Meet Jesus

Was Jesus an historical person?

There are a lot of controversial debates going on today about who Jesus was in history and what that means to those who believe in him.  It is impossible to prove scientifically that Jesus is the son of God.  Ultimately, it requires faith to believe in him.
 
However, you don’t have to throw away your brain to believe.  The christian faith is based on reason.  A lot of evidence for the truth of the claims of christ exists.  (you might read some of lee strobel’s books like the case for christ).
 
The new testament contains four “gospels” written between 35 and 70 years after christ—by eyewitnesses or their students.  They preserved the oral tradition that had been taught by the apostles of christ.  Oral tradition at that time was much more fixed than today.
 
Other contemporaries referred to Jesus, like josephus, a jewish historian.
 
But i think one of the most powerful evidences is that most of the disciples of Jesus—who had denied him at his crucifixion—went to their deaths claiming that Jesus had done these things.  In other words, they were willing to die rather than deny the truth.
 
And of course, they started a movement that has grown for 2000 years—founded in large part on their testimony.
 
Was Jesus God?

Some people think that Jesus was just a teacher or even a prophet, but deny that he was the son of God.  C. S. Lewis said that we cannot say Jesus was just a good teacher.  He was either a lunatic or the son of God.
 
He forgave sins (something only God can do), received worship and called God his own father in a way that offended his jewish listeners.
 
Jesus’ enemies understood the implications of his claims.  “for this reason the [jewish leaders] tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the sabbath, but he was even calling God his own father, making himself equal with God” (john 5: 18).
 
The truth is that Jesus was crucified because he claimed to be the son of God.  At his trial, when he was asked by the high priest, caiaphas, “tell us if you are the messiah, the son of God,” he answered, “yes, it is as you say” (matt. 26: 63-64).  It is this that inflamed the wrath of the jewish leaders.  “’he is worthy of death,’ they answered” (matt. 26: 66).
 
And Jesus told his disciples ahead of time that he would suffer and die, but then he would rise again on the third day.  This sounds like the demented raving of a crazy person.  Except that he did it.
 
What other great leader has predicted his own resurrection and then did it?
 
The truth that Jesus is God, the son, rests on the truth of his resurrection from the dead.  “for what i received i passed on to you as of first importance: that christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to peter, and then to the twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to james, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (1 cor. 15: 3-8).
 
Paul and the apostles understood how important their eyewitness testimony was.  And they recorded it in order to verify that Jesus christ rose from the dead.
 
“through the spirit of holiness, [Jesus] was declared with power to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus christ our lord” (rom. 1: 4).
 
Why did he come?

Jesus came to make God known to us and to restore us to fellowship with him.  
 
Mankind was eternally separated from God because of our sinful nature.  No one who lives is without sin.
 
You may say, “but i’m a pretty good person.”  Have you ever in your life lied about anything?  Have you ever acted in self-interest in a way that hurt someone else?  Have you ever let anyone down?  No human being is perfect enough to be without sin.
 
Jesus came, born of God, without sin.  In doing this for us, he bridged the gap between us and a holy God.
 
“the word (that is, Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the father, full of grace and truth” (john 1: 14).
 
He lived the life of a man in complete submission to God, his father.  He showed us what humanity was meant to look like.  Then, he paid the price that we could not pay.  His sinless life was given as a sacrifice in our behalf.
 
“for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (john 3: 16).
 
Jesus is God’s provision for our greatest need.  Faith in Jesus is what heals our broken relationship with God and secures our eternal life with him.
 
What do i do about it?

The proper response to Jesus is to place our faith in him.  You might pray something like this:
 
“Jesus, i’ve been going my own way.  I turn away now from my self-determined life and i place my trust in you to be my lord and my savior.  Thank you for dying for me on the cross.  Thank you that i am forgiven of my sin.  I want to be your disciple.  Teach me how to be more and more like you.  I give myself to you today.  Amen.”
 
If you prayed this or a similar prayer, it is just the beginning of a lifelong journey with God.  It is important to pray and read the bible regularly.  And also, it is important to gather with others who are following Jesus so that you can all grow in your walk with christ.
 
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