Jesus Deserves an Academy Award, If He Wasn’t God
WHO WAS JESUS
Jesus is the most debated person in history, and also the most controversial. On the one hand he healed the sick, paralytic, blind, fed thousands, rescued a prostitute, and many other amazing things. On the other hand he was highly controversial to Jewish and Roman authorities. He was unlike any religious leader before him or since. Christ is the only person who has ever claimed to be God and convinced a great percentage of the world that this was so. It was for this claim that he faced the trial.
Jesus’ trial was very unique in that he was not being trailed for actions; he was being trailed for his identity, who he claimed to be.
Mark 14:61–64 (NKJV)
61 But He kept silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
Clearly the high priest tore his clothes because he recognized the significance of Jesus stating, “I am.” He was clearly stating to the high priest and authorities that he, indeed, was God. The Sanhedrin did not need two witnesses to give testimony against Christ; he told them himself. Either Christ was God or he was insane; those are the only two options. If a sane man had been in this situation he would have never claimed to be God in their hearing. Often times a third option is posited that Jesus simply claimed to be the Messiah, and not God, but this fails to take into account his statement that “he would sit at the right hand of power,” which is a particular Hebrew expression for Deity. Thus the Sanhedrin found Christ guilty and punishable by death (crucifixion) for claiming to be God.
If Christ was not raised from the dead, then the Christian faith could not have come into existence; it rises of falls on the resurrection. The Apostle Paul stated it like this, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty (2 Cor. 15:14).” They Apostles recognized that if Christ was not raised from the dead, then his claims that he would do so were fallacious. So where does that leave us in the present time? We didn’t see these things as the Apostles and Disciples had seen them. The answer is evidence.
The place of the burial and missing body are historical fact; no serious historian questions this. Jesus himself was a live during the first half of the first century, also a fact no one serious denies. Ancient people who were contemporaries to the Apostles and Disciples also mention Jesus:
Ignatius (a pupil of John) stated the following, “He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, and not merely in appearance, was crucified, and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He also rose again in three days.”
Justin Martyr (100-165) stated, “Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate.”
Tertullian (160-220) mentions, “But the Jews were so exasperated by his teaching, by which their rulers and chiefs were convicted of the truth, chiefly because so many turned aside to him, hat at last they brought him before Pontius Pilate, at the time Roman governor of Syria, and, by the violence of their outcries against him, extorted a sentence giving him up to them to be crucified.”
Josephus said of Christ, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. he drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, upon his impeachment by the principal man among us, those who had loved him from the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive on the third day, the divine prophets have spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him. And even now, the race of Christians, so named from him, has not died out.
With the above taken into account along with the Gospels, we can easily say we know more about Jesus’ death and burial than any other ancient man in history. So we have very good independent evidences that attest to Jesus’ death, burial and crucifixion. He must have been exactly who he claimed to be. The question now that you know this, what will you do with this information?