By the Numbers

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Could Jesus Be God?

Could Jesus Be God?

We live in an enlightened age. We’ve gone to the moon, and explored the planets. We’ve invented cars, planes, phones, radios, and the internet that enable us to travel and communicate around the world. We’ve discovered how to cure diseases; transplant organs, clone animals, and who knows what marvels await us. In this age of science and technology, can we seriously believe in gods and miracles of ancient superstitious peoples? Let’s ask some critical questions that shed light on this that may be the crucial issue of our lives.
Can We Say No God Exists Who Can Act in our World?

Isn’t exhaustive knowledge required to say that? We would have to turn over every stone, look behind every tree, and search the stars to know no such God exists. But just in case a Creator, Lifegiver, and Judge might exist, it may be wise to be on good terms with Him. Honest, open-minded science as well as human experience point to such a God. See my other articles. Isn’t it then a closed-minded, dogmatic, even arrogant attitude to claim a God who acts in our world is impossible? Still we need good evidence to believe it.

What Would Convince Us of God?
Persons who deny God may never ask what would convince them of Him—they just desire to deny Him. Mormons believe Adam became god, and that we too can become gods. I would like to see them convince me of that. We can shake our fist at heaven and tell God to show Himself and we’ll believe. But is there a rule the Almighty must obey our command? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Why do persons become atheists? Some, like Sigmund Freud, ignorantly associate their cruel earthly father with God the Father, and then reject Him who sent his Son in love to save them from sin, Satan and self. Others like Madolyn Murry O'Harra deny God because of unanswered prayers and disappointments. Given their desire might have been an even worse fate. We do ask God for such foolish, childish, regretful things. Perhaps many like Aldous Huxley dislike the restraints a moral God places on them and seek reasons to reject Him. If this life is a mere drop in the eternal ocean, this is the height of foolishness. Difficult times actually draw more people to God than easy prosperous times.
If the exalted title “God” means anything, it means someone who can do things greater than what people do or what nature can do. What if someone could walk on water, multiply food, immediately heal all kinds of diseases, raise the dead, and he claimed to be God? Wouldn’t that get our attention and give us reason to think this person may be God? Well, that in fact is exactly what Jesus is said to have done and he claimed to be God! Read the Gospels.
Also, if someone did specific things predicted of a coming Messiah centuries earlier, wouldn’t that too give us good reason to believe this person is someone we had better investigate. The Jewish prophets predicted their Messiah would be God (Isa. 9:6), would be virgin born (Isa. 7:14), in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) would die for the sins of his people (Isa. 53:6), and would be raised (Ps. 16:10). Who has or who can fulfill these predictions but Jesus? There are more than two hundred of such prophecies about the coming Messiah but the Jews could only envision those of the reigning King to throw off the yoke of the Romans. Sometimes we have eyes to see but our will can limit what we look for.
Of course, if one’s mind is closed to evidence, then he or she won’t believe. Jesus said that if anyone didn’t believe the Scriptures, they wouldn’t believe even if someone should rise from the dead (Luck 16:31). Many in Jesus’ day saw his miracles and didn’t believe. Even his disciples for over three years were often rebuked for unbelief. We too can have vested interests, selfish attachments, and unholy pride that may be the real reason for our unbelief.
Why Was Jesus’ Disciples Always Astonished at His Miracles?
It’s often claimed that Jesus lived in an age of ignorance and superstition. His disciples were prescientific in their thinking and couldn’t understand things as we do today. Nothing could be further from the truth. An honest inspection of the Gospels shows Jesus’ disciples were always skeptical and having to be rebuked for unbelief. There had been no prophets for four hundred years. People were not going around performing miracles every day. They knew nature’s laws as we do today. Consider some examples.
Mary was astonished at the angelic announcement she was to have a child. She asked, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Luke 1:34. Joseph too didn’t know what to make of it since they had not been together and he was a just man. He thought to put her away secretly until the angel explained Jesus’ birth was of God (Matt. 1:18-24).  
When the disciples were rowing across the Sea of Galilee in the moonlight, they saw a man walking on the water toward them and thought he was a ghost. How natural and honest is this record. The disciples would never forget Peter walking on the water to Jesus and sinking when his faith failed (Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-23). And the word "ghost" would never have been mentioned unless true and  is too humanly natural to be faked.
Jesus took Peter, James and John upon a high mountain to be transfigured before them. His face and clothes shown and showed He was the God of light. Moses and Elijah appeared to them and they heard the Father’s voice saying He was well pleased with His Son. The disciples fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. This was such a natural yet supernatural event that Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone until the Son of Man is risen from the dead. They didn’t understand about Jesus’ resurrection. And like modern critics, the skeptical Jews would have laughed at the disciples and thought them somehow deceived. The disciples knowing it would be ridiculed never would have recorded it, unless it just happened to be true (Mark 9:2-23; Luke 9:28-36). Years later Peter affirmed it (2 Pet 1:16-18) and was crucified to testify to its truth. These were not stupid superstitious people who didn't know nature's patterns as critics like to claim.
Do Persons Die For A Known Lie?
Acts 7 is the account of Stephen’s address to the Jews who stoned him. He boldly told how the Jews always resisted the Spirit of God, persecuted the prophets, rejected and murdered their Messiah. Stephen could have agreed with the Jews and been accepted. He had been a devout Jew and taught the Tanakh (O.T.) from birth. He had followed Moses and the law. But being filled with the Spirit and the truth chose instead to be stoned and be true to his new beliefs in Jesus his Lord. He saw Jesus in the sky at the right hand of the Father. Jesus gave him a standing ovation. Stephen died crying with a loud voice, as did his Lord, “Lord do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60).
Yes, others die for their beliefs, but not for a known lie. Millions of others who have come to know and love the Lord Jesus have willingly given their lives to Him and for Him who died to save them. Jesus is no lie. But supposing he is, it would be the one lie that by far has brought the most good to this world. No other religion gives objective historical evidence of spiritual truth. No other religion demonstrates God's love and forgiveness. No other religion has a risen Savior to assure us of eternal life.
Why Would Loyal Jews Change to Christianity?
The parents of the man born blind who Jesus gave sight too wouldn’t answer all the Jews questions for fear of being put out of the synagogue. This would mean damnation to Hell. But the man’s testimony of Jesus was clear—“Once I was blind, but now I see.” The Jews were blinded by their false traditions. But when Jesus asked the healed man “Do you believe in the Son of God?” “He asked who is He.” Jesus said, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you. Then he said, Lord I believe! And he worshipped Him” (John 9). Yes, we can be blinded by modern traditions and assumptions as well. But God’s Spirit can open willing eyes to see His truth and receive eternal life.
It was not easy for loyal Jews strongly steeped in their God and Moses’ law to change their beliefs to Jesus being God incarnate, God being a Trinity, worship on Sunday rather than the Sabbath, and risk rejection, ridicule, even death to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. It’s not easy today either since true discipleship means self-denial, taking up the cross, and following Jesus. Jesus warned us these very same things can happen. But Jesus said it’s far better than to gain the whole world than lose your own soul (Matt. 16:26).
Isn’t This An Issue of Life and Death?
We can’t prove God in the same way we can prove 2 + 2 = 4. But nothing else in the world makes sense unless God exists and we know he cares and acts in our world. According to the Bible, Jesus is the God-man who walked among us, told us he is our God, and showed it in many astonishing ways. He died to pay for our sins, satisfy God’s justice, grant us forgiveness, and eternal life. He arose again to assure us it’s all true.
If you are a sincere seeker, this is what you need and what you’ve been seeking. Jesus alone is come that we may trust in God’s promises of forgiveness and live with Him  forever. Won’t you say, Lord I trust you now to save me from the penalty of sin, make me pure and be present with me as my Guide through live until I go to be with You in Heaven? Thank you, Lord.
Now share this terrific news of hope, love, and eternal life with friends and loved ones. Link these articles to your computer and reach out to a desperate disparing world. God bless your crucial ministry. 

1 comment:

  1. We grow up in an environment that may be either friendly or hostile toward Christian faith. If friendly we may accept it as a matter of social propriety but not be a committed believer. If, a hostile environment, we may avoid it in fear of ridicule or persecution. IN either case, what if Jesus really is our God & Savior from sin & Hell? Eternal torment is no party affair.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.