John Stonestreet’s reflection on what it was like to see biblical locations in person on his recent trip to Israel reminds me why I love studying apologetics:
Seeing these places, where the events of the Bible actually took place—not in some dream-time or fictional world, but right here, on this very soil—well, it’s incredible.
There is actually a place where Jericho once stood. The bluff where King David built his palace is a real bluff. The mountain where Elijah called down fire from heaven exists.
And, as we continue to talk about time after time on BreakPoint, archaeology continues to validate these accounts. These discoveries not only verify the truthfulness of the Bible, they remind us how thoroughly grounded the Christian faith is in actual history.
In just the last year, the existence of the biblical Philistines and Edomites has been confirmed by new discoveries, as has the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, and even an obscure official in the court of King Josiah….
One member of our editorial team tells of how, during his own visit to Israel years ago, he went to the synagogue in Capernaum—which almost certainly stands on the site where Jesus preached and cast out a demon, as is recorded in Mark 1 and Luke 4. Because of the synagogue’s layout and size, archaeologists can say, to within a few feet, that “Jesus stood here.”
Think about that for a second. The God of the universe in human form, the Word who became flesh, stood here. What a mind-boggling concept! And what a reminder that Christianity isn’t some subjective religious experience, or a mere expression of personal piety, as we too often seem to imply.
If you’ve ever been to a museum where you saw an item that belonged to someone in history—particularly if he (or she) was a hero of yours (Lincoln, Wilberforce, etc.)—you know the feeling that comes with seeing that tangible object. There’s awe and wonder as you’re brought close to that historical person. There’s a sense of, “Wow, his hands touched that object. He really existed…in reality…in the world I’m in. And that’s a piece of him right there in front of me.”
It’s not that you didn’t truly think Lincoln or Wilberforce existed before you saw the object. Rather, there’s just something about seeing evidence of the reality of their existence that brings the truth home in a new way. This is the kind of experience I think John Stonestreet is referring to in the post above, and it’s also why I went into apologetics.
When I’m contemplating evidence and arguments for the reality of Jesus and His resurrection, that same sense of awe and wonder comes over me as the reality of Christianity is brought home to me in a new and striking way. I see the evidence in front of me, and I’m reminded once again that He really existed…in reality…in the world I’m in. And I worship.