(Created before March 4, 2011)
Jesus existed. Most any religious or historical authority will agree on this matter. Jesus was the root of the Christian faith, and was the man that made the largest impact in the world.
Different people say different things about Jesus. The common ones are.
-He was a great teacher
-He was a prophet
-He was just a good man
However, the problem that most people have with Jesus is when Christians claim that he is God's son. After all, Jesus never really said he was God, did he?
Yes he did.
John 3: 35Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
This passage is packed with Jesus saying that he is something else altogether. But let's focus on verse 38, where Jesus claims that he came down from heaven. No sane person has ever claimed they came from heaven. Sure, there has been people with near death experiences that say that they have seen heaven, but they don't claim to have come down from heaven. Some of these "visions of heaven" have been rather amusing, such as seeing Elvis up there ruling over all creation.
Now Jesus saying that he came down from heaven would have blasphemy, unless it was true. After all, no one comes down from heaven unless they are either God, or angels.
Those of you who are familiar with the bible knew that Jesus referred to himself as the "Son of Man." This term first appeared in the book of Daniel, which was penned roughly 600 years before the birth of Jesus.
Daniel 7: 13“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
By referring to himself as the Son of Man, Jesus was saying that he was a sovereign and everlasting king.
In fact, Jesus was almost stoned because he claimed to be God,
John 8: 58“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
John 10: 24The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.”
31Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Now the bible obviously doesn't come with a typed out full length sermons by Jesus, but it's obvious through this passage that Jesus claimed to be God. He said he could give eternal life, which no one but God could give. He said he and his father were one, which was quite a loaded statement, claiming equality with God.
What Jesus also showed them many good works from God. By doing this, he's saying, "if you don't believe my words, look at my actions."
The greatest miracle of all was when Jesus resurrected from death, conquering sin and death.
Look at the Jesus trial from Mark 14:
60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death.
In Jesus last statements he claimed to be God. You'll find that last part of verse 62 to be familiar from the passage in Daniel in 7, saying that the Son of Man will come on the clouds of heaven, which is a pretty sweet ride if you ask me.
Here's the part where I'm going to throw in my favourite verse with Jesus claiming to be God,
John 14: 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
In verse six Jesus says that he is the way, the truth, and the life. This means that not only is everything he says was true, but we are to use him as a guide to see the truth in things. He says he's the only way to get to the father. That means, it doesn't matter what you believe, what religion you follow or what state of mind you reach, Jesus says that the only way to get to heaven is by believing in him.
People say that Christians are narrow-minded. But in reality, it was Jesus who was narrow-minded. He is also God, and flawless, so we are narrow-minded because we are following God.
Jesus went on to say that he was the life. That's great news! I don't have a life, but when it comes to the end of my time of living in this world, I'll go to heaven because I follow Jesus. This means that ANYONE who follows Jesus can go to heaven. Christians may be narrow minded, but the offer to go to heaven is an open invitation, you don't have to be a saint or rich to make it.
Nearing the end of this passage in verses 13 and 14, Jesus tells his disciples to pray to him.
Lets pause here and take all I said into account. Jesus claimed to be God. He was calling people to follow him.
C.S. Lewis says this, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg,” – that’s a great line – “or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God or else a mad man or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool. You can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about him being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
So now it's up to you to form your own viewpoint about who Jesus was. You can't say that he was either just a good teacher, a good man, just a prophet. He was either God, or a devious or crazy con man.
Now I know there's going to be readers out there that say, "Stephen, all you did was push bible verses at me, why should I believe what the bible says?"
First off, the bible is flawless and God's word. I will be open to anyone who has something that proves otherwise.
Second off, Jesus is the center of the Christian faith, and the book Christians claim as their own is the bible. The bible contains eye witness reports of Jesus' actions and words. There is no better resource when trying to discover who Jesus was.
Notice that the title says a "little" on Jesus, which means that this by no means shows a full picture of what Jesus is. Not only is Jesus God, but he is also loving.