the incident I’m not going to mention to you.
When he was a young professor of journalism in India, he loved the Indian people. He stepped out of his quarters one morning and went into the river to swim. And as he was swimming at dawn way out in the distance, he saw the silhouetted figure of a woman getting into the river far away from him.