Let's Reason Together
When the invalid of 38 years was healed by Jesus, he told the Jews. Upon hearing of it, the Jews focus was not on the healing itself, the miracle, but instead they focused on the fact that Jesus healed on the Sabbath.
John 5:16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working."
If Jesus breaking Sabbath rules by healing on the Sabbath upset them to the point where they were seeking to persecute Him, then Jesus referring to the Father in such a way that put Himself in equal standing with God infuriated them at a whole new level.
John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Let’s walk through some very simple logic. If we understand that there are words and cultural concepts from ancient Israel, and other parts of the world, that are difficult for our English language and our culture to capture, which is why there are various Bible translations; a person, or group of people, working on an accurate Bible translation are doing the best they can to capture word meanings. It is not that a word used in one version is wrong and another right, it is that, in most cases, it is a compiling of a few English words that are required to capture the original word’s meaning. So, if we can agree to the difficulty in capturing words, and cultural concepts, then we can also agree that there is something more being said in John 5:17 than simply referring to God The Father in the same way we would.
After all, if we were out on the street handing out Gospel tracts and someone said, “Why are you doing this?” We might answer, “My Heavenly Father desires that none should perish, but all have eternal life, and I am out here to deliver the message of salvation through these tracts.”
Would that person immediately shout, “HEY, THIS GUY SAYS HE IS EQUAL TO GOD!”
It is not likely that they would respond that way; therefore, couldn’t we conclude that in their culture, and in their language, Jesus’ term “My Father” meant something beyond what we conclude when reading it in English and through the lens of our culture? Even if we do not know the original language, or even know about Bible translations, we can conclude this; after all, why else would they seek “all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”?
An old preacher I have listened to said in a message one time, “Friend, if your wrong about Jesus, it doesn’t matter what you’re right about.”
Let’s dig into what the world says about Jesus, who is He, who was He?
· A good moral teacher
· A prophet
· A cult leader
· A mythical figure
· A con man
· A lunatic
· An angel
Starting with the first answer, “Jesus was a good moral teacher, He was an example for us to follow.”
Working again through some very simple logic. A good teacher teaches what is true. For example, we wouldn’t say a person is a good math teacher if they taught that 5 + 4 = 13. Therefore, to be a good teacher would have to mean that what they taught was true and accurate. In saying He is a good “moral” teacher brings it up a notch. For example, a person can teach another how to be a “successful” drug dealer; but that would certainly not make him a good “moral” teacher.
Therefore, if Jesus is a good moral teacher, by definition, what He said would be true; if not, then He is a liar, thus, disqualifying Him of being a good, moral teacher.
Not From Here
Jesus frequently spoke of being from another world. He also spoke of existing before coming into the world:
John 6:62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
John 8:23 He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
In these few verses the Words of Jesus are clear, He existed before the world as we know it was created, He was not just a man born 2000 years ago. He is not, and was not originally from here; here being Earth.
When a man talks to us with a strange accent we logically conclude, and maybe even ask, “you’re not from around here are you?” Jesus said, (paraphrase), “I’m not from around here, I am not even from this world, not only that, I existed longer than this 30-year-old human body I am in.”
You can call Him a liar, you can call Him crazy, but you cannot say He didn’t say these things. Keep in mind, if you say He’s a liar or He’s a lunatic, you must remove yourself as one who calls Him “a good moral teacher”.
Jesus also claimed to have control over people’s eternal destiny:
John 5:22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
John 5:27-29 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."
The Words of Jesus DO NOT get much heavier than this! Let’s bullet point a few things we can draw from these few Words:
· Death is not the end (for anyone)
· All will be resurrected to Judgment or Life
· Jesus has been given authority by God the Father to Judge
· Jesus WILL Judge righteously
· There are some who will die in their sin and will face Judgment (which is eternal condemnation)
· There are some that will not die in their sin and will be raised to eternal life
· There is a belief one must have to be raised to life
· To be raised to life one must believe that He is “He” (the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Messiah, the Christ)
Again, you can call Him a liar, or a con man; you can even call him crazy, but in reading His Words, you cannot logically land on “good moral teacher”.
Do We Have an Accurate Record of Jesus’ Words
One might say, there is still the possibility and likelihood that the Words of Jesus have been inaccurately translated and/or copied over the years. This view makes some huge leaps into the illogical.
For example, take a look at what the religious leader’s conversation about what to do with apostles when they wouldn’t quit preaching about Jesus after His death and Resurrection:
Acts 5:27-42 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us." 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
What is the message that upset the pharisees to the point of wanting to kill them?
Acts 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
Acts 3:14-15 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
Acts 2:29-33 "Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
The message of the Apostles (those that were with Jesus the entire time in His earthly ministry and were appointed by Christ to be His messengers) was simple. Jesus is the Author of Life, you killed Him, He has been raised from the dead (as we and many others have witnessed), and in His Name there is redemption and salvation. So not only was the message simple, and not only was it documented and protected throughout the centuries, but it is a simple message that was preached by the apostles until they were ultimately killed for preaching it. In addition, they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which we will see is crucial, and confirming that we have the Words of Jesus.
Acts 12:1-4 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.
In addition to the apostles being persecuted and killed for preaching Jesus, there was a very powerful man that was a violent enemy of anyone and everyone that believed in Jesus:
Acts 9:1-5 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" 5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Saul (known as Paul), who wrote 25% of the New Testament, was severely persecuted and ultimately killed for preaching Jesus.
To say that we do not have the accurate Words of Jesus would not only mean that the apostles and Paul and many others died for a lie, since all the writers of the Bible wrote in harmony with one another regarding the teaching of Jesus without having the ability to “compare notes” – and their message always included the death and Resurrection of Jesus, and Jesus spoke of not only His Resurrection, but the resurrection of all to Judgment.
In addition, to conclude that the Apostles got it wrong, or did not remember things accurately would further be concluding that Jesus is a liar, because He promised them:
John 14:24-26 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. 25 "These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
To conclude we do not have the accurate Words of Jesus can only lead to one thing. You would have to think that the same God that sent the Holy Spirit to bring remembrance to the Apostles all that Jesus taught them so they could teach and write accurately, this same God, is not able to protect and preserve His Word. This same Jesus that appeared to a powerful, violent, and determined man in Saul of Tarsus and converted him into the most committed follower of Christ the world has ever documented, this same Jesus is not able to protect and preserve His Word for future generations to know the Truth.
The question is not whether God is able to protect His Word, He is. The question is not whether there is historical and archeological evidence to prove the accuracy of the Bible we have today, there is. The question is, do you believe the Words of Jesus?
Jesus claimed the right to receive worship, faith, and obedience.
Matthew 21:15-15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, "'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise'?"
John 14:1 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
John 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Matthew 14:33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
John 9:38 He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Acts 10:25-26 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man."
Revelation 22:8-9 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
Bullet Pointing the verses:
· Peter rejected worship
· The angels sternly rejected worship in saying, “You must not do that!”
· Jesus taught that God only is worthy of worship
· Accounts of various people worshipping Jesus are recorded in Scripture
· Jesus NEVER corrects or rebukes any of them for worshipping Him
If we are to believe that Jesus was a “good moral teacher”, or even an angel, are we then to believe that other lesser men and angels would reject, correct, and rebuke those who attempt to worship them; but Jesus, if only a man, would not?
Jesus did not refuse worship because He is worthy of worship, and as He said to Satan, “Worship God”.
Jesus is God.
Taking a look at the famous quote from C.S. Lewis:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 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 the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — 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 madman 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 his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God
The evidence does not end there. Jesus also claimed to be able to forgive sin, something only God has the authority to do:
Mark 2:5-11 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, :7 "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—he said to the paralytic—11 "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home."
Some have said that Jesus was/is an angel. In fact, there is a very large religious organization in the world that has their entire foundation built on claiming that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, and we know from Scripture that Lucifer was an angel. Yet, here’s how Jesus speaks of angels:
Luke 12:8-9 "And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God,9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
John 1:51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
Matthew 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Matthew 26:53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
What do we know of angels from these accounts?
· Angels refuse worship
· Jesus NEVER refers to Himself as an angel
· Angels will be with Jesus when He returns
· Angels are servants of God and are called upon to perform various duties
· Angels rejoice when sinners repent
The primary attack point for false religions is the Deity of Jesus. They will call him many things, a prophet or an angel to name a couple, but they deny Him as God; and as quoted earlier, “If you’re wrong about Jesus, it doesn’t matter what your right about.”
The Gospel of Jesus is logical and reasonable, but the Truth is, you cannot be saved through logic and reason, God must open your eyes to the Truth, ask Him to do that for you today. If He already has opened your eyes to Truth, thank Him, it is the greatest blessing you can ever receive.