Jesus, the Messiah that Divide
Some (like me) say, "Jesus is their Savior."
Some, won't even utter His name, they call Him: "That Man"
Others say, "He didn't exist."
Still others say, "He was a good teacher."
Wow, for someone reported to have healed lepers with just a touch, calmed the storm with a word, raised the dead and preaching a message of salvation, and that we should love our neighbors "as ourselves," He sure has caused a lot of trouble with His offer of "eternal life."
What did He do that would cause so many to daily use his name (along with God's name,) as a curse-word?
Maybe, it is because of this: Jesus said he was the "Only Way" (to the Father.) John 14:6
Many people chaff at the idea that when it comes to Heaven, they are told that trusting in Jesus is the "only way."
This stance is easily shown to be illogical, by this:
If you developed life threating cancer and there was only one treatment that provided healing, would you really have a problem that there was only "one way?" Of course you wouldn't. You would be glad that there was "a way."
In John 14:6, Jesus said: "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." The choice is ours, whether or not to believe Him. He is the only One that taught these things, and did the miracles foretold by the prophets as the validation that He was the "Messiah." He is the "only way." Choose wisely.
The real reason that there is rebellion against God and the salvation He offers, is that this rebellion comes from a rebellious hearts.
Definitions for heart include: - one's innermost character, feelings, or inclinations - "knew it in his heart" "a man after my own heart"
: the central or innermost part : center : the essential or most vital part of something.
The way that mankind's rebellion is displayed, is that we, (even though we are merely specks in God's universe) think that somehow, we know better than God what fair is, or, what right and wrong is, and, we simply chaff at the idea of being "under His thumb."
I view the matter quite a bit differently. I think that being in a loving relationship with the Creator of the Heavens and Earth is a great thing. Actually adopted into His family, according to the scriptures. What better way to get through the struggles of this life, not to mention the awesome hope of our life ahead.
Gen 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Exo 7:14 So the LORD said to Moses: "Pharaoh's heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go."
Deu 4:29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 10:12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Mat 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It is clear by these verses, that the inclination of a persons heart toward God is really the crux of the matter. I encourage you to give some real thought about whether you are inclined toward God, or not.
If you are inclined away from God, you can pray to Him, ask Him to show Himself in the timing and coincidences of your life and to soften your heart, He will.
In Jeremiah 29:11-14, God is speaking to the Children of Israel and by extension, to every wayward son or daughter, a promise. That if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him.
One thing for sure, God is not going to allow rebels in His eternal Kingdom. He is using Satan to purge rebellion from the heavens, and, He is using Satan and his destructive enticements, to purge rebels from the earth. After all, what kind of sense would it make for God to purposely allow rebellious people into His Kingdom?
The Jewish religious leaders of the first century, had been told by their prophets, that their Messiah was coming.
In Genesis 3:15, there is a hint that the Messiah would be "born of a woman."
"...and between thy, (Satan's) seed and her seed." This is pretty interesting because normally, it is the man that has "seed" elsewhere in the Scriptures as well as in the culture.
In Isaiah 7:14, the Messiah was to be born to a virgin.
In Micah 5:2, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
In Daniel 9:21-27, Gave the time of the Messiah's visitation and even that he would be cut off (killed). While this specific prophecy is more clearly seen when looking back, it should have resonated throughout the first century religious authorities, that the time of the Messiah was near.
In Genesis 22:1-14, Abraham as directed by God, acted out a near sacrifice of his only son, Isaac.
At some point, Abraham understood that he was acting out a future event by doing this:
"Genesis 22:14, And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: (the Lord will provide) as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen."
The things that the Messiah would do and say, were foretold
In Zechariah 9:9, The prophet said that the Messiah would arrive, riding on a donkey (as a king coming in peace would come).
In Luke 4:16-21, Jesus publicly announced that He was the Messiah. The Prophet Isiah detailed some of the things that the Messiah would do to aid in His identification
When considering the many supernatural things that Jesus did, these should have provided sufficient proof that He was the Messiah, but, if that wasn't enough, He also, raised the dead (three times): Luke 8:54-56, John 11:38-45, Luke 7:11-17. Controlled the storm: Mark 4:36-41. Walked on the water: Matthew 14:25-27, and cast out demons: Matthew 8:28.
The Gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are basically, eyewitness testimonies on Jesus' life and words and actions. They differ somewhat like you would expect for different witnesses, describing the same event they they all observed.
In addition, there are some really "human like" failure and foibles, that were included in the narratives, which would have not probably made the cut if the story was contrived, items like:
It's pretty amazing how that when Jesus was arrested, an arrest that would lead to His crucification, His disciples were scattered like quail, Matthew 26:55-57. And, Mark 14:48-50.
Even though Jesus had made it clear that he would be killed and after three days rise again, Mark 8:31-32. But, it seems that none of His disciples believed it. After Jesus was killed, they were devastated.
HOWEVER, after the disciples saw the risen Messiah, a change took place. A description from the book: Evidence that Demands a Verdict, relates well the changes in the disciples.
"On the day of the crucifixion they were filled with sadness; on the first day of the week with gladness. At the crucifixion they were hopeless; on the first day of the week, their hearts glowed with certainty and hope. When the message of the resurrection first came, they were incredulous and hard to be convinced, but once they became assured, they never doubted again. What could account for the astonishing change in these men in so short a time?"
"The mere removal of the body from the grave could never have transformed their spirits, and characters. Three days are not enough for a legend to spring up which would so effect them. Time is needed for a process of legendary growth. It is a psychological fact that demands a full explanation."
"Think of the character of the witnesses, men and women who gave the world the highest ethical teaching it has ever known, and who even on the testimony of their enemies, lived it out in their lives. Think of the psychological absurdity of picturing a little band of defeated cowards cowering in an upper room one day, and a few days later, they were transformed into a company that no persecution could silence, and them attempting to attribute this dramatic change to nothing more convincing than a miserable fabrication they were trying to foist upon the world. That simply wouldn't make sense."
While many throughout history have died "for a lie." Those that would die for exposing their own lie, would probably fall to those who were considered mentally ill. The fact of the matter is that after the resurrection of Christ, the Gospel of Christ spread like wildfire; driven by the eyewitnesses that seen the resurrected Savior.
While reliable sources of how the apostles of Jesus died have for the most part have not come to light, accepted traditions tell the following:
They died away from their "homes" while spreading the Gospel of Christ, something they couldn't help spread in spite of the fact that such a message did not bring them fame and fortune, it brought them persecution.
The Prophet, Isaiah, lived and wrote 800 years before Christ and prior to 1947, the oldest existing copy of Isaiah's writings were pages dated to the 10th century A.D.
But, this all changed in 1947, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. One of the oldest scrolls found was the Great Scroll of Isaiah carbon-dated to 125 BCE.
Nowadays, you can go on-line and examine the document for yourself.
Click on the Scroll and check it out.
Isaiah's prophecies about the coming Messiah
Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53:1-12, with "hover-over" Comments
Behold, My Servant He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men; so shall He sprinkle many nations kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors and He bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
The scribes and pharisees also had to know about this prophecy from Isaiah. It spells out clearly that the Anointed One would suffer, and why.
Near the time of Jesus' birth, even the wicked King Herod, figured that the "King of the Jews" had been born. He attempted to defraud the "Wise Men" to show him where the Messiah was, so he could kill Him. This fact surely didn't escape the notice of the Jewish religious leaders.
Why didn't they recognize and accept Jesus? Probably for many reasons but I think the most prevalent ones were that:
It was just unthinkable, and still is, that their Messiah, would, or could, come and be the "Lamb of God" and "Suffering Servant," who came to take away the sin of the world.
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Who is Jesus to you?
For all eternity, I will praise His wonderful name.
Oh, I think that all these "supposed prophecies"
were written after Jesus was long gone.
Nice try, but in the late 2nd century B.C. The Hebrew scriptures which contained the prophecies were translated from Hebrew to Greek called the Septuagint.
Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls which have been dated to the 2nd century B.C (at the earliest) contain the prophecies about Jesus.
Click "expand" to see 29 more specific prophecies about Jesus
Concerning Jesus, there are only really three possibilities:
(Just in case you missed it on the previous page)
Does God require love? Probably more that He desires love and fellowship, more than He requires it, and why not? Doesn't the Creator of universe and our very lives, deserve our appreciation and gratitude, the credit for what He has done?
Through Moses, the Law was given to the Children of Israel. While some of the facets of the law seem very harsh, the law served to show God's special people that according to His standards, they were sinners. Since sometime during our lives we have all lied and stolen something, the Ten Commandants still reveal that we are by God's standards, "sinners,"that we have missed the mark. It is interesting that the first commandment is to wholeheartedly love God. Jesus said that the command to love Him and the command to "Love your neighbor as yourself," were the two greatest commandments
Can you imagine what kind of world we would have if mankind could adhere to just these two commandants?
Because people could not keep the Commandments perfectly, God instituted a sacrificial system where the transgressions of the sinner, could be atoned (paid for) by the death of an innocent animal. There was nothing magical about the sacrifice, the sinners sins were actually removed through the sinners trust in God's remedy, and his obedience to follow God's instructions.
God's sacrificial system also was an object lesson for mankind, an important part of God's "progressive revelation." This system looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate mediator, (Jesus) who we could easily identify with, and love.
Jesus, the only Son, completely like and aligned with the Father in every way, except, he came as a man. If you want to get to know Him, read His words in the Gospel accounts. See His compassion, His willingness to communicate and touch those considered to be "unclean and untouchable." See how He is patient with His disciples, even when they denied Him. Read His parables that break down, for us the reality of The Kingdom of God. See his wisdom in answering the religious leaders that were trying to trick Him into an offense. See and understand His restraint to keep from striking back, when he was struck, His beard pulled out, and mocked and spit upon.
When you learn more about Jesus, remembering that He is God in the flesh, a love for Him and His Father, should blossom. Then, when you realize that all the rejection and suffering He experienced, was so He could gain you for eternity, your love swells. It becomes easy to pray to Him, knowing, that He understands how it is to be you and that He really loves you.
There is another angle to this, Genesis says that God created mankind "in His image." This involves so much more than what we look like, a shortlist includes our ability to think, reason, consider, design and build, appreciate, and of course, love. If God would have chosen to make people inferior
to him, how good could that fellowship ever be?
My wife and I have a Pug dog, Lily, who we love and would be upset if anything happened to her. Why? Short of Lily saying that she "loves us," she exhibits many characteristics of love. She is happy to see us, wants to be where we are, she is not satisfied with just lying in bed near us, she needs to be touching us. And, within her ability, she nearly always tries to please us. But in all this, would she, or a house full of perfect Pugs be a suitable replacement for our children?
No, because there is just too much difference between our intellect and abilities and theirs.
Oh, almost forgot! The first most significant verse in the Bible is: John 3:16.
From here, you have a choice.
The door on the left takes you out to the main menu to things that don't relate to faith or religion. The door on the right is kind of the start of a quest, of sorts, to explore the Christian faith and the reasons why many millions have embraced it. You can leave the quest at any time. But, I encourage you to take the door on the right.