THE IDENTITY OF JESUS – PART VII

But while the world may be ready at some level to accept the notion of signs and wonders, - miraculous cures etc, - if you will, - the notion of man that conquers the grave, - that rises up from the dead, - is a little to fantastic to believe. Or is it? Is this the final confirming and convincing evidence of God’s power? We’ll look at the evidence. HE GOT UP ! What we know to be true for his many public miracles, would certainly hold true for the greatest sign of all, His resurrection from the dead. If God exists: Miracles are possible! And the Resurrection is the touchstone of the Christian faith. If Christ did not rise from the dead, Christianity is a meaningless exercise in good morals. The validity of Jesus’ very message hinges on the truthfulness of that claim. Paul expanded on this in a letter to the Corinthian church. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith….And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still ... [More]

THE IDENTITY OF JESUS – PART VI

We have reviewed the witness of fulfilled prophecy and history and the claims of His followers and of Christ Himself. But what of the many miracles attributed to this man from Galilee? Are these but legendary? Or could they be real evidence of the Divine? MIRACULOUS EVIDENCE This brings us to another compelling form of evidence for the divinity of Christ, his miracles. As noted by the testimony of Nicodemus, and the attitude of the authorities, the fact that Jesus could perform healings and signs was never challenged by his enemies. Having just witnessed the healing of two blind men and the casting out of a demon from a mute, they were amazed and challenged instead the source of his power. “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel….It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (Matthew 9:28-33) Searching the ancient records, it was not unknown for rabbis to be able to perform exorcisms, or even successfully pray for rain. But it was the nature of Christ’s ... [More]

THE IDENTITY OF JESUS – PART V

The identity of Jesus is the central question of all time. On it, hinges the salvation of all men and the fate of the world. But reason tells us He cannot just be a good teacher. Here’s the claim in Christ’s own words. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) “BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM ?” Despite what the skeptics may claim, Jesus was not ambiguous about just who He claimed to be. Let’s get right to the point and begin with his most direct assertions of divinity. Going back to Exodus God gives His own name as “I AM WHO I AM.” (It is from the Hebrew pronunciation of this name that we get the word Yaweh, the Hebrew term for Lord.) This is the holy name of God. Isaiah 43:11 identifies that name with the Savior. “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” Now Jesus referred to himself in those very words on several occasions. In ... [More]

THE IDENTITY OF JESUS – PART IV

So the prophets revealed with perfect accuracy and extreme detail many of the particulars of Christ’s first coming. Daniel revealed the day and Luke’s gospel confirmed it. Today we’ll look at how the currents of history came together to work God’s perfect will.  THE EVIDENCE OF PROPHECY AND SCRIPTURE Yet everything in history was leading up to this moment; the fulfillment. Steve Brown of Key Life Ministries points out the historical pattern. It can be found in the cultural mores of every people. The sacrificial system is found among primitive people, anywhere on the globe, at some point in their history. We see it in the ancient pagan cultures that developed around the Mediterranean. We find it in the New World cultures of the Aztecs and the Mayans. We see it in Africa and Asia. It is all tied up in the religious notions of all peoples, everywhere. It is as if God prepared the very thought forms of every nation to understand this. It is a universal notion. Without blood there is ... [More]

THE IDENTITY OF JESUS – PART III

What did the Jews know and when did they know it? Jesus was not just a blip on the tides of history. He was not just some man that came on the scene with no past and no prophetic perspective. There was a history here and a heritage that meant that the Christ; - the Messiah, - should have been expected, - and recognized. Let’s look at the evidence. WHAT DID THEY KNOW & WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT ? Let’s try and put this all in perspective. What can we really know? We know for instance that the testimony of his contemporaries confirms so much that we know about Jesus. A passage in the Babylonian Talmud, a Jewish book of commentary on the Scriptures, contains references to “Yeshu, the Nazarene.” Writings dated to the 2nd century confirm that he was hanged “on the eve of the Sabbath”, at the time of Passover. The passage also mentions Joseph of Arimathaea, who buried Jesus in his own tomb, and refers to the fact that he was accused of sorcery. This latter reference confirms the ... [More]