Richard Mark Lee

Jesus the Messiah? #ExploreGod

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Many people I know believe there is a higher power. Some even call it God. However, it's an even tougher proposition to believe that a man who lived 2,000 years ago is to be considered equal with God. In this post, we're going to ask and answer the question: Is Jesus Really God?

While Jesus is almost universally recognized as a part of our cultural heritage, recent years have raised questions regarding His identity. Is Jesus really God?

All of us go through times in our life when we question, when we wonder and doubt. Truth is, if we are honest, none of us knows for sure. That’s the beauty and complexity (and, at times, the difficulty) of faith. It’s having hope and confidence in unseen things that we cannot prove. And yet, billions of people over the course of the past two thousand years have reached the conclusion that there is something special about Jesus. That he was no ordinary man. How did they come to that conclusion?

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First of all, Jesus is a historical figure. Jewish historians, secular scholars, and Christian scholars alike have validated the existence of a man named Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus was indeed a good teacher, an advocate for social justice. But if that is all he was, then it would be hard to explain why he was ultimately crucified by the Romans. His teaching on social justice would not have been at odds with the Pharisees. So there must be something more to who he is.

Let’s consider the claims:

  1. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, who came to restore our relationship with him.
  2. There is Old Testament Prophecy that points to Jesus.
  3. Jesus rose from the dead. Let's consider the eye witness testimony::
    • Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18)
    • Mary and the other women (Matthew 28:1-10)
    • Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
    • Two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
    • Ten apostles (Luke 24:36-49)
    • 
Eleven apostles (John 20:24-31)
    • Seven apostles (John 21)
    • All of the apostles (Matthew 28:16-20)
    • Five hundred disciples (1 Corinthians 15:6)
    • James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
    • Again to all the apostles (Acts 1:4-8)
    • The apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-9; 1 Corinthians 15:8; 9:1)
  4. The Christian witness for 2,000+ years; Christians have given everything to follow him.

The most important (and relevant) question here is - What do you say about Jesus? Is he merely a good teacher, a prophet, or a wise man? Is it possible that he was more than that?

Only by God becoming man in Jesus can we see forgiveness of sins, can we see justice accomplished, can we see truth proclaimed. Do you find yourself wanting exactly those things? So, even if we can’t immediately accept that God became man, the story of Jesus is so profound that we should surely want it to be true.

Many people say that they care about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease and caring for our environment. Yet many of those people who say these things believe that the material world was caused by accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually burn up in the death of the sun. They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place…. Why sacrifice for the needs of others, if in the end, nothing we do will make any difference? If the resurrection of Jesus happened - that means there’s infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world.

So you have a choice. And you have to decide. You can’t stay in neutral on the subject of Jesus. Because of His own testimony about Himself, Jesus is either God or a fraud. There is no logical middle ground. Jesus demonstrated His deity through prophecy, teaching, and the resurrection.

If Jesus really is who he claimed to be, then simply following his religious ideals is not enough. His life forces a decision on the part of the hearers. Simply being “religious” and adding Jesus to a pantheon of spiritual gurus will not do. Instead, the truth of God’s grace and the gift of Jesus calls people to re-orient their life around Jesus and not only be “religious” but enter into a relationship with him.

When Jesus called His disciples to put down their nets and follow Him, His call is profoundly disruptive. If Jesus is truly God, than He possesses full authority over my life—and yours. This means that we don’t get to adjust the “quantity” of our commitment based on our circumstances. We are either “all in,” or not at all. Jesus demands total commitment. And, if Jesus really is God, wouldn't that be the only logical conclusion? Giving your life to the one who is in control of all things would be the highest good.

If everyone of us—me included—decided to re-purpose and reorient our lives in such a way that Jesus was not a part of our life or schedule but He is our life. I believe we’d change the world. Would you pray to that end? Will you identify the areas you are holding onto and release them to Jesus. Will you yield, surrender your all to Jesus. He’s not a religion. He is about relationship. He is not just God. He is to be our Lord. Our all.

 

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