Presentation on theme: "The Claims of Christ. The center of any Christian apologetic focuses on Jesus Did Jesus claim to be God? Who did Jesus claim to be? Is he a good teacher?"— Presentation transcript:
The Claims of Christ
The center of any Christian apologetic focuses on Jesus Did Jesus claim to be God? Who did Jesus claim to be? Is he a good teacher?
The Claims of Christ Did Jesus Claim to be God If Jesus claimed to be God, then obviously the invention of his “deity” by later Christian writers or leaders is not an option We have good evidence to believe Jesus claimed to be God.
The Claims of Christ “Direct Claims” Jesus’ Trial - Mark 14:61-64 “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus, “I am...” High priest tore his clothes, saying, “you have heard the blasphemy.” Jesus’ identity on trial, not his actions - claimed deity for Himself in a way all His accusers would recognize Equality - John 10:25-33; John 5:17,18 Claimed to be equal with the Father “I Am” - John 8:58; “I Am” in Old Testament refers to God Himself
“Indirect Claims” Forgave Sins: He forgave sins - Mark 2:5-7; Sins one commit against God, can only be forgiven by God Claimed to be “life” - John 14:6 It was not that he knew the life, but he was the “way” the “truth” and the “life” The Claims of Christ
Titles of Deity The Claims of Christ YHWH - Translated “LORD” (all caps) or “Jehovah”; most holy name of God, not uttered by Jews Meaning = The one and only deity, I am Jesus speaks of Himself as Jehovah (YHWH)-(Jn 8:24,25,58; Mt 16:16,17) Son of God – Matthew 16:16,17
direct allusion to Dan. 7:13-14 the divine figure “Son of Man” Favorite title of himself Mt 8:20, 9:6, 24:37, Mk 2:10, 10:33, Lk 12:10, 18:31, Jn 6:27, 13:31 Claiming to be God and everyone knew it The Claims of Christ Title combining his humanity and deity
The Claims of Christ Early Testimony from Christian Opponents Lucian c. 170 AD Lucian blasted Christians for their devotion to Jesus: “whom they still worship” Celsus c. 177 AD Roman philosopher Celsus: “Now if the Christians worshiped only one God they might have reason on their side. But as a matter of fact they worship a man who appeared only recently.... Their worship of this Jesus.” Pliny Governor of Bithynia from AD wrote that “They [Christians] had met regurarly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses in honor of Christ as if to a god.”
The Claims of Christ Testimony of Apostolic Fathers Clement of Rome (died 101 AD) Speaks of Jesus existing on the same plane with God: “For as God lives, and the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit” Ignatius (died c ) Wrote 7 epistles as bishop of Antioch in which he speaks of Christ as one who “before the ages was with the Father,” who was “the mind of the Father,” and can be called “our God.” Justin Martyr (c ) Argued vigorously for the divinity of Christ Irenaeus (c ) Bishop of Lyons (Fr.), is best known for emphasizing the God-man, “the Father is God and the Son is God; for He who is born of God is God.” The divinity of Jesus was at the heart of early Christian confession
Just because someone ‘claims’ to be God doesn’t make them God Many say Jesus was not God. Then who was he? A great moral or religious teacher Jesus was one of the greatest religious and moral teacher of all time, but not God One must accord Jesus a place among other great teachers of wisdom such as Buddha, Ghandi, Dali Lama, Mohammad, etc. Proponents: Thomas Jefferson, Jesus Seminar,The Da Vinci Code, and the Quran The Claims of Christ
Is this a possibility? Can Jesus, considering his claims of divinity, merely be a prophet, good man, or a great teacher? People throughout the centuries have tried to dismiss Jesus as a good teacher The Claims of Christ
One very important point to remember: Jesus “teachings” revolved around himself He taught that he was God, thus when he claimed to be God, he was making a claim about the very core of his teaching If Jesus was not God, then he was mistaken about something that was at the very core of his teaching: A great teacher could be mistaken about a marginal issue, but being God or not can never be a marginal issue!!! The Claims of Christ
The CRUX of the issue: Because of his claim of deity the options are limited on who Jesus is The Claims of Christ If he is not God, but teaching that he is God, then it is impossible for him to be a good moral teacher because he is wrong on his central point of his teaching.
There are four main alternatives with regard to who Jesus was: Lord - He was who he claimed to be, God Liar - Jesus deliberately deceived people Lunatic - Jesus thought that he was God, but he was wrong Legend - There never was a Jesus who claimed to be God The Claims of Christ
Legend - There never was a Jesus who claimed to be God The Claims of Christ -such claims are legendary; written into the Gospels years or generations after the life of Jesus -If Jesus’ claims were legendary (i.e. fabricated) then you cannot trust his teachings and call him a good teacher -Rebuttal: -not enough time for legend to develop -takes two generations for it to be possible for legend or embellishment to develop -Jesus died AD 30/33, N.T. completed by AD 100 and most by AD 70 b/c fall of Jerusalem is not recorded
The Claims of Christ -If Jesus sincerely taught that he was God, but he was not, then he must be suffering a mental disorder -If Jesus was a lunatic then this precludes him from being a good moral teacher -Rebuttal: -there is no evidence of mental illness -Gary R. Collins, Ph.D.: “All in all, I just don’t see any signs that Jesus was suffering any known mental illness. He was much healthier than anyone else I know, including me!” Lunatic - Jesus thought that he was God, but he was wrong
The Claims of Christ -If Jesus lied about his divine claims, then Jesus is a hypocrite and died for a lie knowing it was a lie -He couldn’t be one of the most profound moral teachers if he is lying Liar - Jesus deliberately deceived people -Being a liar is mutually exclusive from being a good teacher
The Claims of Christ -the only other option is that Jesus is who he claimed to be -Because Jesus claimed to be God, there is no option of Jesus being just a good moral teacher or prophet. One’s options are either legend, lunatic, liar or lord. Lord - He was who he claimed to be, God
Deity of Christ I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him [Jesus]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make you 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 up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. -C. S. Lewis
Two Alternatives False True Three Alternatives Never made such claims Knew claims were false Did not know claims were false LegendLiarLunatic Lord Two Alternatives AcceptReject Deity of Christ
Statistical Prophecy Is there any way to know that Jesus is divine? 61 major predictions/prophecies like Isaiah 53:3-9,12 The Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) contains several dozen predictions about a coming messiah Were this predictions fulfilled by: (1) chance (2) Manipulated (3) written after the fact, or (4) truly fulfilled.
Statistical Prophecy These predictions/prophecies included: Descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Piercing of hands and feet Crucified with criminal Born in Bethlehem Soldiers gambling for his garments Piercing of his side with no bones broken Burial among the rich Riding into Jerusalem on a donkey
-Did someone manipulate there lives to fit them? or Is there any way to know if Jesus was divine? How were these prophecies fulfilled: - Written in the Old Testament after the fact? or - Were these prophecies of a Messiah fulfilled by chance? or -Genuinely fulfilled by a divine figure to demonstrate his claim to deity? Statistical Prophecy
“Fulfilled Prophecy” Manipulation Impossible Most prophecies were beyond the control of Jesus, which rules out that he deliberately fulfilled them to become the messiah. Written in After the Fact Impossible Finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls situated in entire Old Testament, prophecies and all, many of the predictions were rendered more than a century before they occured Fulfillment by Chance Next to Impossible The mathematical possibility of anyone fulfilling the predications by mere coincidence or chance makes us beg the question: was Jesus the Messiah? Statistical Prophecy
Deity of Christ “Statistical Probability” Peter Stoner, in Science Speaks, calculated the odds of any one person fulfilling a certain amount of prophecies by chance. The manuscript for Science Speaks has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members and by the Executive Council of the same group and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way. -American Scientific Affiliation H. Harold Hartzler, Ph.D., Secretary-Treasurer Goshen College, Ind
Deity of Christ “Statistical Probability” Probability 8 prophecies being fulfilled by chance: The chance of 1 in That is one in one hundred million billion Like filling Texas up 2 feet deep with silver dollars, mark one silver dollar, blindfolding someone, and the person having one chance of picking that dollar
Deity of Christ “Statistical Probability” Probability 48 prophecies being fulfilled by chance: The chance of 1 in That is one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion Silver dollars are too big, take an atom, the number of atoms equal to is equal to the number of minuscule atoms in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, billion universes the size of our universe.
Not just 8 prophecies or 48 prophecies, but all 61 messianic prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Deity of Christ “Statistical Probability” This is a pointer to the deity of Christ. Jesus is God.
Now Jesus is asking you: “Who do you say I am?” The evidence points to the truth that he is the Christ the Son of the Living God How will you respond?