Was Christ A Mere Prophet Or God? Excellent Book On Subject.
Extract taken from "Questions Of Life" by Nicky Gumble.
Was Christ Simply A Prophet Or God?
A missionary working among children in the Middle East was driving her jeep down a road when she ran out of gas. She had no gas can in her car. All she could find was a potty chair. She walked a mile down the road to the nearest gas station to fill up the pot with gas. As she was pouring the gas into the tank of her jeep, a large Cadillac occupied by wealthy oil sheiks pulled up. They were absoloutly fascinated by seeing her pour the contents of the pot into the Jeep. One of them opened the window and said, "My friend and I, although we do not share your religion, we greatly admire your faith!"
I am told that in a Communist Russian dictionary Jesus is described as a "mythical figure who never existed." No serious historian could maintain that position today. There is a great deal of evidence for Jesus existence. This comes not only from the Gospels and other Christian writings, but also from non-Christian sources. For example, the Roman historian Tacitus (directly) and Suetonius (indirectly) both write about Him. The Jewish historian Josephus, born in 37A.D also writes of him.
The more texts we have, the less doubt there is about the original.
WORK WHEN WRITTEN EARLIEST COPIES TIME SPAN (YRS) No OF COPIES
Herodotus 488-428BC 900A.D 1,300 8
Thucycidides 460-400BC 900A.D 1,300 8
Tacitus 100A.D 1100A.D 1000 20
Caesars Gallic War 58-50B.C 900A.D 950 9-10
Livy's Roman History 59B.C-17A.D 900A.D 900 20
New Testament 40-100A.D 130A.D 300 5000+Greek
(Full manuscripts 350A.D) 10,000 Latin
Some people say, "Jesus never claimed to be God." Indeed, it is true that Jesus did not go around saying the words, "I am God." Yet when one looks at all He taught and claimed, there is little doubt that He was conscious of being a man who's identity was God.
Authority to forgive sins: On one occasion He said to a man who was paralyzed, "Son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5) Only God can forgive sins.
Judge of the world: Christ claimed that one day he would judge the world (Matthew 25:31-32). He said He would return and sit on his thrown in heavenly glory. All the nations would be gathered before Him. He would pass judgment on them. If your Pastor claimed this you'd laugh. Clearly he is no mere man.
When the question was put to him..."are you the Christ, the son of the blessed one?" Jesus said, "I am...and you will see the Son Of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
The Jews started to stone Jesus...when he asked them why they replied..."because you, a mere man, claim to be God" (John 10:33)
When Thomas, one of His disciples, knelt down before Jesus and said, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28), Jesus didn't turn to him and say, "No, no, dont say that; I am not God." He said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). He rebuked Thomas for being so slow to get the point.
So how can we test peoples claims? Jesus claimed to be the unique Son Of God; made flesh. There are 3 logical possibilities. If the claims were untrue, either He knew they were untrue, in which case he was an imposter, and an evil one at that. That is the first possibility. Or He did not know, in which case He was deluded; indeed, He was mad. That is the second possibility. The third possibility is that the claims were true.
C.S Lewis put it like this:
""A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg, or else He Would be the Devil of Hell. You must make you're choice. Either this man was,and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse...but let us not come up with any patronizing nonesense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to"".
Wilbur Smith, the great American writer on theological topics, said:
""The ancient world had many different devices for determining the future, known as divination, but not in the entire gamut of Greek and Latin literature, even though they used the words prophet and prophecy, can we find any real specific prophecy of a great historic event to come in the distant future, nor any prophecy of a saviour to arrive in the human race...Mohammedanism cannot point to any prophecies of the coming of Mohammed uttered hundreds of years before his birth. Neither can the founders of any cult in this country rightly identify any ancient text specifically fortelling their appearence"".
Yet in the case of Jesus he fulfilled over 300 prophecies (spoken by different voices over 500 years), including 29 major prophecies fulfilled in a single day-the day He died. His death was told in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53), and also the place of His burial and even the place of his birth (Micah 5:2).
His appearences to the disciples. Were these hallucinations? Burly fisherman, tax collecters and skeptics like Thomas are unlikely to hallucinate. Jesus appeared to His disciples on 11 different occassions over a period of 6 weeks. Furthermore, over 500 people saw the risen Jesus. Jesus could be touched, He ate a peice of broiled fish (Luke 24:42, 43) and on one occasion He cooked breakfast for the disciples (John 21:1-14). Peter says, "[They] ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead" (Acts 10:41). He held long conversations with them, teaching them many things about the Kingdom Of God (Acts 1:3).
C.S Lewis sums it up like this:
""We are faced then with a frightening alternative. The man we are talking about was (and is) just what he said he was or else a lunatic or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that he was neither a lunatic nor a fiend; and consequently, however strange and terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that he was and is God. God has landed on this enemy occupied world in human form.""
Questions Of Life. Nicky Gumble.
JUST A NOTE. I HAVE OMMITTED ALOT FOR BREVITY. T.B
SORRY, ONE OF THE TABLES GOT MIXED UP IN THE PASTING.
IT SHOULD READ...Work, When Written, Earliest Copies, Time Span (yrs), No Of Copies
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