What Evidence is There to Support What Christ Said?

We are continuing to meditate on the indirect as well as the direct claims by Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God (Scroll down for yesterday’s thoughts). People make wild claims about themselves all the time, so what is the evidence that what Jesus said about Himself was actually true? Let’s explore some of the evidence:

1) His Teaching. The teaching of Jesus is widely acknowledged to be the greatest teaching that has ever fallen from anyone’s lips. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” “Love your enemies, “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5-7).

Bernard Ramm, an American Professor of theology, said this about the teachings of Jesus:

They are read more, quoted more, loved more, believed more, and translated more because they are the greatest words ever spoken…Their greatness lies in the pure lucid spirituality in dealing clearly, definitively, and authoritatively with the greatest problems that throb in the human breast…No other man’s words have the appeal of Jesus’ words because no other man can answer these fundamental human questions as Jesus answered them. They are the kind of words and the kind of answers we would expect God to give.[1]

Could this teaching really come from a con man or a madman?

2) His Works. Some say that Christianity is boring. It would not be boring being around Jesus. When He went to a party, He changed a huge amount of water into wine (John 2:1-11), and the best wine that the wine taster had tasted.

What about when He went to a funeral? He told them to take the stone away and to loose the bandages off of Lazarus! (John 11).

What about going to a picnic with Jesus when all they had was 5 loaves and 2 fish? (Mark 6:41).

What about going to the hospital with Jesus, when there was a man lying there who had been an invalid for 36 years? He told him to get up. He healed him completely (John 5:5).

What about His death? —laying down His life for His friends (John 15:13).

3) His character.

Bernard Levin wrote of Jesus: “Is not the nature of Christ, in the words of the New Testament, enough to pierce to the soul anyone with a soul to be pierced? He still looms over the world, his message still clear, his pity still infinite, his consolation still effective, his words still full of glory, wisdom and love.”

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, describes the character of Jesus in his autobiography, The Door Wherein I Went, how the person of Jesus came alive to him when he was in college:

“The first thing we must learn about him is that we should have been absolutely entranced by his company.  Jesus was irresistibly attractive as a man…what they crucified was a young man, vital, full of life and the joy of it, the Lord of life itself, and even more the Lord of laughter, someone so utterly attractive that people followed him for the sheer fun of it…the Twentieth Century needs to recapture the vision of this glorious and happy Man whose mere presence filled his companions with delight. No pale Galilean He, but a veritable Pied Piper of Hamelin who would have the children laughing all round Him and squealing with pleasure and joy as He picked them up.”[2]

Are you convinced as to His deity yet? Keith Thomas

[1] Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidence (Moody Press).

[2] Lord Hailsham, The Door Wherein I Went, (Fount/Collins, 1975).

Jesus’ Indirect Claim to be God

We are meditating on the Holy Scriptures saying that Jesus was God in human form, the Son of God. The Lord said a number of things, which, although not direct claims to be God, show that he regarded Himself as being in the same position as God, as we will see in an example from Mark’s Gospel. Let’s look at His indirect claim to be God by first looking at His authority to forgive sins:

3Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:3-12).

This claim to be able to forgive sins is indeed an astonishing claim. C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, puts it well when he writes,

One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to.  I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins.  Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic.  We can all understand how a man forgives offenses against himself.  You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you.  But what should we make of a man, himself unrobed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money?  Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give his conduct.  Yet, this is what Jesus did.  He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured.  He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the person chiefly offended in all offenses.  This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws were broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.  In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivaled by any other character in history.

His claim to be the Judge of the World.

 Another extraordinary indirect claim is that He would one day judge the world.  He said that He would return and be the judge of all men:

31“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32“All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-32).

All the nations would be gathered before Him. He would pass judgment on them. Some would receive an inheritance prepared for them since the creation of the world and eternal life, but others would suffer the punishment of being separated from Him forever. My hope is that He will be your Savior rather than your judge. May God open your heart in order that you may reach out to Him in faith to be your Savior and Lord. Tomorrow we will look at some of His direct claims to be God. Keith Thomas

I AM WHO I AM

At the burning bush, when God spoke to Moses, telling him that He was sending him to the Israelites in Egypt to deliver them out of bondage, Moses asked God whom he shall say was sending him. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). In John chapter 8, John describes a scene where Jesus was responding to the Pharisee’s criticisms. They thought they had caught Him out when He told them that He had seen Abraham. Jesus said:

56Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57“You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds (John 8:56-59).

He didn’t say, “Before Abraham was born, I was”, or “before Abraham was, I already existed.” No, instead He deliberately used the same name translated into Greek, EGO AMI, the name by which God had revealed Himself to the Israelites, the Great I AM. Notice how they responded to this statement. They took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy, because He was claiming to be God. This is an important truth for us to understand because of the statement of Christ just a few verses earlier in John 8:24, where Jesus said: “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am (the one I claim to be), you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). Notice that in most English translations, the words “the one I claim to be” is in parenthesis. Why did the editors put those words in parenthesis? Because it is not in the original text!  It puts a different emphasis on the passage entirely, doesn’t it? Jesus is clearly saying that redemption comes only as we get a true picture of just who Jesus is—the Divine Son of God, the great I AM. Either way, Jesus’ meaning is clear. Eternal life hinges on an understanding of who He is. If He is only a man, eternal life would depend on the truth He taught. Instead, the greatest truth we must start with is the fact that He is the great “I AM.” He is the way, the truth and the life. Keith Thomas

Can a Man Forgive Sins?

It never ceases to amaze me about how biblical prophecy was remarkably fulfilled in great detail even though it was spoken hundreds of years beforehand. In the prophecy of Isaiah, for instance, God told us that He would send a Messiah, a man that would be more than a man; He would be God in the flesh:

14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)

 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:23).

Some say that Jesus never went around claiming, “I am God.” I agree that Christ was far too humble of soul to state such an arrogant statement, but when you look in detail what He did and said, it was evident that He saw Himself as God. Take, for instance, the healing of the paralyzed man:

3Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:3-12).

In this passage, we see an indirect claim to be God. Christ claimed to be able to forgive sins—an astonishing claim! C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity puts it well when he writes,

“One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to.  I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offenses against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give his conduct.  Yet, this is what Jesus did.  He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured.  He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the person chiefly offended in all offenses. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws were broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.  In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivaled by any other character in history.”

Do not miss this truth, my dear friends. God has come to us in human form and shown us His great love for us by taking the penalty that our sins deserve—death and separation from God. Isn’t it time to receive Him as Savior and Lord—for that is exactly who He is! Keith Thomas

Does the Old Testament Say That God has a Son?

Does the Old Testament say that God has a Son? The Tenakh is what Christians call the Old Testament. The Tenakh is the sacred writings inspired by God for Jews and Gentiles (Non-Jews). The Jewish people have been faithful in their responsibility to keep these sacred writings free from error. So, what does the Tenakh (the Old Testament) say about God having a Son?

6“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” 7I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 
8Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 
9You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” 10Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 
11Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 
12Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, 
for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:6-12).

There is a King coming to the people of Earth, a mighty warrior King who will put down all evil and rebellion against the Most High God. Verse 11 says that we are to pay homage (kiss) to this King. Everyone who places their trust in this King will be blessed and be able to take refuge in Him (verse 12). The Holy Scriptures, the Tenakh, says that this King will be God Himself

Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him (Isaiah 40:10).

You might be a Jewish person, but perhaps you have never read the Tenakh, for most Jewish people read only the first five books of Moses. Just so that you know that there are more places than one that God says that He has a Son, what about the book of the Tenakh called Proverbs? When talking about some of the attributes of the Creator God, the writer of Proverbs says:

4Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4).

This mighty King of Israel is the same suffering servant that we wrote about a few posts previously. His name is Jesus, which means The Lord our Savior. He has come once to deliver us from the guilt and shame of our sin, but He is also coming again as our mighty King and deliverer from the satanic forces of deception that are at work in the world. Surely there is never a better time than today to kiss the Son and take refuge in Him. Bow the knee to Him and call upon His Name that your sins and guilt be washed away and that when He comes, He will come as your King and Deliverer.

Keith Thomas