Chances Are… Jesus is More Than Just a Historical Figure
Posted by RZIM Canada on April 15, 2017
It’s quite inevitable and interesting that in the time leading up to Easter, magazines and media outlets look for ways to leverage the life of a Jewish man who roamed the remote region of Palestine early in the first century. After almost two millennia, people are still asking the question, “Who is Jesus of Nazareth?” Why? The answer to that question has tremendous implications for all humanity.
Jesus made claims that no other person has ever made. He came with a purpose no one has ever had. Of course, none of those add up to much had Jesus not backed them up in a way no other person ever could. Maybe that’s why he is the most studied, scrutinized, and followed person in history.
Whether you follow him or reject him, Jesus stands alone as one who claimed to be God. He offered forgiveness that only God could give. He dramatically healed people and even raised some from the dead. He taught in a way that demonstrated there was an other-worldly quality about him. More than that, he died as it was prophesied he would. Still more miraculously, he was raised from the dead as he said he would be—putting God’s imprimatur on his claims.
But, not everyone buys it. Some consider Jesus to be a myth fabricated to appease the masses—a person who embodied the desires of the desperate. To them, the historical and testimonial evidence is meaningless. For others, the person of Jesus is just too intrusive on their personal lives, freedoms, and goals and therefore even if there is a hint of truth—the truth is better kept at arm’s length. In doing so they sadly keep at a distance the Truth that can set them free
The truth is, as outlandish as the story comes across, the world badly needs God and only God could come to satisfy that need. So, in love, God became human, rubbed shoulders with humans, had compassion on humans, and suffered at the hands of humans. God, through Jesus, did it all—to redeem us, to heal us, and to offer us the gift of eternal life. Sounds out of this world, doesn’t it? If it wasn’t supernatural and outrageous, anyone could do it—God would not have to be behind it.
Jesus had to be a real person in order to affect the lives of real people. The physical life of Jesus actually brings us hope. Theologian Dominic Crossan says, “The power of Jesus’ historical life challenges his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God. And if one, why not others? If some, why not all?”
Jesus came to show fallen, fragile human beings the way to God. Only God can show us the way to God.
So, if Jesus was not who he claimed to be—the Son of God—then he can fittingly be shelved with the rest of history’s devious yet charming characters who lured people into a lie. However, if Jesus really is who he claimed to be, then every person on earth is faced with an enormous decision: “Do I believe and trust this Jesus or do I cast him aside as a fraud and relegate his story to the annals of legend?” The answer makes all the difference.
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