So, this is a rather broad topic.
Today Mom, Macaela, Jay (our awesome exchange student from Kuwait) and I went to see the new film, "Son of God." As I expected, it was wonderful. Just like all movies, of course the Book is better. But I am so grateful for this production that strives to portray Jesus as what He was and is: the powerful, loving, holy, merciful Son of God.
I'm still processing the movie, as I knew I would. It's incredibly hard to watch my Savior go through the things that made Him my Savior. It's hard because it's true. But then again, so many people don't believe that it really is true. So I decided to write about Jesus tonight, because He's my everything.
Historical scholars hardly question the existence and foundational events in the life of Jesus. Josephus, a renowned Jewish historian who disapproved of Christianity, wrote in the first century of James, calling him the "brother of Jesus the so-called Christ." The Babylonian Talmud, written between A.D. 70-200, writes, "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [Jesus] was hanged [synonym for crucified, also used in the Bible]. For forty days before the
execution took place, a herald . . . cried, 'He is going forth to be
stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.'" Tacitus, an anti-Christian Roman senator and historian, wrote around
100 A.D., "Nero inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated
from their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus,
from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty at the
hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus..." From these non-Christian sources, and more, we are given a historically accepted picture of Jesus as an unusual teacher who was certainly killed by the Romans (even with the procurator's name!).
In addition to these sources, the New Testament's four separate accounts are all considered by scholastic standards to be the most historically accurate documents in history. They each portray a surprising, miracle-working, prophecy-fulfilling Jesus who was killed and who rose from the dead.
The question is not whether Jesus lived or died; historians are fairly certain on these answers. Whether He rose from the dead remains the most important question of all time. The disciples, immediately after the resurrection, began spreading the word of Jesus' being raised from the dead in the exact same city where it had occurred. The Pharisees, ultimate enemies of Jesus who brought about His death, knew the location of His tomb because one of their own (Nicodemus) had assisted in His burial. They could have produced the body to settle the issue, but they didn't. This leaves me with only a few options of what could have happened to the historically killed Jesus:
Some say He wasn't actually dead - I find it completely nonsensical to suggest that a man who was beaten and hung on a cross and was stabbed in the side and buried by friends who would have wished Him to be alive was actually not. And that He somehow managed the strength to roll away the stone and fight away the Roman guard after three days in a tomb. Furthermore, the enemies of Jesus never suggested that He hadn't died and simply escaped they told the people that the disciples must have stolen the body. But I cannot accept this claim either when I consider the action taken by the disciples. They all literally staked, and lost, their lives on the claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. No group of people dies for something that they claim to have seen with their own eyes unless they are completely convinced of it. People have died for lies they believed in, but the disciples all claimed to be eye-witnesses. What was in it for them if they knew it was a lie? Nothing. And yet they were willing to lose everything for it. The gospel records are full of accounts that no one would make up if they were trying to fabricate a religion, such as Mary Magdalene being the first and primary eye-witness to the resurrected Jesus. In those days, a woman's testimony was given no legal credibility, so it makes no sense that the disciples would intentionally write this, along with many other examples. The only way to make sense of the gospel testimonies, the disciples changed lives, and the non-Christian historical accounts is with the actual Resurrection of Jesus.
Each of us must make a decision about who Jesus really was. Must. After looking at someone who claimed to be the Son of God and has seemed to do incredible things to prove it, we simply cannot leave Him in an "undecided" category in our mind. Considering that was called the Christ (by Christian and non-Christian sources), to now call Him simply a "good teacher" or "good man" is not enough. As C.S. Lewis said, "Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or
something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and
kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and
God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a
great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend
According to rational analysis, the most logical conclusion for me is that He was who He claimed to be. And after I came to that conclusion, my life changed. I have died, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. I cannot go back on my faith because I am not the same person. Sin has no dominion over me, and there is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus.
Decide. There is no more urgent question.