The View From 1776
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Jesus Was and Is Real
At Easter, the celebration of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, Marie Jon reminds us that the gospel accounts of Jesus’s ministry were not mythological figments, but accounts written mostly within 30 years of the resurrection by eye witnesses who endured savage persecution and horrific deaths to testify to the Truth they had personally experienced, what they had seen with their own eyes.
Rejoice, rejoice, Jesus is Lord
By Marie Jon
Columnist and RA Analyst
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
History is filled with the names of people who have changed the way we live and think. Names like Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and student of Plato; Alexander the Great; and other familiar names pass the lips of people who have never read one book about them, because they played such a profound role in the development of human civilization. Others, like Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, and Albert Einstein, are remembered for furthering mankind’s frontiers of knowledge.
However, there is one person, without a doubt, whose name stands out above all the rest. Jesus of Nazareth has had much more of an impact on our civilization. He was the gentle carpenter who changed lives with His earthly ministry. Christ came to a world besieged in darkness, and set the captives free.
Diminishing the Son of God
There are many people who believe that Christ was merely a good man. Christendom, on the other hand, reveres Jesus as God in human flesh. Yet, to this very day, many question that He is the Son of God. Unfortunately, some are within the Christian community.
It is most unfortunate that there is this ongoing debate concerning the personage of Jesus, especially among those who claim to follow Him. The Lord’s identity is under attack by denominations that choose to ignore biblical teachings of the body of Christ. They would rather use the name of Jesus and incorporate Him in man-made theologies than embrace the purity of God’s Word.
There are self-appointed groups such as the Jesus Seminar that believe their own wisdom can determine the authenticity of Scripture. The result is that they continually call into question whether Jesus was God in human flesh who dwelt among us.
Evangelical and conservative Christian scholars have fervently questioned the methodology as well as the arrogant ideas of the 150 individuals who make up the leadership roster of the Jesus Seminar. Other denominations akin to this one are in every city in America. They are constantly trying to tear down the Christian faith by substituting truth with error. “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
Deception and sin
When men believe their own religious folly, there usually is a sin problem that they refuse to turn over to The Almighty. They cherish their own ways. Such individuals will always experience a spiritual downward fall, which usually begins with self-pride and rebellious deceit. The seared minds of reprobates gravitate to the father of lies until truth becomes blurred by misguided fallacies. Many are lost forever because they have hardened their hearts and no longer hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Man’s questions can be sufficiently answered by reading what the Bible has to say about Jesus. There is no good reason to be deceived or confused. Everyone possesses a desire that springs from the heart to believe in a place beyond the grave. There is a yearning to go home and have eternal life with our heavenly Father. The Holy Scriptures give account and evidence that prove who He is. If Jesus is not God, then all that His life can offer is merely good moral ideology, and He cannot grant anyone eternal life.
Witnesses of the risen Lord
The question of Jesus and His righteousness is extremely important and timely as liturgical churches have entered into the Lenten Season. All of Christendom prepares for the glory of Easter Day. Only the Son of God could die for our sins.
Shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection, He met two downhearted disciples conversing with one another about His empty tomb as they walked on the road to Emmaus. He said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:12-27).
At the end of their journey, as these men were gathered with the eleven disciples, Jesus appeared again and said, “Peace be unto you.” The frightened disciples thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus had to show them His wounds and eat a piece of fish to prove that He was alive.
Because they were still not sure what to make of Him, Jesus explained how He had fulfilled the scriptures by His suffering, death, and resurrection. He then said, “Thus it is written that Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:28-48).
There are prophecies in the Old Testament that are so precise that they could not possibly have been fulfilled naturally. Within these prophecies, the supernaturalism of Jesus is revealed.
Most people’s biographies are written after their death. Not so with Jesus. His biography was written before He was born. I find that remarkable.
In addition to the prophetic words of Isaiah 53, take a look at the book of Micah. The prophecy in this book is quite amazing because it reveals the exact birthplace of Jesus. The Prophet Micah penned his words looking far into the future:
“But thou Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of these shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
God’s patriarchs and prophets foretold that Jesus Christ would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. It was not a coincidence that a decree of Caesar Augustus brought the holy family, Mary and Joseph, to Bethlehem, the exact night of Christ’s birth.
How did Micah the prophet know 700 years in advance that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem? It’s simply impossible to know unless a loving Creator God was involved laying out His plan for man’s salvation.
If we could step back in time and interview people living in Nazareth when Mary’s pregnancy was quite advanced, we could have asked the people just where they thought the child was going to be born. They would obviously have said Nazareth. However, miracles happen. Christ was born in Bethlehem, exactly as foretold.
Jesus was more than just a good man or rabbinical teacher. He is divine. As followers of the living Christ, we are partakers with Him through the blessed cross of Calvary. And when this life is over, we have an eternity that awaits us in the city, New Jerusalem.
Rejoice, rejoice. Jesus is Lord.
Songs: I Can Only Imagine and The New Jerusalem
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”