Posted tagged ‘Jesus’

Thoughts on Jesus and Miracles

November 20, 2017

Depositphotos Image ID: 9803991 Copyright: Klanneke

Moderns have issues with miracles, but ancients did not. Many ancient histories reference miracles, and we do not discount them as histories for that fact. The miraculous element of the accounts of Jesus, however, are a basis on which many contemporary thinkers reject the claims of Jesus and claims about Jesus a priori.

Miracles are consistent with and flow from the nature and character of who Jesus claimed to be and who his followers claimed he was. If Jesus was God in the flesh, miracles are to be expected. The apostle John says that Jesus was the Word; he was with God in the beginning; He was God; and all things that were made were made through Jesus, the Word. (John 1:1-3) If the universe was made by and through Jesus, miracles are no big deal, and the resurrection is more than just possible.

This was thrust of the Gospels. The authority of Jesus resonated in his message and was attested by the miracles. Many moderns reject the message largely on the basis of the miracle claims because miracles are not allowed in a naturalistic worldview that dominates academia today. We can’t accurately judge what Jesus said, though, without being willing to suspend that disbelief, even if only to reach some understanding.

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The Significance of the Resurrection

October 24, 2017

depositphotos Image ID: 24765707 Copyright: lexmomot

I have written about the central importance of the resurrection of Jesus many times, but I come back to it again. Nothing could be more important. Of this Paul, was crystal clear in his writing.

If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain;

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins;

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are evolved people most to be pitied;

If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”;

What you sow does not come to life until you die.

These are all statements made by Paul in his first letter to the people in Corinth.[1] These statements underscore and highlight the importance of the resurrection in Christian thought.

Jesus is the center of the Christian faith, and the gospel is at the center of Christianity and the resurrection is at the center of the Gospel. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, everything falls apart. The claims of Christianity are bankrupt because they rise or fall on this one point.

If Jesus was raised from the dead, Jesus is who he said he was and no other event in human history is more significant; no  religion or philosophy lays a claim to hope in the present and the future like words of Jesus. Jesus truly is the “light of men”[2] and the “bread of life”[3].

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We Know God by Looking at Jesus

October 2, 2017

Depositphotos Image ID: 31681491 Copyright: DesignPicsInc

I listened to a Tim Keller sermon about John 1 in which he focused on the revelation that the Word was in the beginning; the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us. You can follow the link in the last sentence to read a summary of the beginning of the message.

Keller says:

“Jesus is the supreme revelation. If we are to know God, neither rationalism nor mysticism will suffice. For God chose to make Himself known finally and ultimately in a real historical human being.”

Keller doesn’t break that statement down, but he provides an illustration of how rationalism is insufficient to know God. I will summarize Keller’s illustration and provide one of my own for why mysticism can’t be relied upon for knowing God. Neither are sufficient, alone, to enable us to know God, and the reason why is that God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus.

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Is the Bible Sexist and Racist? Part 5 – Racism

July 7, 2017

Depositphotos Image ID: 102795786 Copyright: monkeybusiness

This is the last in a series of five blog articles on the question: whether the Bible is sexist and racist? The subject is introduced in Part 1. We tackled sexism by looking at the overarching theme of the Bible on men and women in Part 2 and by looking at how Jesus treated women in Part 4. We tackled racism in Part 3 by looking at the overarching theme of the Bible on diversity. Finally, we view racism and diversity through the life of Jesus and His followers in this part 5.

Jesus doesn’t tackle the issue of racism or diversity directly, but He lived in a complicated time. He was Jewish, living in a tight knit Jewish community, which was governed and ruled by foreigners, the Romans. The Jews had a history of living alongside foreigners and were at various times throughout that history governed by them against their will.

Many of the foreigners were actually very closely related, like the Samaritans, who were of Jewish descent, and the Canaanites before them.

The Jews believed there were only two types of people: Jews and everyone else (Gentiles). They seemed to have forgotten that the very first words God spoke to Abraham, when He chose Abraham and his progeny, was that God chose them to be a blessing to all the nations. (Genesis 12:1-3) God didn’t choose them to bless only them, but to bless all nations through them.

Jesus was that blessing. Jesus is traced back to Abraham. He is from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the root of Jesse’s seed, father of David. Jesus is the Promised One. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, so, how Jesus viewed others is the key to understanding what the Bible says about racism and diversity.

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Without Leaving a Trace

June 1, 2017
people

               Depositphotos Image ID: 15819245 Copyright: Kuzmafoto

via Daily Prompt: Trace

The crowd pushed and heaved to get a better view.

“This man, Jesus, was saying some crazy things, and people were just as crazy to believe it. I just happened to be in the area. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way, but the spectacle caught my attention,” I said to guy next to me.

“I am comfortable with my life,” I told him. “I don’t need the drama. I don’t need to go chasing after every man who claims to have a direct line to God, and God knows there are many of them these days. They’re all crazy! They end up getting carried away with their own rhetoric. They make the Roman authorities nervous, and then they are thrown in jail or killed to make an example of them, and the crowd disperses. It always does.”

The guy next to me didn’t seem to hear what I said. He was listening to Jesus, so I listened for a few seconds.

“This guy Jesus is a good talker, isn’t he,” I said in case the guy might hear me this time. “The people hang on every word. He talks like he really knows what he is talking about, but no different than the last guy I guess. I didn’t really listen to him. Never really had the chance. More like, I wasn’t really interested.”

He looked at me only long enough to signal that he knew I was there, but he went on focusing on Jesus apparently wrapping up his message.

“Not that I’m not spiritual or anything,” I continued. “I am as spiritual as the next guy. I try to be a good person. I don’t hurt anyone. I’m certainly not like those guys this Jesus hangs around. Good for them, though. They need someone like Jesus to straighten them out. Maybe they will get their lives together.”

And, with that, the crowd began to break up and wander off. The guy next to me apparently left also. He was nowhere to be found.

“I guess this Jesus is done talking”, I thought. “Not sure what he was even talking about. I thought I heard someone say something about a miracle. Crazy! I would never get suckered like that.”

And the Son of God moved on without leaving a trace that He had ever been there, that I had ever encountered Him or ever heard anything He might have said.

God’s Purpose is Accomplished – Even When People Reject Him

May 9, 2017

depositphotos Image ID: 1739451 Copyright: tockasso

Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my father.”  (John 15:22-24)

These words convey a stark reality that is not pleasant to consider. We might assume that Jesus was speaking of the Jews when He spoke these words, but we would be wrong. Jesus was speaking of the “world”. Just before Jesus spoke the words quoted above, He said:

“If the world[1] hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)

These are curious things coming from Jesus. The import of what Jesus says here is that the world is ordered in opposition to Jesus and God the Father. And even when people reject Jesus, God’s purpose is fulfilled.

In other places, we see Jesus saying very different things. For instance, Jesus said elsewhere, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) So, we might be confused when we see Jesus implying that he came to hold people accountable for their sins.

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Was the Jesus Story a Copycat from Pagan Myth?

April 23, 2017


The answer is pretty decisively, no! Much has been said of this popular Internet opinion by actual historians and biblical scholars of every stripe, Christian, agnostic and atheist. No modern scholars, meaning men and woman who have proven themselves in the world of academia, which usually means have been vetted by peer review, hold to this view today.

This is true whether the scholar happens to be a theist or atheist, believer or nonbeliever. There simply isn’t any credible evidence for it. The only evidence lives in the active imaginations of people who want it to be true, like Bill Maher. In fact, he did a movie about it.

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