“He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’ When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and recognized that they had to be with Jesus…” ~ Acts 4:11-13
Last week, More Than Judas considered The Da Vinci Code Jesus- a “savior” with a small s. Dan Brown’s fictional tale is one example of how people orchestrate their “Jesus ideals”, according to their own personal preferences- whether intentional or not.
Furthermore, rather than ground these notions on well-researched evidence, curious minds turn to counterfeit annotations and frivolous theories, that support their dogmas. The Historical Jesus seeks to determine who Jesus Christ is, most often with the presumption of skepticism. Moreover, some of the sources used in this quest have been proven by scholars to be unsubstantiated.
Throughout this series MTJ has determined several factual validations supporting Christianity, and the existence of Christ Jesus.
- The science of Historicity has proven that of the 6,000 copies of the original Biblical Manuscripts, the Scriptures are 99.5% accurate. Of this small amount, the errors only include misspellings, grammatical mistakes, word repetitions, or other variant gaffes. NO DOCTRINAL MATTERS WERE INCLUDED WITHIN THESE OVERSIGHTS.
- There is more evidence supporting the life of Jesus Christ, than Homer’s Iliad, Aristotle, Caesar, Plato, and many more. In fact, one could add up each of the evidences together, supporting these historical figures and Jesus would still have more proof of existence, than all others combined.
But yet, the masses of skeptics seek to undermine and dismiss Jesus, every day. Why? To begin with, Jesus claimed to be God. This notion will undoubtedly attract the contrarians and cynics. Secondly, there is an abundance of false information readily available, by militant Atheists, who are mostly ill-equipped scholarly in regard to theology. Instead of assessing the facts on all sides, agendas are simply thrusted upon the multitude to satisfy their credo. To be fair, there are plenty of Christians that also succumb to this approach. Honestly, I find both annoying.
JESUS THE SON OF GOD
To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, and other Apologists or preachers who have made similar declarations, such as John Duncan: Jesus Christ can either be Lord of all, a liar, or a lunatic who has absolutely lost His mind. Some Christian Apologists suggest this is an unsound approach to take in a debate. Conversely, Atheists tend to scoff at this notion, as merely a false dilemma with limited discretion. Oftentimes, this resistance is to reserve the right to identify Jesus as a moralist, to give intellectual assent from afar, to see him as merely a do gooder of his time.
Of course, Jesus was a good person. I think most people would agree. But personally, when I think of good people, I think of people like Mother Teresa. She was a lady who never claimed to be God…she just served other people and gave all she had.
Nonetheless, Jesus was different. This was a Man who indeed made outlandish claims. To merely dismiss Jesus as a good man is to ignore essential fabric of the Man of Christ. Not only did He claim to be God, Jesus declared He was the way, the truth, and the life. More specifically, no one can get to The Father, except through Him. Mother Teresa never made claims as such.
In addition to making the assertions He did, Jesus went to the Cross, died, and overcame the grave. Despite the millions who have searched, His body has never been discovered.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6
So is in fact Jesus Christ Lord of all? Could Jesus have been nothing more than a liar, who used outlawed rebels to write, “The Bible?” Or, was Jesus just a lunatic who belonged in a straight-jacket? Ultimately, who Jesus Christ is can only be answered by you. Despite the ample amount of evidence supporting the claims of Christianity, this is an inquiry of the heart no one else can answer- except you.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” ~ Matthew 27:22
In my experience as a hospice chaplain, all dying men are forced to reconcile this conception in one manner or another. It is at this point, a man’s last dying breath that many often realize their good is never good enough to get into Heaven. A feeling of inadequacy is usually always a guaranteed emotion.
There are still plenty of questions that must be addressed in this quest of answering the question “Who is Jesus?” If God’s Word is the foundation of the Christian testimony, then the life of Christ hinges on Scripture. Therefore, the more one can prove the reliability of the Bible the more convincing the argument for Christianity becomes. Furthermore, the Crucifixion serves as the singular most critical event, which Christianity is based on. Find Jesus’ body. Disprove Christianity.
Over the next few weeks More Than Judas will consider the following questions:
- December 2nd: Review how the Bible came about. Why are there so many translations of the Bible? Is the Bible really inspired? And how can the Bible be trusted if the Gospels were not written until years after the life of Jesus?
- December 9th: Why do the Gospel accounts differ from one another?
- December 16th: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We will also consider the outside biblical resources.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Jesus: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Here are a few additional readings over the frequent issues which can often cause confusion, when answering the question “Who is Jesus Christ?”
IS THE BIBLE REALLY INSPIRED?
These are a set of books initially not considered to be inspired text. Centuries later after the Church Fathers identified the Biblical Canon, the Catholic Church add the Apocrypha as inspired text. Yet, this causes issues. To begin, Jesus never referenced books from the Apocrypha. Next, there are historical mistakes documented in these texts.
THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS
The Da Vinci Code Jesus last week briefly discussed the Gnostic Gospel of Judas. These type of pseudo graphical writings ascribed centuries after the life of Jesus, do not exalt Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, nor is the author identified as one who walked with the Messiah, or associated with someone who did.
Prayer: Father God, if Jesus Christ is real, I pray that You show Him to me in a very real way. Open my eyes Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.