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Who is Jesus??? a brief introduction to Jesus of Nazareth.

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1 Who is Jesus??? a brief introduction to Jesus of Nazareth

2 overview introduction possibilities: legend, lunatic, liar, lord, myth or mystic? Jesus’ claims his followers’ claims historians’ claims conclusion

3 legend? Roman historians: Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Seutonius Jewish sources: Jospehus, Toledoth Jesu, The Talmud Other sources: Thallus, Lucian, Mara Bar-Serepion, Phlegon

4 did Jesus really exist? Will Durant spent two chapters on Jesus in his book, The Story Of Our Civilization "One is obliged to say, 'Here was a man. This part of the tale could not have been invented.'" –H. G. Wells, Outline Of History

5 Jesus’ big claim how did we get this idea that Jesus is God? mostly from him, and his followers

6 John 14.9 “…he who has seen me has seen the Father…” John 10.30-33 [Jesus said] “I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him… “[We are stoning you] for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God”

7 John 8.46 “which of you convicts me of sin?” he said things like this in front of family and friends! they spent a lot of time with him; they would know immediately no one said a thing to Jews the sinless one = God

8 John 8.58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am.” excuse me? to the Jews, I am = God just after this the Jews try to stone Him again again, no denial

9 John 11.25 “I am the resurrection and the life…he who believes in me shall never die.” Jesus claimed to save his followers from sin and death!

10 Mark 2.7 “who can forgive sins but God alone?” He had the nerve to forgive sins against others but only God is offended in all sins and only He has that right they accuse Him of blasphemy (and rightly so, if He were a mere man)

11 claims of his followers Mark 8:29 “…who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “you are the Christ.”

12 John 20.28 (After he saw the resurrected Jesus,) Thomas said to him, “my Lord and my God.” claims of his followers

13 John 1.1 “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1.14 “and the Word became flesh and lived among us” claims of his followers

14 so let me get this straight… besides declaring oneness with the Father, claiming sinlessness, referring to Himself as “I AM”, offering salvation/eternal life, forgiving sins, and accepting worship...

15 He creates! Colossians 1.16-17; John 1.3 He sends the Holy Spirit John 14.25-26 He is unchanging Hebrews 1.11-12 etc., etc., etc. but wait - there’s more!

16 the big proof If Jesus = God, Christianity is true If Jesus ≠ God, Christianity is NOT true classic logic leads us to…

17 liar, lunatic, or lord Jesus was either telling the truth, or not if not, he was either intentionally not telling truth (lying), or unintentionally not telling the truth (mistaken) therefore, He was either 1) telling truth, 2) lying, or 3) mistaken

18 liar? Jesus = liar? liars have motives; what were his? none of usual benefits but did get hatred, rejection, misunderstanding where are his accusers? if lying he was a very bad man and, most importantly,…

19 liar? would a liar go to a horrible torture and death? no confession recorded so…

20 lunatic? mistaken about being God? farther one’s claims from the truth, the more loony that person is Sermon on the Mount from a lunatic? a madman resurrects people from the dead?

21 no one has claimed he was loony - even his enemies no other lunacy characteristics: –egotism –narcissism –inability to love, listen to, or understand others lunatic?

22 “aut deus aut homo malus” either God or a bad man mentally bad if he was mistaken, morally bad if He was lying but Jesus = good & wise liar is not good, lunatic is not wise thus, if he was not a liar or a lunatic, he must have been… Lord

23 the big spin? another possibility… the disciples wrote that Jesus = God and that He rose from the dead were they lying (making Jesus into a superhuman myth), mistaken, or telling the truth?

24 liars? if lying, what were their motives? no fringe benefits (no wealth, no power, no “rock star” status!)

25 liars? they underwent horrific persecution…

26 liars? many were even martyred… no confessions to this greatest of all conspiracies

27 no psychological traits of liars they made themselves look less than heroic they said women were last with Jesus, first at the grave, first to see him liars?

28 where’s the collusion? liars?

29 what about James and Paul??? Both James and Paul believed after Jesus returned to heaven. James was executed ~AD 62; Paul ~AD 68 liars?

30 where is the scholarly book written about the conspiracy? John R.W. Stott wrote that the silence of Christ’s enemies “is as eloquent a proof of the resurrection as the apostles’ witness.” liars?

31 losers? OR, were they making a big innocent mistake?? they spent years with him were they mistaken about the nail prints and spear wound?

32 mistaken losers? no one snapped out of it? their enemies never said they were insane

33 where is His body? did the Jews take it? did the Romans? the disciples? mistaken losers?

34 was he a “mystic” or a “guru”? Jesus affirmed his belief in Jewish scriptures, which contradict Eastern philosophies… one final possibility? Jewish beliefs: God is a person creatures are not gods hell exists God is moral exoteric/public practices Eastern beliefs: personhood is an illusion humans are their own gods no hell spiritual realm is amoral esoteric/private spirituality

35 historians said of him: 1.He was a provocative teacher; a wise & virtuous man from Judea 2.He performed miracles & made prophetic claims 3.Jewish leaders condemned him for acts of sorcery & heresy 4.He was crucified by Pontius Pilate at Jewish passover during the reign of Emperor Tiberius 5.His followers reported that he had risen from the dead 6.The Christian faith spread to Rome where Christians were charged with crimes & faced strong persecution 7.First century Christians worshiped Jesus as God & practiced the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper)

36 conclusion If Jesus and his followers were not lying or mistaken, they were telling the truth, which would mean: Jesus is God and He rose from the dead “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 up with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis

37 REFERENCES: A Portrait of Jesus, Joseph Girzone Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis Know Why You Believe, Paul E. Little Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions, Kenneth Richard Samples “Who is Jesus?” Ray Stedman Faith & Reason: Why Christianity Makes Sense, Austin Schmidt & Joseph Perkins “The Deity of Christ”, Mark Ritter;; (special thanks and credit for PPT artwork and slides!) The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel

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