Is Jesus and God One?
Reasons To Follow Christ
Jesus Christ is an often misunderstood person from history. While most people will acknowledge that he lived, they debate whether he earned the title Christ and especially whether he is God incarnate. While many would gladly follow God, the Creator, following Jesus is another story.
So why should we look to Him, praise Him, worship Him?
If you asked many "followers of Christ," they may answer that it feels good and right. Some feel they are a better person by following His example. Others enjoy the fellowship church brings. None of these are good reasons to be a follower of Jesus. The only valid reason to be a follower is if Jesus is indeed the Messiah, forgiver of sins. Any other reason has no eternal value.
Name Where this verse is found, and Who it is about?
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
12 Year Old Jesus As Teacher
Jesus and the Eye Witnesses
How can we truly know that Jesus is the true God, especially two thousand years after the fact? To honestly know, we need to examine the eyewitness events recorded at the time of Jesus's life. Lee Strobel did a fantastic job in his investigations. They inspire much of what I write.
There are four accounts by four different historians that you will find written in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are all different, but similar.
Your first thought may be, how accurate are these retellings? It is essential to realize that eyewitnesses wrote these gospels. Mark was the first gospel written in 60 AD, then John. If John the disciple indeed wrote John, he was there for many of Jesus's most intimate moments. All four of these historians wrote within the first century when other eyewitnesses were still around to validate the truths of these writings. Yet, despite this, although people fought against the message, they did not fight against the stories told.
Other gospels did not make it into the New Testament that tells of the events during Jesus's time. The reason why they did not make it into the Bible is because Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the earliest accounts and believed to be the most reliable. Many others written in the second century were by eyewitnesses that were no longer alive and unable to ascertain the real validity of the words, which that the gospels are the most accurate of those out there.
Differences in the Gospel
The biggest argument you will often hear from none believers is that there are differences amongst the gospels. Keep in mind, that in a court of law, even if you were to bring in four eyewitnesses, all would remember the events just slightly differently. Still, by understanding all four people's memories, you get a better idea of what truly happened.
Just because Matthew 20:30, tells about two blind men healed, but Luke 18:35-38 only lists one does not eliminate the validity that there were indeed two healed. Even Mark focuses more heavily on the more prominent of the two. The fact that one of the blind men was more prominent in the eyes of the villagers would explain why the other three would only list him when telling the story of this miracle.
Besides, if all four gospels were identical, then there would be a strong likelihood that all four had been just copies of one another, but these were all their own accounts of what had taken place. In this case, it shows this was indeed four people's version of the truth.
Beautiful Statue of Jesus
Who Is Jesus Really?
One thing that is consistent in all four gospels is that they show Jesus making His claims of deity in the first person. During this time, as well as before and after, when referring to God, we talk in the second person. He even tells people in the Bible, "Your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2). Jews believed that only God could forgive sins. He also claimed that He was here before the beginning of the world (John 17:5). So for Jesus to claim that someone's sins are forgiven, Christ was proclaiming that He was God, the Messiah. Jesus would even speak authority over the scriptures (Matt. 5:21-39) when He clarified what Moses said.
Not only does He speak in the first person, but He also keeps His claims of being the Messiah despite being threatened with a horrific death that included beatings and hanging on the cross.
In the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as the "Son of Man" over eighty times. This phrase, taken out of Daniel chapter 7, shows that the people who wrote the Bible, as well as Jesus Himself, believed that Jesus Christ was more than just a man.
Jesus was not the only one to refer to Himself as God, but Thomas (John 20:28), among others, referred to Jesus directly as God.
Many of the disciples tell about men who laid down their lives for Jesus Christ. How many of these men would have laid down their lives if they genuinely didn't believe that Jesus was God? These are men who walked with God, and eleven of the twelve gave their lives for the truth they believed.
Heaven's Protection of Jesus
The Prophesies of Jesus
How do we know that His claims were real? Was Jesus some mentally ill person who believed He was God? By studying the Old Testament, we can see that Jesus' coming was long foretold centuries before He came. The Old Testament even states where Jesus was going to be born (Micah 5:2) and whose direct family line He was going to be born to (Genesis 12:3). These two facts, more than any of the other prophecies stated, prove Jesus's divine nature. Many of the other prophecies He fulfilled could have been orchestrated by Jesus to prove that He was the Messiah. But even He, unless He was indeed God, could not choose His birthplace and to what line He came from.
Some people have trouble believing that the Old Testament truly does prophecy His coming. Here are some key points found within the Old Testament that prove people were expecting a Messiah. If Jesus is not the Messiah, then we should be awaiting the Messiah's arrival today.
The Psalms directly refer to Jesus in Psalm 2:7. Not only was Jesus's arrival prophesied, but it also prophesied a man who would lead the way. John the Baptist led the way for Jesus's coming, as we not only see throughout the New Testament but also foretold in Isaiah 40:3. Most of Jesus's life is foretold, especially his miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6), being betrayed by Judas (Psalms 41:9), His death (Daniel 9:26), and how much money He would be betrayed for (Zechariah 11:12). There are hundreds of other pieces of evidence that show that the people during Jesus's time were awaiting His arrival, and found proof that He was who He claimed to be. Jesus, Himself, also pointed to these prophesies to prove that He indeed was the Messiah (Luke 22:37).
Some reasons why people reject the teaching of Jesus is because they don't want to feel accountable to anyone but themselves. The Bible foresees that we are going to reject the gospels, reject Jesus, reject not only Christianity but Christians themselves (Isaiah 53:3). Most people will acknowledge that the Bible does give very excellent advice, but it's not the advice on good clean living that they challenge. They challenge Jesus's existence and the whole premise of the Bible.
The Answer to the Poll Above:
The quote is in Isaiah 53:6, the Old Testament. I believe it was referring to Jesus. Current Jews believe there is yet to be a Messiah.
Do You Believe Jesus Was the Messiah?
- Lee Strobel's Case for Christ
© 2011 Angela Michelle Schultz