Tag Archives: Deity

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of THE God

Another one of our many “in progress” projects is a sermon commentary on the book of Mark.  Each section is broken down into a sermon, complete with introduction, points from the text, application, and invitation.

Starting today, and following each Friday for the foreseeable future, we will be posting a sermon from this collection.  It is ready to preach, so if you think it is worthwhile, preach it! (that’s why it’s being put here).

Sermon 1: The Introduction

Text: Mark 1:1 – The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Introduction

The book of Mark is a biography of Jesus Christ that differs from each of the other Gospel accounts in the Bible (Matthew, Luke, and John) in some significant ways. (1) Its size—Mark is significantly shorter than any of the other accounts. (2) Its speed—Mark pictures Jesus constantly on the move doing the Father’s will, and uses the word euthus (translated “immediately” or “straightway”) over forty times in his short book.  To put this in perspective, this word appears more times in the book of Mark than it does in the rest of the New Testament combined! (3) Its focus on Jesus’ final week—almost 40% of this book is dedicated to Jesus’ passion week. (4) Its starting point—Matthew and Luke both deal with the birth and some of the early life of Jesus; John goes all the way back to creation to show Jesus [the Word] was there; but Mark starts his record with the baptism of Jesus by John.

Mark most likely wrote his account of the gospel to a Roman audience.  He had to interpret certain Aramaic [the spoken language of the Jews] words and phrases so that his readers would understand them (Mark 3:17, 5:41, 7:34, 15:22, 34).  He also used several Latin words instead of their Greek counterparts; and Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire.  “Bushel” (Mark 4:21), “executioner” (Mark 6:27), “tribute” (Mark 12:14), “farthing” (Mark 12:42), “scourged” (Mark 15:15), “Praetorium” (Mark 15:16), “band” (Mark 15:16), “centurion” (Mark 15:39).  The Greek equivalents of each of these words appear elsewhere in the Bible, but God inspired Mark to use the Latin in those places instead, because this was written to a Roman audience.  It is also said that Romans had a penchant for fast-moving reading, and didn’t want to be bogged down with explanations and commentary on a story—Mark definitely fits the bill on that as well.

The book of Mark is controversial among biblical scholars and commentators in two ways: (1) the absence of the last twelve verses of the book in two ancient manuscripts, and (2) the date of its composition.  We will deal with the validity of Mark 16:9-20 when we cover that passage of inspired Scripture.  The date is controversial because some want to make the claim that Mark wrote his first, and that Matthew and Luke simply copied from him and embellished it—in other words, they’re claiming that an apostle of Jesus Christ wasn’t able to tell the story of Jesus’ life without first reading it from someone else and plagiarizing it.  The date of the original composition is truly irrelevant to its truthfulness (except that it obviously must have been written during Mark’s lifetime), but here are some things to consider about it.

  • Mark records the prophecy of the destruction of the temple (Mark 13:1-2), but says nothing about it having been fulfilled, which places the writing of the book prior to AD 70.
  • Biblically speaking, there is no evidence that Mark had any influence with Gentiles until Paul’s first missionary journey—which he abandoned (Acts 12:25, 13:13). Given his retreat to Jerusalem, abandoning the mission to the Gentiles, it would be difficult to believe that Mark’s writings would have been accepted among that same group.
  • It isn’t until at least fifteen years after the conversion of Paul that Mark does any more missionary work (Galatians 2:1, Acts 15, especially verses 33-37). Until that point, he had been in Jerusalem among the Jewish Christians.  This is usually estimated to be around AD 49.
  • It isn’t until AD 60 or afterwards that Mark’s name appears in the Bible in any kind of authoritative way, (a) as a fellow-worker with Peter (1 Peter 5:13) and (b) as a “profitable” minister for Paul (2 Timothy 4:11).

Taking these biblical pieces of evidence into consideration, it would appear the book of Mark was written somewhere between AD 50-65, probably close to the latter half of that timespan.  The book of Matthew, by comparison, was most likely written between AD 40-50; the early Christian writers unanimously stating that his was the first gospel account written.  Mark was not written first.

Mark’s name has always been attached to this book, and no one among the early Christians had any doubt that he was the one who wrote it.  To put it another way, there are no copies of the book of Mark that have another name put in his place as the writer.

The Text (Mark 1:1)

The Beginning

The apostle John starts off his account of the good news of Jesus Christ with the words “In the beginning was the Word.”  Mark uses the same Greek word for “beginning,” but he isn’t speaking of the creation week that starts the whole biblical record.  Mark’s focus is on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, culminating in His victorious death on the cross.  It is when this gospel is believed and obeyed that people can be saved—this is the good news (Mark 16:15-16)!  Mark doesn’t start with “Jesus died,” but with the beginning of Jesus’ work on earth.

It’s also worth noting that Luke uses similar wording to describe his written account of the life of Jesus.  He says in his sequel (the book of Acts) that his gospel account recorded “all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1).  This implies that there was still more to come.  The book of Acts records more of the things that Jesus did and taught—through His servants.  The same idea is apparent in Mark’s use of the word “beginning” as well.  The death of Jesus on the cross was not the end—there was more to come.  That great event still has powerful effects to this day to save souls!

Of the Gospel

The word “gospel” comes from the Greek compound word, euangellion, which is where we get the English word “evangelize.”  It’s made up of two Greek words: eu, which means “good,” and angelia, which means “message” (see 1 John 3:11).

What makes the things contained in the book of Mark “good news”?  The answer to that question can be found by cheating a bit and skipping ahead to see how the book ends.  If you turn to Mark 16:15-16, you’ll see that the “gospel” [good news, same as in 1:1] is to be proclaimed to the whole world.  So, from that, we know that the same subject is under consideration at the end of the book as at the beginning.  But notice what this message has the power to do: he that believes [the gospel] and is baptized [obeying the gospel] shall be saved.  Salvation?  Being able to have all of our sins removed?  That certainly is good news!  Of course, the opposite is also true: he that does not believe [the gospel] shall be damned.

Mark introduces the book with “the beginning of the gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ,” and ends with the gospel being proclaimed to bring about salvation.  So we have seen what the good news does, and why it’s good news.  It’s the information between the beginning and the end of this book that shows what the good news actually is.

The apostle Paul described the gospel as that “which I preached…, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I have preached [that is, the gospel] to you” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).  He then states that the what he preached [the gospel] was “that Christ died for our sins…and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day,” and that His resurrection is proof that we will be resurrected as well (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 12-28, 51-58).  Is it any wonder, then, that Mark spends close to forty percent of his book describing the events surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?

Some people have a hard time with the idea of “obeying the gospel,” because they see the gospel as a series of events, and not as any kind of command.  But God’s inspired writers said that vengeance will come on those who “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  Thankfully, we are not left in the dark as to what it means to obey the gospel—to somehow obey the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:2-5).

The gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf; it is the good news about salvation that comes through Him; it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we obey when we are baptized into Christ.

Of Jesus

The phrase “of Jesus” is in the genitive case in Greek, which means that this is the good news that belongs to Jesus Christ.  It is His gospel; He lived it; He revealed it; and He confirmed it.

“Jesus” is the name that was given to the baby born to Mary after she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25).  It is common to hear people say that “Jesus was at the beginning of creation” and that “Jesus created everything.”  While those statements express truth, the wording could use some fixing up, because He did not have the name “Jesus” until He was born as a human.  The name “Jesus” expresses His humanity.  Prior to His incarnation [coming to earth as a human], He was known as “the Word” (John 1:1), as “Jehovah” (Isaiah 6, compared with John 12:36-41), and as “the Angel of Jehovah” (Exodus 3:1-6, see whose appearance caused the ground to be holy).  But He was not known as “Jesus” until Matthew 1:25.

The name “Jesus” is the same as “Joshua” in the Old Testament.  “Jesus” is from the Greek, “Joshua” is from the Hebrew.  In fact, there are several Bible translations online and in print that use “Yeshua” (the Hebrew form of the name) instead of “Jesus.”  The name itself means “Jehovah is salvation.”  No other name captures the essence of who Jesus is and what His life and death means to the entire world.  It is the perfect name for the Son of God!

Even after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, He is still called “Jesus,” showing that He retains His humanity, even after taking His place at the right hand of the Father.

Christ

The words “Jesus Christ” appear together so frequently in the Bible that a lot of people mistakenly think that “Christ” is part of Jesus’ name.  It is not.  The word “Christ” is a title, and it means “anointed one.”  In the Old Testament, anointing was done to “consecrate,” “sanctify,” and turn men into God’s “minister[s]”—that is, to make someone a priest (Exodus 28:41).  Prophets were also anointed to the position as spokesmen for God (1 Kings 19:16).  And we must not forget also that kings were anointed to make their selection official (1 Samuel 10:1, 16:13; 1 Kings 19:16).  Jesus of Nazareth was given the title “the anointed one” because He is all three: prophet, priest, and king (Acts 3:20-22; Hebrews 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:15).

The Hebrew word “Messiah” (Daniel 9:25-26) is translated “anointed” everywhere in the Old Testament except for the prophecy of Daniel.  In that passage, it is given as a title—the one that the Jews had been waiting for would be known as “the Messiah” or “the Anointed One.”  So when Peter announces by inspiration that Jesus is “the Christ” (Matthew 16:16), he proclaims that Jesus is the “Messiah” or “the Anointed One.”

It’s also interesting to look at Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost and notice that he’s discussing the “Christ” of prophecy, and showing how “Jesus” fits those prophecies.  We tend to think “Jesus” and “Christ” are interchangeable terms when they’re not.  Peter starts his sermon by proclaiming the murder and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by miracles.  He states that David prophesied this event, and then says “he…spoke of the resurrection of Christ [the Anointed One]” (Acts 2:31).  Then he points out, “This Jesus, God has raised up, we are all witnesses of it” (Acts 2:32).  The conclusion of his sermon is that the Messiah and Jesus are one and the same: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).  Most of the people there believed in Christ, believed in the Messiah, or the Anointed One, but they didn’t know that Jesus was Him!

Son

A thousand years or so before Jesus was born, a king in a relatively tiny country along the Mediterranean Sea wrote these words:

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Jehovah, and against His Anointed [Hebrew Messiah], saying “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”  He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure, “Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”  I will declare the decree: “Jehovah has said to me, ‘Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen [Hebrew Gentiles] for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.  You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”  Therefore now be wise, O you kings: be instructed you judges of the earth.  Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him (Psalm 2:2-12).

The Old Testament prophesied that the Anointed One would be called “the Son” of Jehovah.  From the very beginning of Mark’s gospel account, he makes that point clear: Jesus Christ [the Anointed One] is the Son of God.

There are some religious groups who maintain that since Jesus is the Son of God, He cannot also be God.  What they seem to miss (some of them intentionally) is that this phrase is referring to the nature of Jesus the Christ.  Jesus frequently refers to Himself as “the Son of man,” but not a one of these groups would dare use their same argument and say that Jesus cannot be human because He was the Son of man (the Greek word means “human”).  The son of a human is human—that is his nature.  Jesus, being the Son of God, is therefore God—that is His nature.

The Son is the heir to all that belongs to the Father.  In the passage quoted from Psalms, the Gentiles are offered as an inheritance to the Son.  When we come to Jesus Christ, obeying His gospel, we become fellow heirs with Him (Romans 8:16-17).  He inherits all things that belongs to the Father, and He is willing to share it with us!

Of the God

Most English translations simply say “the Son of God” at the end of the verse, but the Greek says “Son of the God.”  This is a very important point, especially when you realize that Mark was writing to a Roman audience.  The Romans, like the Greeks, had a plethora of gods that they worshiped.  The legends that sprang up around these mythical deities included having children with humans.  For example, Hercules was the son of Zeus [Jupiter] in these legends; and he was not the only one.  The Romans would have been very familiar with the idea of someone being as son of one of the gods, or the son of a god.  But with the insertion of the word “the,” Mark immediately got his reader’s attention.  With just this one word, he denied the entire worship system of the Roman culture.  With just this one word, Mark said, “All the Roman and Greek gods are fake.”  With this one word, Mark said, “There is only one God.”  This would have grabbed his readers’ attention immediately.

Mark’s gospel account was probably written as an evangelistic tool.  Written to people who believed in many sons of many gods, Mark tells them “Let me tell you about the good news of the one Son of the real God, and why it’s important.”

Application

The Gospel is still good news!

For far too long, most Christians have been afraid to spread the “gospel” because they seem to view it as some theological concept that they would have to explain and defend.  Instead, we need to recognize that “gospel” simply means “good news”!  It’s not hard to spread good news to people—especially to friends and family, but even to strangers.  Do you view what Jesus did for you as good news?  Then share it as good news!  Tell people “I’ve been saved from my sins and it is so wonderful!”  It’s important that we remember that salvation through Jesus Christ really is good news.

The focus of the Gospel is Jesus the Christ!

The good news about salvation is that Jesus Christ—God in the flesh—came to this earth as a King, but lived as a servant; that He overcame temptation; that He lived His entire life without sinning even once; that His apparent defeat in being crucified was actually His triumphant victory over Satan; that though He was buried, He was raised up on the third day to live forevermore.  The good news is about what Jesus did.  Sometimes we focus so much on what our response should be (obeying the gospel) that we forget to focus on why it matters in the first place.  Never forget that the gospel is first and foremost about Jesus Christ and what He accomplished.

The good news of Jesus Christ requires a response!

While Jesus Christ is the focus of the Gospel, He has also given us the opportunity to join with Him in His victory.  It is good news for us as well!  But it requires a response.  Jesus told His disciples that the good news was to be spread to the whole world.  The ones who believed the good news and were baptized would be saved.  But the ones who refused to believe the good news would be damned.  Those are the two choices that Jesus gave—there is no third option.  You either believe the good news, and therefore obey it, or you don’t believe the good news.

Invitation

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as written by Mark, was designed to show that the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is truly good news.  It is only through the gospel that there is salvation (Mark 16:15-16, Romans 1:16).  But in order for the good news of Jesus Christ to do you any good, you have to believe it.  In fact, before Jesus told His apostles to preach the gospel, He severely criticized them because they hadn’t believed the gospel when it was proclaimed to them (Mark 16:14).  But believing it isn’t enough, you must also act on it.  You must let the good news of Jesus Christ change the way you live—that is, you must repent of your sins.  You must acknowledge that you truly agree that the gospel is good news—that is, confess that you believe the good news of Jesus Christ.  And you must also obey the gospel of Jesus Christ—that is, you must be baptized.

The gospel is truly good news to those who will obey it.  Won’t you?

-Bradley S. Cobb

The Divinity of Jesus Christ

The newest book in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary is by Edward Scribner Ames, and was originally published in 1911.  It is a series of sermons all about Jesus Christ.

Special thanks goes to Stephen Scaggs who volunteered to proofread this one and took the time to find each Bible quotation and list the verse references (which are now included as footnotes).  Originally, the references weren’t given.

The sermons are as follows:

  1. The Divinity of Christ
  2. The Empirical View of Jesus
  3. Why I am Not a Unitarian
  4. The Friendship of Jesus
  5. The Reincarnation of Jesus
  6. Two or Three and Christ

As always, just click the link below to read this book online, or right-click it to download to your computer for later use.

The Divinity of Christ (Edward Scribner Ames)

Thank you!

Bible Q&A – Is Jesus Deity?

This week’s Bible Q&A is the last in the series of letters to “Agnostic Agnes.”  The final assignment was, “You’ve convinced Agnes that God exists, and that the Bible is inspired.  Now answer the question, ‘Is Jesus deity?'”

This letter may make you chuckle along the way, but hopefully it will show that you can answer the question from the Bible.  Enjoy!

Dear Aunt Agnes,

How are things going up there on the farm? I heard that the rain washed out the road to your house and you were stuck there with Uncle Bubba for a whole week. I hope you have recovered from that ordeal. I am proud that you went out and got Junior a job at the chicken houses. At least now, he will have a reason to smell.

Grandpa told me you had some of them “Jehovah’s Witnesses” come to your door a couple days ago. He said they were planning on coming back this weekend. Because of that, I decided to send this in an email so you would have it faster. I know they were telling you that Jesus is not really God or a part of God, but that He was just the first angel that was created. That simply is not true, and I’ll try to explain how you can know that Jesus is not a created angel, but that He truly is and was God.

I guess first, we should start off with a more general question: Did Jesus even exist? There are many people (especially atheists) who say that Jesus is a myth and that He never even came to earth. Jesus did exist, and it is not just stated in the Bible. There are other historical sources that prove that Jesus actually existed. Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian that worked for the Roman Empire around 40-60 years after Jesus died. He wrote a book called “Antiquities of the Jews” in which he spoke of Jesus, called Him the Christ, mentioned His crucifixion, and even mentioned the “tribe of Christians” that still existed to that day, which were named for Him.

There was another man who, while he was in jail, wrote a letter to his son which asked what good came of the Jews executing their wise king. He then said that the Jewish nation was abolished, but the wise king did not die permanently, because his teaching lived on. This was a reference to Jesus, and was written in AD 73, just 40 or so years after Jesus died. This letter is currently on display at the British Museum.

There are several tombs around Jerusalem that have inscribed on them “remember me, Jesus, in the resurrection.” These tombs are from AD 30-60. These people obviously knew Jesus existed, for they were alive at the same time He was. Even people who were against Christianity wrote of Jesus as being a real person. Another historian, named Cornelius Tacitus, wrote in AD 115-117 that “Christos suffered the extreme punishment by Pontius Pilate, and now the followers have spread their lies in Judea and Rome.” Christos is Jesus Christ, and as you can see from the quote, this guy didn’t like Jesus or the Christians. But notice that He admitted that Jesus did exist.

More examples could be given, but I think this is enough for now to show you that Jesus really did exist.

The Bible states pretty clearly that Jesus is God. First, have you ever noticed that it calls Jesus the “Son of God” quite a bit? That shows that Jesus is God. That might sound confusing, but let me explain. Junior is the son of a Berthwait, right? Because of that, he is a Berthwait also, right? He has the qualities of a Berthwait. Just look at his nose and his stomach. There is no mistaking tat Junior is a Berthwait.

The same is true of Jesus. Since He is the Son of God, you would expect Him to have the characteristics of God. What does the Bible say?

God is eternal. The name Jehovah means “the always existing one.” He told Moses that His name was “I AM.” That is in Exodus 3:14, by the way. Well, is Jesus eternal? He said that “before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus called Himself the always existing one. That was John 8:58. Since Jesus is always existing, He is God.

God is the creator of all things. The first verse of the Bible starts off “In the beginning God created…” John 1:1 says “in the beginning was the Word,” and in verse 3, “all things were created by Him (the Word), and without Him (the Word) was not anything made that was made.” If God made everything, who is “the Word”? In John 1:14, it says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” So, we can see that the Word was the only begotten of the Father. That means He was God’s own Son, Jesus. So, if Jesus created all things and nothing was created without Him (as it said in John 1:3), Jesus must be God. Genesis 1:1 said God created everything. You might ask the “Jehovah’s Witness” that comes this weekend to explain to you how Jesus could create everything that was ever created if He was created. That would mean that somehow Jesus created Himself, which is impossible. Colossians 1:16 says that by Jesus “all things” were created in heaven or on earth. Since Jesus created everything, He is God.

God is the only one that can forgive sins. I John 1:9 says if Christians confess our sins, God will forgive us of them. Jesus said that while He was on earth, He had the power to forgive people of their sins. Matthew 9:2 and Luke 7:48 show two different time Jesus forgave people of their sins. Since Jesus could forgive sins while He was on earth, He is God.

God alone is worthy of worship. Even Jesus said that “you shall worship the Lord they God, and Him only shall you serve.” The apostles refused to accept worship, and even angels refuse to accept worship. But Jesus accepted it. He was worshipped at many different times, and said nothing against it, but accepted it. Jesus healed a man and later that man worshipped Him (John 9:35-38). The apostles worshipped Him. Since Jesus accepted worship, He is God.

Now understand, it is easy for someone to claim to be eternal, or be the creator, or to be able to forgive sins, but it is an entirely different thing to prove it. In the Bible, people sent from God always were able to back up their words with miracles. The purpose of miracles was to confirm that the message and the messenger were from God. When Moses was told to go speak to the Israelites and tell them that he was leading them out of Egypt, he asked God “what if they don’t believe me?” God gave him three miracles to perform to prove what he said. These are shown in Exodus 4:1-9.

In Mark 16:17-20, the apostles were sent out to spread the gospel, with miracles to confirm the words they were teaching. When someone was able to work genuine miracles, it showed that God approved of their message. The apostles were able to work these miracles, showing that their message was from God. But the words they spoke were Christ’s words, showing that God approved of them teaching about Jesus Christ.

When Jesus said He had power on earth to forgive sins, some people questioned Him and even accused Him of blasphemy. In order to prove that He had the power on earth to forgive sins, He healed the man that He had forgiven. This man had been bedridden for years, but Jesus made him completely healed and the man got up and walked away with his cot. Jesus performed miracles to prove what He said. He proved He was able to forgive sins, so He proved He was God.

Since miracles show God’s approval of the message and the messenger, Jesus’ miracles confirm the things He taught. It shows that Jesus really was eternal, and therefore He was God. It shows that Jesus really could forgive sins, therefore He was God.

There are clear statements from the inspired writers of the Bible that show Jesus is God. John clearly stated that Jesus is God. He said in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I know that the “Jehovah’s Witness” told you that it means “the Word was a god,” but that is not true. The original language there literally says “and God was the Word.”

Colossians 2:9 says that in Jesus dwelt all of the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That means Jesus was God in human form. I Timothy 3:16 says that God was manifest (that means clearly seen) in the flesh. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus was the image of the invisible God.

In Acts 20:28, Paul tells the elders of the church at Ephesus to “take heed to the church of God…which He purchased with His own blood.” When did God buy something with His own blood? I Peter 1:18-19 says Christians are redeemed (bought back) with the precious blood of Christ. This also shows that Jesus is God.

Paul calls Jesus “our glorious God” in Titus 2:13. He calls God our savior in Titus 1:3, and in the next verse, He calls Christ our savior, showing that they are one and the same. Hebrews 1:8 shows God saying to Jesus “thy throne, o God…” So God calls Jesus “God.”

I think that should give you enough information for now to show that Jesus really is God. But while we’re on the topic of Jesus, there’s one more thing I think I ought to discuss before I let you go.

Some people, realizing that they can’t argue with the evidence of Jesus’ existence, have tried to say that Jesus never really died on the cross, or if He did, He never was raised from the dead. Neither one of those statements are true.

First, just look at all the people in the Bible who confirmed that Jesus died on the cross. All four gospel writers state that He died (specifically, that He “gave up the ghost”). The soldiers who were in charge of the crucifixion confirmed that Jesus was dead (John 19:32-33). Pilate was told Jesus was dead, but made sure for himself by sending for the Centurion in charge (Mark 15:44-45). After He was dead, even the Pharisees (Jesus’ enemies) confirmed He was dead (Matthew 27:63). Therefore, there is no way that He could have just fainted on the cross.

There is no doubt, going by the Bible, that Jesus was indeed dead. He was buried in a tomb, and the tomb was sealed. The Sunday after He died, the tomb was found empty. The burial cloths were still there, including the face cloth folded by itself. This shows that no grave robber could have taken the body, because they would not have unwrapped the body and then taken it. If the disciples had stolen the body, they would have taken it as is, and the burial cloths would not be left there.

There were many witnesses that saw Jesus after He was risen from the dead. Mary Magdalene saw Him first (Mark 16:9). Afterwards, Peter saw Him (I Corinthians 15:4-5). He was seen by the apostles on multiple occasions (John 20). He was seen by Paul (Acts 9:1-7). He was even seen by around 500 disciples at the same time, most of which were still alive when Paul pointed this fact out (I Corinthians 15:6).

This is evidenced by the change that happened in the life of the apostles after the resurrection. Before Jesus died, the apostles abandoned Him because they feared for their own lives. After the resurrection, they spoke boldly in the face of the same Jewish leaders who had Jesus put to death. Before the resurrection, the disciples met in secret (John 20:19), afterwards, they boldly proclaimed Jesus in the temple in front of thousands (Acts 2). The fact that their lives changed so dramatically shows that the resurrection was true. If the resurrection was a lie, they would not have been willing to take all the constant persecution and possible death that came with being a Christian. Paul even said that if the resurrection was fake, all of his hope was worthless (I Corinthians 15:13-14).

If the resurrection is not a fact, the entire Bible is unreliable. If the resurrection is not a fact, the Bible is a lie. That would mean we have no hope of heaven, we have no right to pray to God to ask for help, and we have no purpose in this world but to live and die. But since the Bible is inspired, we can trust what it says. Jesus was resurrected, and we have our hope!

Throughout the New Testament, evidence is seen of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. That’s what baptism pictures. Paul said in Romans 6:3-4 that we are baptized into His death (therefore He died), and we are raised with Him (therefore He was risen from the dead) to walk in newness of life.

Well, Aunt Agnes, I didn’t mean to write such a long email, but I hope this is helpful. If you need anything else, just let me know. Our teacher has given us a lot of good material on these things, and if you want I can copy them off for you and mail them your way. Tell Uncle Bubba I’m sending them postage due like he did with my birthday card last year. Grandpa still cracks up when he thinks about it.

Brad

Bible Q&A – Was Jesus Created?

Some people came to my door and said that since Jesus is the “Son of God,” that means He can’t be God. They said that Jesus was the first being created by God. Was Jesus created?—F.F., Arkansas.

Thank you for the question. What you described sounds like a group who call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” But before we answer the question, something must be made extremely clear:

Right and wrong is determined by what the Bible says. Just because a certain religious group teaches something doesn’t automatically mean it’s right, but it also doesn’t automatically mean it’s wrong, either.

Let’s start with your question, Was Jesus created? Then we’ll move on to the issue about the “Son of God.”

In Micah 5:2, there is a prophecy about Jesus being born in Bethlehem (fulfilled in Matthew 2:5-6). But that’s not the only thing in that verse. Jesus is also described as the one “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” According to this Old Testament passage, the Messiah (the Christ) would be one who has existed “from everlasting,” that is, forever. If someone is from everlasting, that means He couldn’t have been created.

But let’s go further and look at how ridiculous this claim of a “created Jesus” is. The Bible makes it crystal-clear that everything that was created was created by Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3). The Scriptures say that there is nothing created except for that which was created by Jesus. Now, taking this crystal-clear Bible knowledge with us, let’s use some common sense. The only way—according to the Bible—that Jesus was created is if Jesus created Himself out of thin air before He existed.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was not created. He is eternal, and is the one who created everything—no exceptions!

But let’s also take a look at the “Son of God” argument.

One of the ways the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” try to bring up the topic of Jesus is by saying that He’s the Son of God, and then make the comment, “Isn’t that interesting that he’s called the Son of God.” When you ask, “What do you mean?” they start saying that since Jesus is the Son of God, that means Jesus can’t be God.

The same Bible says that Jesus is the “son of man.” According to the Jehovah’s Witness argument, that would mean that Jesus can’t be man, either, since he’s the son of man. If we take their argument to its logical conclusion, Jesus isn’t deity, and was never human either. Both of those stances violate several Scriptures.

The son of a human is a human—by his very nature. The Son of God, therefore, is God—by His very nature.

Jesus Christ is deity (by His very nature), and Jesus is also human (by being the Son of man). He is eternal. Jesus was not created. He is the one who created everything.

-Bradley Cobb