12th December 2016

Jesus Christ- Son Of God

Jesus Christ – the Son of God?

As we face the claims of Christ, there are only four possibilities. He was either a liar, a lunatic, a legend, or the Truth. If we say He is not the Truth, we are automatically affirming one of the other three alternatives, whether we realise it or not.

(1) One possibility is that Jesus lied when He said He was God–that He knew He was not God, but deliberately deceived His hearers to lend authority to His teaching. Few, if any, seriously hold this position. Even those who deny His deity affirm that He was a great moral teacher. They fail to realise those two statements are a contradiction. Jesus could hardly be a great moral teacher if, on the most crucial point of His teaching–His identity–He was a deliberate liar.

(2) A kinder, though no less shocking possibility, is that He was sincere but self-deceived. We have a name for a person today who thinks he is God. That name is lunatic, and it certainly would apply to Christ if He were deceived on this all-important issue. But as we look at the life of Christ, we see no evidence of the abnormality and imbalance we find in a deranged person. Rather, we find the greatest composure under pressure.

(3) The third alternative is that all of the talk about His claiming to be God is a legend–that what actually happened was that His enthusiastic followers, in the third and fourth centuries, put words into His mouth He would have been shocked to hear. Were He to return, He would immediately repudiate them.

The legend theory has been significantly refuted by many discoveries of modern archaeology. These have conclusively shown that the four biographies of Christ were written within the lifetime of contemporaries of Christ. Some time ago Dr. William F. Albright, world-famous archaeologist now retired from JohnsHopkinsUniversity, said that there was no reason to believe that any of the Gospels were written later than A.D. 70. For a mere legend about Christ, in the form of the Gospel, to have gained the circulation and to have had the impact it had, without one shred of basis in fact, is incredible.

For this to have happened would be as fantastic as for someone in our own time to write a biography of the late John F. Kennedy and in it say he claimed to be God, to forgive people’s sins, and to have risen from the dead. Such a story is so wild it would never get off the ground because there are still too many people around who knew Kennedy. The legend theory does not hold water in the light of the early date of the Gospel manuscripts.

(4) The only other alternative is that Jesus spoke the truth. From one point of view, however, claims don’t mean much. Talk is cheap. Anyone can make claims. There have been others who have claimed to be God. I could claim to be God, and you could claim to be God, but the question all of us must answer is, “What credentials do we bring to substantiate our claim?” In my case it wouldn’t take you five minutes to disprove my claim. It probably wouldn’t take too much more to dispose of yours. But when it comes to Jesus of Nazareth, it’s not so simple. He had the credentials to back up His claim. He said, “Even though you do not believe Me, believe the evidence of the miracles, that you may learn and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” (John 10:38).

 

 

If Jesus is the Son of God…

If Christ rose, we know with certainty that God exists, what He is like, and how we may know Him in personal experience. The universe takes on meaning and purpose, and it is possible to experience the living God in contemporary life.

On the other hand, if Christ did not rise from the dead, Christianity is an interesting museum piece–nothing more. It has no objective validity or reality. Though it is a nice wishful thought, it certainly isn’t worth getting steamed up about. The martyrs who went singing to the lions, and contemporary missionaries who have given their lives in Ecuador and Congo while taking this message to others, have been poor deluded fools.

The attack on Christianity by its enemies has most often concentrated on the Resurrection because it has been clearly seen that this event is the crux of the matter. A remarkable attack was the one contemplated in the early ’30s by a young British lawyer. He was convinced that the Resurrection was mere fable and fantasy. Sensing that it was the foundation stone of the Christian faith, he decided to do the world a favour by once and for all exposing this fraud and superstition. As a lawyer, he felt he had the critical faculties to rigidly sift evidence and to admit nothing as evidence which did not meet the stiff criteria for admission into a law court today.

However, while Frank Morrison was doing his research, a remarkable thing happened. The case was not nearly as easy as he had supposed. As a result, the first chapter in his book, Who Moved the Stone? is entitled, “The Book That Refused to Be Written.” In it he described how, as he examined the evidence, he became persuaded against his will, of the fact of the bodily resurrection of Christ.

 

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