JESUS CHRIST

The Deity of Jesus         

A strong argument for the deity of Christ is the fact that many of the names, titles, and attributes ascribed to Yahweh are also ascribed to Jesus Christ.

DESCRIPTION

FATHER

JESUS

Yahweh (“I AM”)

Exodus 3:14
Deuteronomy 32:39
Isaiah 43:10

John 8:24
John 8:58
John 18:4–6

God

Genesis 1:1
Deuteronomy 6:4
Psalm 45:6,7

Isaiah 7:14
Isaiah 9:6
John 1:1,14
John 20:28
Titus 2:13
Hebrews 1:8
2 Peter 1:1
Matthew 1:23
1 John 5:20

Alpha and Omega (First and Last)

Isaiah 41:4
Isaiah 48:12
Revelation 1:8

Revelation 1:17,18
Revelation 2:8
Revelation 22:12–16

Lord

Isaiah 45:23

Matthew 12:8
Acts 7:59,60
Acts 10:36
Romans 10:12
1 Corinthians 2:8
1 Corinthians 12:3
Philippians 2:10,11

Savior

Isaiah 43:3
Isaiah 43:11
Isaiah 49:26
Isaiah 63:8
Luke 1:47
1 Timothy 4:10

Matthew 1:21
Luke 2:11
John 1:29
John 4:42
2 Timothy 1:10
Titus 2:13
Hebrews 5:9

King

Psalm 95:3
Isaiah 43:15
1 Timothy 6:14–16

Revelation 17:14
Revelation 19:16

Judge

Genesis 18:25
Deuteronomy 32:36
Psalm 50:4,6
Psalm 58:11
Psalm 75:7
Psalm 96:13

John 5:22
2 Corinthians 5:10
2 Timothy 4:1

Light

2 Samuel 22:29
Psalm 27:1

John 1:4,9
John 3:19
John 8:12
John 9:5

Rock

Deuteronomy 32:3,4
2 Samuel 22:32
Psalm 89:26

Romans 9:33
1 Corinthians 10:3,4
1 Peter 2:4–8

Redeemer

Psalm 130:7,8
Isaiah 43:1
Isaiah 48:17
Isaiah 49:26
Isaiah 54:5

Acts 20:28
Ephesians 1:7
Hebrews 9:12

Our
Righteousness

Isaiah 45:24

Jeremiah 23:6
Romans 3:21,22

Husband

Isaiah 54:5
Hosea 2:16

Matthew 25:1
Mark 2:18,19
2 Corinthians 11:2
Ephesians 5:25–32
Revelation 21:2,9

Shepherd

Genesis 49:24
Psalm 23:1
Psalm 80:1

John 10:11,16
Hebrews 13:20
1 Peter 2:25
1 Peter 5:4

Creator

Genesis 1:1
Job 33:4
Psalm 95:5,6
Psalm 102:24,25
Isaiah 40:28
Isaiah 43:1
Acts 4:24

John 1:2,3,10
Colossians 1:15–18
Hebrews 1:1–3,10

Giver of Life

Genesis 2:7
Deuteronomy 32:39
1 Samuel 2:6
Psalm 36:9

John 5:21
John 10:28
John 11:25

Forgiver of Sin

Exodus 34:6,7
Nehemiah 9:17
Daniel 9:9
Jonah 4:2

Matthew 9:2
Mark 2:1–12
Acts 26:18
Colossians 2:13
Colossians 3:13

Lord our Healer

Exodus 15:26

Acts 9:34

Omnipresent

Psalm 139:7–12
Proverbs 15:3

Matthew 18:20
Matthew 28:20
Ephesians 3:17
Ephesians 4:10

Omniscient

1 Kings 8:39
Jeremiah 17:10,16

Matthew 9:4
Matthew 11:27
Luke 5:4–6
John 2:25
John 16:30
John 21:17
Acts 1:24

Omnipotent

Isaiah 40:10–31
Isaiah 45:5–13
Revelation 19:6

Matthew 28:18
Mark 1:29–34
John 10:18
Jude 24

Preexistent

Genesis 1:1

John 1:15,30
John 3:13,31,32
John 6:62
John 16:28
John 17:5

Eternal

Psalm 102:26,27
Habakkuk 3:6

Isaiah 9:6
Micah 5:2
John 8:58

Immutable

Malachi 3:6
James 1:17

Hebrews 13:8

Receiver of worship

Matthew 4:10
John 4:24
Revelation 5:14
Revelation 7:11
Revelation 11:16
Revelation 19:4,10

Matthew 2:8,11
Matthew 14:33
Matthew 28:9
John 9:38
Philippians 2:10,11
Hebrews 1:6

Hope

Jeremiah 17:7

1 Timothy 1:1

Speaker with divine authority

“Thus saith the Lord . . .”
—used hundreds of times

Matthew 23:34–37
John 3:5
John 7:46
“Truly, truly, I say . . .”

Who raised Jesus from the dead?

Acts 2:24,32
Romans 8:11
1 Corinthians 6:14

John 2:19–22
John 10:17,18
Matthew 27:40

Who gets the glory?

Isaiah 42:8
Isaiah 48:11

Hebrews 13:21
John 17:5

 

The Hands of the Carpenter

It was Joseph of Arimathaea who had the honor of taking the body of Jesus down from the cross. Think what it would be like to have to pull the cold and lifeless hands of the Son of God from the thick, barbed Roman nails.

These were carpenter’s hands, which once held nails and wood, now being held by nails and wood. These were the hands that broke bread and fed multitudes, now being broken to feed multitudes. They once applied clay to a blind man’s eyes, touched lepers, healed the sick, washed the disciple’s feet, and took children in His arms. These were the hands that, more than once, loosed the cold hand of death, now held firmly by its icy grip.

These were the fingers that wrote in the sand when the adulterous woman was cast at His feet, and for the love of God, fashioned a whip that purged His Father’s house. These were the same fingers that took bread and dipped it in a dish, and gave it to Judas as a gesture of deep love and friendship. Here was the Bread of Life itself, being dipped in the cup of suffering, as the ultimate gesture of God’s love for the evil world that Judas represented.

Joseph’s shame, that he had been afraid to own the Savior, sickened him as he tore the blood-sodden feet from the six-inch cold steel spikes that fastened them to the cross. These were the "beautiful feet" of Him that preached the gospel of peace, that Mary washed with her hair, that walked upon the Sea of Galilee, now crimson with a sea of blood.

As Joseph reached out his arms to get Him down from the cross, perhaps he stared for an instant at the inanimate face of the Son of God. His heart wrenched as he looked upon Him whom they had pierced. This face, which once radiated with the glory of God on the Mount of Transfiguration, which so many had looked upon with such veneration, was now blood-stained from the needle-sharp crown of thorns, deathly pale and twisted from unspeakable suffering as the sin of the world was laid upon Him. His eyes, which once sparkled with the life of God, now stared at nothingness, as He was brought into the dust of death. His lips, which spoke such gracious words and calmed the fears of so many, were swollen and bruised from the beating given to Him by the hardened fists of cruel soldiers. As it is written, "His visage was so marred more than any man" (Isaiah 52:14).

Nicodemus may have reached up to help Joseph with the body. As the cold blood of the Lamb of God covered his hand he was reminded of the blood of the Passover lamb he had seen shed so many times. The death of each spotless animal had been so quick and merciful, but this death had been unspeakably cruel, vicious, inhumane, and brutal. It seemed that all the hatred that sin-loving humanity had for the Light formed itself into a dark and evil spear, and was thrust with cruel delight into the perfect Lamb of God.

Perhaps as he carefully pried the crown from His head, looked at the gaping hole in His side, the deep mass of abrasions upon His back, and the mutilated wounds in His hands and feet, a sense of outrage engrossed him, that this could happen to such a Man as this. But the words of the prophet Isaiah rang within his heart: "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities . . . the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all . . . as a lamb to the slaughter . . . for the transgression of my people he was stricken . . . yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him . . .by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many" (Isaiah 53:5–11).

Jesus of Nazareth was stripped of His robe, that we might be robed in pure righteousness. He suffered a deathly thirst, that our thirst for life might be quenched. He agonized under the curse of the Law, that we might relish the blessing of the gospel. He took upon Himself the hatred of the world, so that we could experience the love of God. Hell was let loose upon him so that heaven could be let loose upon us. Jesus of Nazareth tasted the bitterness of death, so that we might taste the sweetness of life everlasting. The Son of God willingly passed over His life, that death might freely pass over the sons and daughters of Adam.

May Calvary’s cross be as real to us as it was to those who stood on its bloody soil on that terrible day. May we also gaze upon the face of the crucified Son of God, and may shame grip our hearts if ever the fear of man comes near our souls. May we identify with the apostle Paul, who could have gloried in his dramatic and miraculous experience on the road to Damascus. Instead, he whispered in awe of God’s great love: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14). (23:53 continued)

"Who is Jesus Christ?"

Who is Jesus Christ? Unlike the question,”Does God Exist?", very few people have questioned whether Jesus Christ existed. It is generally accepted that Jesus was truly a man who walked on the earth in Israel almost 2000 years ago. The debate begins when the subject of Jesus' full identity is discussed. Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a prophet, or a good teacher, or a godly man. The problem is, the Bible tells us that Jesus was infinitely more than a prophet, a good teacher, or a godly man.

C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity writes the following: "I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: '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 a 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 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 option open to us. He did not intend to."

So, who did Jesus claim to be? Who does the Bible say He was? First, let's look at Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” At first glance, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “We are not stoning you for any of these, replied the Jews, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood Jesus’ statement to be a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John 8:58 is another example. Jesus proclaimed, “I tell you the truth, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am!” Again, in response, the Jews take up stones in an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59). Jesus announcing His identity as “I am” is a direct application of the Old Testament name for God (Exodus 3:14). Why would the Jews again want to stone Jesus if He hadn’t said something they believed to be blasphemous, namely, a claim to be God?

John 1:1 says that “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says that “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Thomas the disciple declared to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. The Apostle Paul describes Him as, “…our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The Apostle Peter says the same, “…our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). God the Father is witness of Jesus’ full identity as well, “But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.” Old Testament prophecies of Christ announce His deity, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

So, as C.S. Lewis argued, believing Jesus to be a good teacher is not an option. Jesus clearly and undeniably claimed to be God. If He is not God, then He is a liar, and therefore not a prophet, good teacher, or godly man. In attempts to explain the words of Jesus away, modern “scholars” claim the “true historical Jesus” did not say many of the things the Bible attributes to Him. Who are we to argue with God’s Word concerning what Jesus did or did not say? How can a “scholar” two-thousand years removed from Jesus have better insight into what Jesus did or did not say than those who lived with, served with, and were taught by Jesus Himself (John 14:26)?

Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important? Why does it matter whether or not Jesus is God? The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Only God could pay such an infinite penalty (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ! Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

"Did Jesus really exist? Is there any historical evidence of Jesus Christ?"

Typically when this question is asked, the person asking qualifies the question with "outside of the Bible." We do not grant this idea that the Bible cannot be considered a source of evidence for the existence of Jesus. The New Testament contains hundreds of references to Jesus Christ. There are those who date the writing of the Gospels in the second century A.D., 100+ years after Jesus' death. Even if this were the case (which we strongly dispute), in terms of ancient evidences, writings less than 200 years after events took place are considered very reliable evidences. Further, the vast majority of scholars (Christian and non-Christian) will grant that the Epistles of Paul (at least some of them) were in fact written by Paul in the middle of the first century A.D., less than 40 years after Jesus' death. In terms of ancient manuscript evidence, this is extraordinarily strong proof of the existence of a man named Jesus in Israel in the early first century A.D.

It is also important to recognize that in 70 A.D., the Romans invaded and destroyed Jerusalem and most of Israel, slaughtering its inhabitants. Entire cities were literally burned to the ground! We should not be surprised, then, if much evidence of Jesus' existence was destroyed. Many of the eye-witnesses of Jesus would have been killed. These facts likely limited the amount of surviving eyewitness testimony of Jesus.

Considering the fact that Jesus' ministry was largely confined to a relatively unimportant backwater area in a small corner of the Roman Empire, a surprising amount of information about Jesus can be drawn from secular historical sources. Some of the more important historical evidences of Jesus include the following:

The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious "Christians " ("named after Christus" which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44 ).

Flavius Josephus is the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” There is a controversial verse (18:3) that says, "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats. . . . He was [the] Christ . . . he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him." One version reads, "At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."

Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

Pliny the Younger, in Letters 10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.

The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover, and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.

Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus’ laws, believed themselves immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.

Mara Bar-Serapion confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of his followers.

Then we have all the Gnostic writings (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocryphon of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Treatise on Resurrection, etc.) that all mention Jesus.

In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed - worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and Biblical history. Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the 12 apostles, were willing to give their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie.

Is Jesus Real (Experiential Faith)

Our faith isn’t intellectual; it is experiential. We don’t know about God, we know Him. At the University of Chicago Divinity School, each year they have what is called “Baptist Day.” It is a day when the school invites all the Baptists in the area to the school because they want the Baptist dollars to keep coming in.

On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every “Baptist Day” the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr. Tillich spoke for two-and-a-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the Church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. “Docta Tillich, I got one question,” he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his lunch sack and pulled out an apple and began eating it. “Docta Tillich (crunch, munch), my question is a simple one (crunch, munch). Now, I ain’t never read them books you read (crunch, munch), and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek (crunch, munch). I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger (crunch, munch).” He finished the apple. “All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate—was it bitter or sweet?”

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: “I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.” The white-haired preacher dropped the apple core into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus.”

The 1,000-plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform. “Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him” (Psalm 34:8). It has been well said, “The man with an experience is not at the mercy of a man with an argument.”

"Is Jesus God? Did Jesus ever claim to be God?"

Jesus is never recorded in the Bible as saying the exact words, “I am God.” That does not mean, however, that He did not proclaim that He is God. Take for example Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” At first glance, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “We are not stoning you for any of these, replied the Jews, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood Jesus’ statement to be a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John 8:58 is another example. Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!" Again, in response, the Jews take up stones in an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59). Why would the Jews want to stone Jesus if He hadn’t said something they believed to be blasphemous, namely, a claim to be God?

John 1:1 says that “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says that “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Acts 20:28 tells us, "...Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood." Who bought the church with His own blood? Jesus Christ. Acts 20:28 declares that God purchased the church with His own blood. Therefore, Jesus is God!

Thomas the disciple declared concerning Jesus, “Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. Titus 2:13 encourages us to wait for the coming of our God and Savior - Jesus Christ (see also 2 Peter 1:1). In Hebrews 1:8, the Father declares of Jesus, "But about the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom."

In Revelation, an angel instructed the Apostle John to only worship God (Revelation 19:10). Several times in Scripture Jesus receives worship (Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9,17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38). He never rebukes people for worshiping Him. If Jesus were not God, He would have told people to not worship Him, just as the angel in Revelation had. There are many other verses and passages of Scripture that argue for Jesus’ deity.

The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21), die, and be resurrected - proving His victory over sin and death.

"Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)?"

Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in several Bible verses. Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. Later, in Galatians 1:19, it mentions that James was Jesus’ brother. The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood siblings.

Some Roman Catholics claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. While the word can refer to other relatives, its normal and literal meaning is a physical brother. There was a Greek word for cousin, and it was not used. Further, if they were Jesus’ cousins, why would they so often be described as being with Mary, Jesus’ mother? There is nothing in the context of His mother and brothers coming to see Him that even hints that they were anyone other than His literal, blood-related half-brothers.

A second Roman Catholic argument is that Jesus’ brothers and sisters were the children of Joseph from a previous marriage, before he married Mary. An entire theory of Joseph's being significantly older than Mary, having been previously married, having multiple children, and then being widowed before marrying Mary is invented. The problem with this is that the Bible does not even hint that Joseph was married or had children before he married Mary. If Joseph had at least six children before he married Mary, why are they not mentioned in Joseph and Mary’s trip to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7) or their trip to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15) or their trip back to Nazareth (Matthew 2:20-23)?

There is no Biblical reason to believe that these siblings are anything other than the actual children of Joseph and Mary. Those who oppose the idea that Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters do so, not from a reading of Scripture, but from a preconceived concept of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is itself clearly unbiblical: "But he (Joseph) had no union with her (Mary) UNTIL she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus" (Matthew 1:25). Jesus had half-siblings, half-brothers and half-sisters, who were the children of Joseph and Mary. That is the clear and unambiguous teaching of God’s Word.

"What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of Man?"

Jesus is referred to as the "Son of Man" 88 times in the New Testament. What does this mean? Does not the Bible say Jesus was the Son of God? How then could Jesus also be the Son of Man? A first meaning of the phrase "Son of Man" is as a reference to the prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14, "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." The description "Son of Man" was a Messianic title. Jesus is the one who was given dominion and glory and a kingdom. When Jesus used this phrase related to Himself, He was assigning the “Son of Man” prophecy to Himself. The Jews of that era would have been intimately familiar with the phrase and to whom it referred. He was proclaiming Himself as the Messiah.

A second meaning of the phrase "Son of Man" is that Jesus was truly a human being. God called the prophet Ezekiel "son of man" 93 times. God was simply calling Ezekiel a human being. A son of a man is a man. Jesus was fully God (John 1:1), but He was also a human being (John 1:14). 1 John 4:2 tells us, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God." Yes, Jesus was the Son of God – He was in His essence God. Yes, Jesus was also the Son of Man – He was in His essence a human being. In summary, the phrase "Son of Man" indicates that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is truly a human being.

"What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God?"

Jesus is not God’s Son in the sense of how we think of a father and a son. God did not get married and have a son. Jesus is God’s Son in the sense that He is God made manifest in human form (John 1:1,14). Jesus is God's Son in that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35 declares, "The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.'" In Bible times, the phrase “son of man” was used to describe a human being. The son of a man is a man.

During His trial before the Jewish leaders, the High Priest demanded of Jesus, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 26:63). Jesus responded, “Yes, it is as you say, ‘but I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). The Jewish leaders responded by accusing Jesus of blasphemy (Matthew 26:65-66). Later, before Pontius Pilate, “The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God’” (John 19:7). Why would claiming to be the “Son of God” be considered blasphemy and be worthy of a death sentence? The Jewish leaders understood exactly what Jesus meant by the phrase “Son of God.” To be the “Son of God” is to be of the same nature as God. The “Son of God” is “of God.” The claim to be of the same nature as God, to in fact “be God,” was blasphemy to the Jewish leaders; therefore, they demanded Jesus’ death. Hebrews 1:3 expresses this very clearly, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being…”

Another example can be found in John 17:12 where Judas is described as the "son of perdition." John 6:71 tells us that Judas was the son of Simon. What does John 17:12 mean by describing Judas as the "son of perdition"? The word "perdition" means "destruction, ruin, waste." Judas was not the literal son of "ruin, destruction, and waste" - but those things were the identity of Judas' life. Judas was a manifestation of perdition. In this same aspect, Jesus is the Son of God. The Son of God is God. Jesus is God made manifest (John 1:1,14).

"What does it mean that Jesus is the son of David?"

Seventeen verses in the New Testament describe Jesus as the "son of David." But the question arises, how could Jesus be the son of David if David lived approximately 1000 years before Jesus? The answer is that Christ (the Messiah) was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the seed of David (2 Samuel 7:14-16). Jesus was the promised Messiah, which meant He was of the seed of David. Matthew 1 gives the genealogical proof that Jesus, in His humanity, was a direct descendant of Abraham and David through Joseph, Jesus' legal father. The genealogy in Luke chapter 3 gives Jesus' lineage through His mother, Mary. Jesus is a descendant of David, by adoption through Joseph, and by blood through Mary. Primarily though, when Christ was referred to as the Son of David, it was meant to refer to His Messianic title as the Old Testament prophesied concerning Him.

Jesus was addressed as “Lord, thou son of David” several times by people who, by faith, were seeking mercy or healing. The woman whose daughter was being tormented by a demon (Matthew 15:22), the two blind men by the wayside (Matthew 20:30), and blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:47), all cried out to the son of David for help. The titles of honor they gave Him declared their faith in Him. Calling Him Lord expressed their sense of His deity, dominion, and power, and by calling Him “son of David,” they were professing Him to be the Messiah.

The Pharisees, too, understood what was meant when they heard the people calling Jesus “son of David.” But unlike those who cried out in faith, they were so blinded by their own pride and lack of understanding of the Scriptures that they couldn’t see what the blind beggars could see – that here was the Messiah they had supposedly been waiting for all their lives. They hated Jesus because He wouldn’t give them the honor they thought they deserved, so when they heard the people hailing Jesus as the Savior, they became enraged (Matthew 21:15) and plotted to destroy Him (Luke 19:47).

Jesus further confounded the scribes and Pharisees by asking them to explain the meaning of this very title. How could it be that the Messiah is the son of David when David himself refers to Him as “my Lord” (Mark 12:35-37)? Of course the teachers of the law couldn’t answer the question. Jesus thereby exposed the Jewish spiritual leaders’ ineptitude as teachers and their ignorance of what the Old Testament taught as to the true nature of the Messiah, further alienating them from Him.

Jesus Christ, the only son of God and the only means of salvation for the world (Acts 4:12), is also the son of David, both in a physical sense and a spiritual sense.

"Who was responsible for Christ's death?"

The answer to this question has many facets. First, there is no doubt the religious leaders of Israel were responsible for Jesus’ death. Matthew 26:3-4 tells us that “the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, assembled together to the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. And they consulted so that they might take Jesus by guile and kill Him.” The Jewish leaders demanded of the Romans that Jesus be put to death (Matthew 27:22-25). They couldn’t continue to allow Him to work signs and wonders because it threatened their position and place in the religious society they dominated (John 11:47-50), so “they plotted to put Him to death” (John 11:53).

The Romans were the ones who actually crucified Him (Matthew 27:27-37). Crucifixion was a Roman method of execution, authorized and carried out by the Romans under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus. Roman soldiers drove the nails into His hands and feet, Roman troops erected the cross and a Roman solider pierced His side (Matthew 27:27-35).

The people of Israel were also complicit in the death of Jesus. They were the ones who shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” as He stood on trial before Pilate (Luke 23:21). They also cried for the thief Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus (Matthew 27:21). Peter confirmed this in Acts 2:22-23 when he told the men of Israel “you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death” Jesus of Nazareth. In fact the murder of Jesus was a conspiracy involving Rome, Herod, the Jewish leaders and the people of Israel, a diverse group of people who never worked together on anything before or since, but who came together this one time to plot and carry out the unthinkable – the murder of the son of God.

Ultimately, and perhaps somewhat amazingly, it was God Himself who put Jesus to death. This was the greatest act of divine justice ever carried out, done in “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23) and for the highest purpose. Jesus’ death on the cross secured the salvation of countless millions and provided the only way God could forgive sin without compromising His holiness and perfect righteousness. Christ’s death was God’s perfect plan for the eternal redemption of His own. Far from being a victory for Satan, as some have suggested, or an unnecessary tragedy, it was the most gracious act of God’s goodness and mercy, the ultimate expression of the Father’s love for sinners. God put Jesus to death for our sin so that we could live in sinless righteousness before Him, a righteousness only possible because of the cross. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So we who have come to Christ in faith are guilty of His blood, shed on the cross for us. He died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8; 6:23-24). In the movie "The Passion of the Christ," the director, Mel Gibson, was the one whose hands you see actually driving the nails through Christ's hands. He did it that way to remind himself, and everyone else, that it was our sins that nailed Jesus to the cross.

How do we know that Jesus Christ really rose from the dead?

The most powerful sign of all that Jesus is who he claims to be, namely the Son of God, is his resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). This is a question with huge implications: Did it happen? Is the Resurrection story the great exception to the "usual dreary end of human life?" Many now consider the Resurrection to be one of the most sure and certain events of history. A critical debate on the question "Did Jesus rise from the dead?" took place recently between world-renowned atheistic philosopher, Dr. Anthony Flew, and New Testament scholar and Christian, Dr. Gary Habermas. A panel of five philosophers from leading universities judged the outcome. What was the conclusion? Four votes for Habermas. None for Flew. And one draw. Flew was judged to have retreated into philosophical sophistry while evading the widely-acknowledged historical facts cited by Dr. Habermas.

TWELVE WIDELY-ACKNOWLEDGED HISTORICAL FACTS

Jesus died to the rigors of crucifixion.

Jesus was buried.

Jesus' death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.

Many scholars hold that Jesus' tomb was discovered to be empty just a few days later.

At this time, the disciples had real experiences that they believed to be literal experiences of the risen Jesus.

The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify with Jesus, to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection, even being willing to die for this belief.

The resurrection was central to their message.

The resurrection was proclaimed in Jerusalem where the empty tomb was. As a result…

The church was born and grew…

…with Sunday the primary day of worship.

James, Jesus' skeptical brother, was converted by the resurrection.

Paul, the great persecutor of Christianity, was converted by the resurrection (Acts 9:3-9, 17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1)

So momentous was this single event in the First Century that its effects have been described as a "widening circle of ripples" from a "boulder crashing into the pool of history."[3] In one of the oddest turns in history, a message centering on a dead "criminal" (1 Corinthians 1:23) came to be proclaimed as "good news." Equally amazing was the extent of the Empire-wide transformation following its proclamation. The impetus for this message was the conviction that the same Jesus who was crucified was now alive again. These facts are admitted even by knowledgeable skeptics.

The Resurrection story of course has had its critics, even from the very beginning. From the account of the first guards in Matthew 28:11f, all the way to the present, there have been efforts to explain away his resurrection. Each new attempt, however, is more perverse than those which came before,[5] while still failing to account for the range of indisputable facts.

"What was Jesus like as a person?"

Although He had "no beauty that we should desire Him..." (Isaiah 53:2), it was His "personality" that drew men to Him. He was a man of great character.

He had a COMPASSIONATE nature. He had compassion on the crowds “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Because of His compassion for them, He healed their diseases (Matthew 14:14; 20:34), and because of their hunger, He compassionately created enough food to feed more than 5000 (Matthew 15:32).

Jesus was SERIOUS and FOCUSED. He had a mission in life and never got sidetracked from it, knowing the weightiness of it and the shortness of time. His attitude was that of a SERVANT. "He did not come to BE served, but to SERVE" (Mark 10:45). KINDNESS and SELFLESSNESS characterized His personality.

Jesus was SUBMISSIVE to His Father's will when He came to earth and subsequently went to the cross. He knew that dying on the cross was the only payment His Father could accept for our salvation. He prayed the night of His betrayal by Judas, "O My Father, if it be possible, take this cup of suffering from Me: but LET WHAT YOU WANT BE DONE, NOT WHAT I WANT" (Matthew 26:39). He was a SUBMISSIVE Son to Mary and Joseph, as well. He grew up in a normal (sinful) household, yet, “He continued in subjection to them..." (Luke 2:51). He was OBEDIENT to the Father’s will. “He learned obedience through the things that He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus had a heart of MERCY and FORGIVENESS - "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). "...If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins..." (1 John 1:9). He was also LOVING in His relationships - "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus" (John 11:5). John was known as the disciple "whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23).

He had a reputation for being GOOD and CARING. He healed often and in most places where He went IN ORDER THAT they might know who He was! Truly He proved to be the Son of the living God by all the miracles He did, all the while showing concern for the afflictions of those around Him.

HONEST/TRUTHFUL - He never violated His own Word. He spoke TRUTH wherever He went. He lived a life we could follow explicitly. "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE..." (John 14:6). At the same time, He was PEACEABLE. He did not argue His case, nor try to bully His way into people's hearts.

Jesus was INTIMATE with His followers. He spent quality and quantity time with them. He coveted their fellowship, taught them, and helped them focus on what was eternal. He was also intimate with His Heavenly Father. He prayed to Him regularly, listened, obeyed, and cared about God's reputation. (Angered at the moneychangers who were buying and selling in the temple, He said firmly and AUTHORITATIVELY, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you have made it a robbers den!") He was obviously a STRONG, but quiet LEADER. Everywhere He went (until the inevitable decline), the people followed Him, eager to listen to His teaching.

He was PATIENT, knowing and understanding our frailties. He was and is "patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

These are traits that all believers should desire to become a part of their "personality" and character. The things that drew people to Jesus should be the very things that draw people to us. Jesus has given those who believe in Him His Holy Spirit, who enables us to be constantly changing into His image (Romans 8:29). This will only come about as we YIELD to Him for who He truly is...LORD of the universe! We must BELIEVE that He is conforming us into His image, and not resist His will for us. Even as Jesus never drew attention to Himself, (but rather to His Father), even so, we ought to say as John the Baptist did, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

"Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?"

"I'm basically a good person, so I'll go to heaven." "OK, so I do some bad things, but I do more good things, so I'll go to heaven." "God won't send me to hell just because I don't live by the Bible. Times have changed!" "Only really bad people like child molesters and murderers go to hell."

These are all common rationales among most people, but the truth is, they are all lies. Satan, the ruler of the world, plants these thoughts in our heads. He, and anyone who follows his ways, is an enemy to God (1Pet 5:8). Satan always disguises himself as good (2 Corinthians 11:14), but he has control over all the minds that do not belong to God. "Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4).

It is a lie to believe that God doesn't care about small sins, and that hell is reserved for "bad people." All sin separates us from God, even a “little white lie”. Everyone has sinned, and no one is good enough to get to heaven on their own (Romans 3:23). Getting into heaven is not based on whether our good outweighs our bad; we will all lose out if that is the case. "And if they are saved by God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's wonderful kindness would not be what it really is - free and undeserved" (Romans 11:6). We can do nothing good to earn our way to heaven (Titus 3:5).

"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way" (Matthew 7:13). Even if everyone is living a life of sin, and trusting in God is not popular, God will not excuse it. "You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God" (Ephesians 2:2).

When God created the world, it was perfect. Everything was good. Then he made Adam and Eve, and gave them their own free will, so they would have a choice whether to follow and obey God or not. But Adam and Eve, the very first people God made, were tempted by Satan to disobey God, and they sinned. This separated them (and everyone that came after them, including us) from being able to have a close relationship with God. He is perfect, and holy, and must judge sin. As sinners, we couldn't make it there on our own. So, God made a way that we could be united with Him in heaven. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Jesus was born so that He could teach us the way and die for our sins so that we would not have to. Three days after His death, He rose from the grave (Romans 4:25), proving Himself victorious over death. He bridged the gap between God and man so that we may have a personal relationship with Him if we would only believe.

"And this is the way to have eternal life - to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth" (John 17:3). Most people believe in God, even Satan does. But to receive salvation, we must turn to God, form a personal relationship, turn away from our sins, and follow Him. We must trust in Jesus with everything we have and everything we do. "We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this way, no matter who we are or what we have done" (Romans 3:22). The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Christ. Jesus says in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

Jesus is the only way of salvation because He is the only One who can pay our sin penalty (Romans 6:23). No other religion teaches the depth or seriousness of sin and its consequences. No other religion offers the infinite payment of sin that only Jesus Christ could provide. No other “religious founder” was God become man (John 1:1,14) – the only way an infinite debt could be paid. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

"How is Jesus different from other religious leaders?"

In a sense asking this question is sort of like asking how the sun differs from other stars in our solar system—the point being that there are no other stars in our solar system!

The point is that no other "religious leader" even compares to Jesus Christ. Every other religious leader is either alive or dead. Jesus Christ is the only one who was dead (He died in our place, for our sins, according I Corinthians 15:1-8) and is now alive. Indeed, He proclaims in Revelation 1:17-18 that He is alive forevermore! No other religious leader even makes such a claim, a claim that is either true or utterly preposterous.

Another important difference is found in the very nature of Christianity. The essence of Christianity is Christ. Crucified, resurrected, ascended into Heaven, returning someday. Without Him—and without His resurrection—there is no Christianity. Compare that with other major religions. Hinduism, for example, can stand or fall entirely apart from any of the "great Swamis" who founded it. Buddhism is the same story. Even Islam is based upon the sayings and teachings of Mohammed, not upon the claim that he came back to life from the dead.

The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:13-19, says that if Christ was not raised from the dead, then our faith is empty and we are still in our sins! What he is saying is that the truth claims of Christianity are based simply and solely upon the resurrected Jesus Christ! If He did not, in fact, come back from the dead—in time and space—then there is no truth to Christianity whatsoever. Over and over again throughout the New Testament the apostles and evangelists base the truth of the Gospel upon the Resurrection.

One other significant point that we dare not overlook is the exceedingly important fact that Jesus Christ claimed to be the "Son of God" (a Hebraism meaning "characterized by God") as well as the "Son of Man" (a Hebraism meaning "characterized by Man"). In many varied passages, He makes claims to be equal with the Father (see, for example, John 10:29-33). To Him are ascribed all of the prerogatives and attributes of Deity. Yet He was also a man, born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-56). Having lived a sinless life, He was crucified in order to pay for the sins of all men: "He Himself is the satisfaction of God's wrath for our sins; and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:2), and then He was resurrected from the dead three days later. He is fully God and fully Man, the "theanthropos" [from the Greek for God (theos) - Man (anthropos)]; yet He is one person.

The very Person and Work of Christ poses for us a question that we cannot avoid: What will you do with Jesus? We cannot simply dismiss Him. We cannot ignore Him. He is the central figure in all of human history, and if He died for the sins of the whole world, then He died for yours as well. The Apostle Peter tells us in Acts 4:12, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin, we will be saved.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew Chapter 5

This sermon not only reveals God’s divine nature, it puts into our hands the most powerful of evangelistic weapons. It is the greatest evangelistic sermon ever preached by the greatest evangelist who ever lived.

The straightedge of God’s Law reveals how crooked we are:

  • Matt. 5:3: The unregenerate heart isn’t poor in spirit. It is proud, self-righteous, and boastful (every man is pure in his own eyes—Proverbs16:2).
  • Matt. 5:4: The unsaved don’t mourn over their sin; they love the darkness and hate the light (John 3:19).
  • Matt. 5:5: The ungodly are not meek and lowly of heart. Their sinful condition is described in Romans 3:13–18.
  • Matt. 5:6: Sinners don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness. Instead, they drink iniquity like water (Job 15:16).
  • Matt. 5:7: The world is shallow in its ability to show true mercy. It is by nature cruel and vindictive (Genesis 6:5).
  • Matt. 5:8: The heart of the unregenerate is not pure; it is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Those who are born again manifest the fruit of the Spirit, live godly in Christ Jesus (Matt. 5:3–9), and therefore suffer persecution (Matt. 5:10–12). However, their purpose on earth is to be salt and light: to be a moral influence, and to bring the light to those who sit in the shadow of death (Matt. 5:13–16).

Look now at how the Messiah expounds the Law and makes it "honorable" (Isaiah 42:21). He establishes that He didn’t come to destroy the Law (Matt. 5:17); not even the smallest part of it will pass away (Matt. 5:18). It will be the divine standard of judgment (James 2:12; Romans 2:12; Acts 17:31). Those who teach it "shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). The Law should be taught to sinners because it was made for them (1 Timothy 1:8–10), and is a "schoolmaster" that brings the "knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:19,20; 7:7). Its function is to destroy self-righteousness and bring sinners to the cross (Galatians 3:24). The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was merely outward, but God requires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6). Jesus shows this by unveiling the Law’s spiritual nature (Romans 7:14).

The Sixth Commandment forbids murder. However, Jesus shows that it also condemns anger "without cause," and even evil- speaking (Matt. 5:21–26): "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

The Seventh Commandment forbids adultery, but Jesus revealed that this also includes lust, and it even condemns divorce, except in the case of sexual sin of the spouse (Matt. 5:27–32).

Jesus opens up the Ninth Commandment (Matt. 5:33–37), and then shows that love is the spirit of the Law—"The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart . . ." (1 Timothy 1:5). This is summarized in what is commonly called the Golden Rule: "All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the Law and the prophets" (Matthew 7:12, emphasis added).

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:8–10).

When a sinner is born again he is able to do this (Matt. 5:38–47). He now possesses "the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). In Christ he is made perfect and thus satisfies the demands of a "perfect" Law (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25). Without the righteousness of Christ he cannot be perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). The Law annihilated his self-righteousness leaving him undone and condemned. His only hope was in the cross of Jesus Christ. After his conversion, knowledge of the Law that brought him there keeps him at the foot of the cross. John Wesley said, "Therefore I cannot spare the Law one moment, no more than I can spare Christ, seeing I now want it as much to keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to Him. Otherwise this ‘evil heart of unbelief’ would immediately ‘depart from the living God.’ Indeed each is continually sending me to the other—the Law to Christ, and Christ to the Law."

The Significance of the First Miracle

1. The turning of water into blood was the first of the public miracles that Moses did in Egypt (Exodus 7:20), and the water into wine was the first of the public miracles that Jesus did in the world (John 2:11).

2. The signs that God gave to Egypt in the Old Testament were plagues, destruction, and death, and the signs that Jesus did in the world in the New Testament were healings, blessings, and life.

3. The turning of water to blood initiated Moses (a type of the Savior— Deuteronomy 18:15) leading his people out of the bondage of Egypt into an earthly liberty; the turning of water into wine initiated Jesus taking His people out of the bondage of the corruption of the world into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21).

4. The turning of water to blood culminated in the firstborn in Egypt being delivered to death, while turning the water into wine culminated in the life of the Firstborn being delivered from death (Colossians 1:18).

5. The Law was a ministration of death, the gospel a ministration of life. One was written on cold tablets of stone, the other on the warm fleshly tablets of the heart. One was a ministration of sin unto condemnation and bondage, the other a ministration of righteousness unto life and liberty (2 Corinthians 3:7–9).

6. When Moses changed the water into blood, we are told that all the fish in the river died. When Jesus initiated the new covenant, the catch of the fish are made alive in the net of the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:19).

7. The river of blood was symbolic of death for Egypt, but the water into wine is symbolic of life for the world. The letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit makes alive (2 Corinthians 3:6).

8. When Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood, the river reeked and made the Egyptians search for another source of water supply (Exodus 7:21,24). When the Law of Moses does its work in the sinner, it makes life odious for him. The weight of sin on his back becomes unbearable as he begins to labor and be heavy laden under its weight. Like the Egyptians, he begins to search for another spring of water; he begins to "thirst for righteousness," because he knows that without a right standing with God, he will perish.

9. Moses turned water into blood, and Jesus’ blood turned into water (1 John 5:6). They both poured from His side (John 19:34), perhaps signifying that both Law and grace found harmony in the Savior’s death—"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).

10. The water of the old covenant ran out. It could do nothing but leave the sinner with a thirst for righteousness. But as with the wine at Cana, God saved the best until last. The new wine given on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13; Ephesians 5:18) was the Bridegroom giving us the new and "better" covenant

The Witness

An interesting insight into what may have been...       By Danny Hotea

As was my custom, I rose early that day to pay homage to the gods by prayers and burnt offerings. To which I vowed my obedience on that fateful morning, I cannot now remember. There were so many. Leaving the place of worship, I endeavored to sit quietly and read the creeds of Rome as written by the emperor himself. It was my duty not only as a centurion, but as a Roman citizen, to understand the purpose of almighty Caesar and Rome. However, just as I began pouring over the open scroll, a nameless messenger came panting with word from Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, ordering my garrison to his palace immediately. I arrived with three hundred men as if by flight. The sun had hardly risen, and the airheld an unseen weight, as if to distinguish this day from all others. The men, all clad in leather and metal with swords swaying from their belts and spears stabbing at the sky in protest of their unusually early arousal, wobbled restlessly in rigid formation, awaiting my command. The sound of spiked sandals scraping he stone palace floor echoed down the long, stone hallway adding tension to mystery. They undoubtedly supposed that I knew the reason for it all. But I didn’t—until another messenger came with another scroll describing our purpose exactly. Jerusalem was a place known for its concentrated reserve of mindless zealots. And I had experience in stamping out the feeble efforts of disorderly vagrants and disorganized militias meant to unshackle the Jews from Rome’s iron grip. One in particular came to mind as I read the final sentence of that day’s orders. It was the most recent and pathetic uprising. A small army of poorly armed religious rebels managed to assassinate an insignificant gatekeeper in the governor’s palace. The idea that a handful of superstitious peasants could overthrow Rome was ridiculous and, if it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable. Their leader had been a thin, sweaty man with hardly any beard, balding head and shifting eyes. A Jew. A brainless dreamer suffering from resentment. His name was Barabbas. He was hardly a match for Rome. I caught him in the streets attempting to hide beneath a vendor’s blankets after his pitiful militia had been butchered and left for the dogs. I was his judge and jury. And since only Romans have the right to a trial, I stuffed him in a smaller-than- sual cell after the garrison had their day’s exercise of beating him with rods and slapping him with gloved fists. That day had another experience for me altogether. As we pushed our way into the Praetorium hauling the scourged offender to the platform, where another Man stood, the mob sang out in a chorus of hatred, "Crucify Him!" The governor addressed the riotous masses with careful words, offering them a choice between the bloodied and uncondemned Man now occupying the platform with him, or the pathetic zealot, Barabbas, who had failed an attempt to destroy Rome. Immediately they sent out blood-curdling screams consenting to he murder of the One and the release of the other. It was apparent, by their screams, that this Man had not offended Rome. He had offended the Jews. A messenger interrupted the procedure, which was doubtlessly an urgent matter, after which I was signaled to bring Him into the governor’s inner court. The conversation that took place proved this Man’s character. He spoke only when questioned and claimed that the governor’s authority was given to him by the Offender’s Father, which made little sense to me at the time. When He said He was a King, I wondered whether Barabbas, the sweaty zealot, had similar thoughts. But, all in all, this Man had authority incomparable to any I had seen before. This fact was startling considering I had seen the Caesar and all his delegates more often than Pontius himself. What seemed like moments later, my garrison had elbowed their way through the riotous crowds to the place of execution, hauling two offenders of Rome and One offender of the Jews. His head had been crowned with thorns, no doubt a torturous invention of the guiltless soldiers in my garrison. His beard replaced with bleeding flesh. His back opened wide by a Roman scourge to an infectious environment full of illness bred in the hearts of vehement enemies. Yet, it seemed that these were the slightest of His pains judging by the weight of grief He bore on His countenance. His visage carried an eternal load of unfamiliar burdens. As was my custom, I drove the first nail into the left wrist of each offender inaugurating their torturous departure from this world and instructing my garrison how to proceed with the crucifixion. The two vagrants wrestled pathetically against the soldier’s grip that held their filthy arms against the knotted wood, spitting out blasphemies against the gods of Rome and sprinkling our faces with bloody specs of mucus. But they could do little more than wiggle their palms and claw at my wrists with their broken nails until the iron spike impaled the wrist and its owner’s arm was pinned against the wood, twitching like a wounded animal. I often delighted in the sound of their ear-splitting screams and hellish moans that filled the air and the sight of their epileptic convulsions of agony as their crosses were set upright. It became somewhat of a drama to which I looked forward with secret pleasure, even more than the gladiators and the chariot races where countless men had lost their lives to entertain Rome. I could hardly keep from smiling, at times. But this Man, although He was innocent, displayed no reluctance in placing His arm against the wood. His eyes fastened on the soldier holding His arm and on me, His sadistic executioner. I expected the typical reaction as the iron penetrated His skin. But this Man was not typical in any sense of the word. Instead of spraying my face with spittle, He groaned and looked away, scrapping His thorny crown against the lumber behind His head. Unlike the other two, this Man did not moan in melodies of agony as the cross sat upright, disjointing its resident. Tears ran down His scabbed face as He viewed the masses streaming past the foot of His cross. Their venomous words struck the air like frothy waves pounding some seaside cliff. And, unlike the other two, whose hoarse-voiced cursing baptized each passerby with vulgar threats and swollen words of every sort, He spoke kindly to a few standing at the foot of His cross. Had He not been a Jew, I would have been compelled to defend His dying reputation for sheer sympathy’s sake. At the instant before He died, the sky blackened as if it had been split open like a carcass and all its guilt bled out onto the clouds. The earth convulsed, shaking and tossing my men and I like mere toys. At that instant I knew this Man was no mere Man. He wielded an exclusive power. The image of Rome, as if it were a colossal statue carved of iron, lay in heaps beneath His cross as a mound of chaff vulnerable to the slightest breath of wind. The sight of His emaciated corpse stabbed at my conscience. Had I done wrong? If not, then why such agony of heart? I was bleeding now and my zeal for Rome poured from the bowels of my heart like the streamlets coursing from His side and brow. He had slain me; not I Him. His naked body, reduced to shards of stinking flesh hanging lifelessly on the cross, seemed more alive than I did standing with my hand-polished helmet and Roman embroidery hanging like empirical curtains from my shoulders. I was ashamed of myself. I turned away toprevent my tears from being noticed. Regret welled up in my soul and poured out onto my cheeks with burning tears. I tried desperately to compose myself to no avail. Once more, I turned to look at Him, and my knees betrayed me to the ground beneath. My forehead kissed the ground in an unguarded slump. I gritted my teeth and formed the words, "Truly, this was the Son of God!" I have never been the same since.

"Is it possible that Jesus simply fainted on the cross, and revived while He was in the tomb?"

Jesus had been whipped and beaten, and was bleeding from His head, back, hands, and feet for at least six hours. While he was on the cross, a soldier pierced His side with a spear and blood and water gushed out. Professional soldiers would certainly have completed their assigned task and ensured his death.

"It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulcher, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening, and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to his sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life: an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which he had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship." Strauss, New Life of Jesus (quoted in Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison)

"It’s intolerant to say that Jesus is the only way to God!"

Jesus is the One who said that He is the only way to the Father. For Christians to say that there are other ways to find peace with God is to bear false testimony. In one sweeping statement, Jesus discards all other religions as a means of finding forgiveness of sins. This agrees with other Scriptures: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12), and "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).

"Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery, but condemned those who judged her. Therefore you shouldn’t judge others."

The Christian is not "judging others" but simply telling the world of God’s judgment —that God (not the Christian) has judged all the world as being guilty before Him (Romans 3:19,23). Jesus was able to offer that woman forgiveness for her sin, be-cause He was on His way to die on the cross for her. She acknowledged Him as "Lord," but He still told her, "Go, and sin no more." If she didn’t repent, she would perish.

"Jesus taught hatred by saying that a Christian should ‘hate’ his father and mother."

This is called "hyperbole"—a statement of extremes, contrasting love with hate for emphasis’ sake. The Bible often does this (Proverbs 13:24; 29:24). Jesus tells us that the first and greatest Commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37,38). As much as we treasure our spouse and family, and even our own life, there should be no one whom we love and value more than God, no one who takes precedence in our life. To place love for another (including ourselves) above God is idolatry.

"Jesus wasn’t sinless—He became angry when He cleared the temple."

The temple of God was filled with the day’s equivalent of money-grabbing televangelists. Jesus called it a "den of thieves" (v. 17), because the moneychangers were not interested in God but in taking financial advantage of those who came to worship. Anger at hypocrisy isn’t a sin—it’s a virtue.

"On the cross, Jesus cried, ‘My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ This proves He was a fake. God forsook Him."

Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 were the fulfillment of David’s prophecy in Psalm 22:1. Verse 3 of this psalm then gives us in-sight into why God forsook Jesus on the cross: "But You are holy . . ." A holy Creator cannot have fellowship with sin. When Jesus was on the cross, the sin of the entire world was laid upon Him (Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21), but Scripture says God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look on iniquity" (Habakkuk 1:13).