When people don’t understand the what’s, when’s, where’s, who’s, why’s of the Bible, they tend to disregard much of the Scriptures and take only those portions that they do understand, or those they agree with. Basic, doctrinal topics such as hell, separation from God, Satan and angels become equated with fables or myths; or suggested as allegorical or symbolic. These are real issues which far too many Christians either don’t believe or haven’t even heard of, and if Christians are going to claim the Name of Christ as their ‘religion’, it’s about time they get the basics so they can understand the importance of what they claim to follow and why.
To continue the basics, we need to believe that Jesus is Who He says He is, and what others testified of Him is true. The argument isn’t on whether Jesus existed, it’s on who this person Jesus was and is. Some people think he was a good teacher, one of the great prophets, a “godly” man, or a cult leader who for some reason has had a 2000 year following.
Let’s first look at how He came into the world. People who don’t believe in miracles do have a hard time with the virgin birth. Even some of the more liberal Christians seem to come up with more believable scenarios about the Birth of Jesus. The basis for believing in miracles rests on the Biblical concept of God.
Even if you’re not sure if you believe in God, stay with us here- we’ll be getting back to other discussions in a bit. If you believe there may be a God- could you stretch your mind a little to include that there might just be truth to miracles?
The belief in the miraculous birth of Jesus is one of the hardest for many to wrap their minds around- and one of the main things that keep people from accepting the truth of Christianity. It’s events like the virgin birth that lend to that air of superstition surrounding the Christian beliefs that most people think is bogus. Consider though that seven hundred years before His birth- the prophet Isaiah declared, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; behold the virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” Is. 7:14.
The Name Immanuel means “God with us.” All four Gospels in the New Testament record the fulfillment of this prophecy. The Bible declares the virgin birth as a fact of History.
Why not just come into the world the usual way? The Bible tells us in the first verses of the Gospel of John that Jesus existed with God in the beginning, and since He is the eternal Son of God, His birth must be of a divine nature, and this is what the Bible tells us happened. The virgin birth was a divine intervention, and Jesus was born sinless to be a perfect sacrifice for all humanity. Since the world is sinful, the birth of our Savior had to be a miraculous and divine entrance.
Some people may think that the account of the virgin birth came from some other pagan mythology. There is no basis of truth to this theory, as there is no other mythological hero who claims a virgin birth, and in Jewish culture, it would be unthinkable and blasphemous to use pagan or mythological stories for their own purpose. Most mythological deities were told of, and many stories do have unusual births, but for the most part, none of these deities ever existed, and none of these myths have anything to do with Biblical writings.
Respected author C.S. Lewis who was once a devout atheist, had this to say about the virgin birth in his book Mere Christianity, “Thus you will hear people say, “The early Christians believed that the Christ was the son of a virgin, but we know this is a scientific impossibility. Such people seem to have an idea that belief in miracles arose at a period when men were so ignorant of the course of nature that they did not perceive a miracle to be contrary to it. A moment’s thought shows this to be foolish, with the story of the virgin birth as particularly striking example. When Joseph discovered that his fiancée was going to have a baby, he naturally decided to repudiate her. Why? Because he knew just as well as any modern gynecologist that in the ordinary course of nature women do not have babies unless they have lain with men. No doubt the modern gynecologist knows several things about birth and begetting that Joseph did not know. But those things do not concern the main point- that a virgin birth is contrary to the course of nature. And Joseph obviously knew that.”
This may not convince an unbeliever that Jesus is who He said He is, and many may still think that He was just some good teacher that lived somewhere in the middle East a few thousand years ago. Some may think that this account of the virgin birth proves nothing, but wait, there’s more….
As C. S. Lewis pointed out, that anyone who understands the scientific ways of how a baby is conceived and born can have a hard time imagining something such as a virgin birth. However, if you even believe in any one portion of the Bible- whether it be one or all of Jesus’ teachings, any of the prophecies, or any of the historical facts in the Bible, we must, by historical, archaeological and internal manuscript evidence- believe in the miracles contained in Scripture, even if we don’t completely understand the concept of miracles. To believe in God, but not in those parts we don’t understand it’s like putting God in a box and believing there are things He can’t do.
Let’s look at the Old Testament prophecies which tell about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus- all of which were described 4000- 500 years before He was born. Some skeptics try and gloss over the importance of the prophecies, claiming that Jesus and His followers molded His life to fit the prophecies- but that would be impossible, especially with the explicit prophecies of His birth and birth place which state the fact of His earthly ancestral lineage. And to say you believe in scripture yet discount the prophecies, you’re discounting over 25 percent of the whole of Scriptures.
For instance, it was prophesied that Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were living in Nazareth before He was born yet a census made it mandatory that they return to their home town, which was Bethlehem- when Jesus was born. While maybe it is possible for any person to fulfill 1 or 2 prophecies- it is virtually impossible to have all the prophecies fulfilled by one person.
Scientists and mathematicians have worked out the probabilities of fulfilling all the prophecies. If one person fulfilled even just 8 of these prophecies- the probability is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. Now I stink at math, but even I know that those are incredible odds! Imagine what the chances are given that Jesus Christ fulfilled every one of them.
Let’s look at where the future Christ would come from- through lineage, and birthplace. In Genesis 3:15, we find the first prophecy. This verse not only shows that the Messiah (a title I will use for the rest of this post- for Jesus is Messiah described in the Old Testament) will be born “of the seed of a woman“. All humans, as we discussed in the last post are obviously born of seed of men. This verse also describes Messiah undoing the evil deeds of Satan when he shall “bruise His head“.
In Genesis 9 and 10, we have Noah and his three sons- Shem, Japheth and Ham. Today, all the nations in the world can trace their lineage back to these three guys, but the lineage of the Messiah is narrowed down to the lineage of Shem. In Genesis 12, 17 and 22, we are introduced to Abraham- in 2000 BC. God makes the promise of the Messiah through Abraham’s second son, Isaac, who then had 2 sons- Essau and Jacob. God chose Jacob. Jacob went on to have 12 sons- which became the 12 tribes of Israel. God chose the tribe of Judah. Out of the tribe of Judah- which included thousands of people, the line of Jesse was chosen (Isaiah 11:1-5) Jesse had 8 children, and in reading 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and in Jeremiah 23:5 we can see that out of Jesse’s family, God chose the “house of David”.
Now, when we get to David, there is a prophecy in the Psalms, most of which were written by David- which says, “His hands and feet will be pierced” which describes the crucifixion of the Messiah- a method of death that was not even invented yet. When we get to Isaiah, we have the prophesies of the virgin birth, but there are other prophecies in Isaiah which tell of the reception that the Messiah will face in the rejection by the Jews, the belief by the Gentiles, and even describes the voice going before Him as a “voice in the wilderness“, preparing the way for Him- in the person of John the Baptist. Isaiah 8:14, 28:16, 49:6, 50:6, 52:13-15, and 60:3. Psalms 22:7,8 and 118:22. Malachi 3:1
Micah 5:2 tells the Messiah will be born in a tiny, obscure town of Bethlehem.
Verses in Zechariah 11:11-13, Psalm 41 and Jeremiah 32:6-15 give details about the Messiah’s betrayal, that He will be betrayed by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, which will then be thrown onto the Temple floor, that the money would then be used to buy a potter’s field.
So here we have just a few of the Old Testament prophecies describing the birth, birthplace, time, life, circumstances, death and method of death of the Messiah- all of which were fulfilled in the person of Jesus. Jesus is the only person in the history of the world which proved the prophecies to be true in His first coming. He is the only one who can fill the rest of the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments of His second coming.
There is so much more to even just the prophecies, but considering His teachings and life, shows how the Bible is unique- that the Scriptures are in fact Holy Word of a real God, and that God came to this earth in the person Jesus the Christ for a specific reason, to reconcile us back to God.
As we discussed already, many people believe Jesus was just an interesting person in history, or that he was one of God’s prophets, a good teacher, or just some guy who had a way of convincing gullible people to follow him.
There are really only three ways in which Jesus Christ is separate from other religious figures and beliefs: Through His claims to be God (which we will look into later), through His death and through His resurrection.
There are many different religions, and some pagan beliefs that were around long before Christ- and many religions now. Some have huge followings like Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. Others have a large following such as Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormonism, which both claim to be Christian. There are many different denominations even among just the Christian religion, as there are different “sects” of religions such as Islam.
Out of all the leaders, gods or prophets of ancient Egyptian, Greek or Roman mythology or Mohammad, Buddha or Brahman- only One- Jesus the Christ, gave His life for mankind. Others died, but they never offered themselves as a sacrifice for the world. Now, if His story ended at the cross- there would be no such a thing as Christianity today. Why is this? The other event in which separated Jesus from all the rest was His Resurrection.
How can we believe something which supposedly happened nearly 2000 years ago?
Maybe, if some believe in ghosts- He could have just been a ghost. Or maybe He was reincarnated as Himself to live life again- for those who believe in reincarnation. There could be any number of possibilities. How do we know which is the truth?
Well- we can look at scriptures to narrow it down- “Put your finger here: see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Jesus said this to His disciple Thomas after appearing after His death. A chapter later, we see Jesus eating breakfast with His disciples. In just these few verses, we can rule out the ghost theory. Ghosts neither have solid matter in which to “feel” mortal wounds, nor do ghosts eat.
As for reincarnation, before I became a Christian believer, I used to think there was something to that- but there are just too many things which don’t add up. I’ll not go into a whole argument here but even if Jesus was reincarnated- that would be just as unique as He would have been reincarnated into Himself.
So if He wasn’t a ghost and didn’t reincarnate, that leaves the theory that He did in fact rise again- in the flesh. There is much historic, literary and even legal testimonies for the fact of the resurrection and many who have written about the truth of the resurrection actually began writing to refute it- but in studying and examining evidences, they came to no other conclusion except for the truth that the resurrection happened the way it is written about in the Bible.
The death and resurrection of Jesus is also foretold in Old Testament prophecies. Jesus even pointed these prophecies out to His disciples before He was arrested and crucified. Since Christianity would not exist if Jesus had not resurrected- belief in the fact of the resurrection is the most important basis of the whole Christian faith.
The apostle Paul was a Pharisee who hunted down early Christian believers to imprison, beat or kill through capital punishment. After he saw Christ, he became one of the most fervent followers. He wrote, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ was not raised, then our preaching is in vain; your faith also is in vain. Moreover we are even found as false witnesses against God that He raised Christ., whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.”
Faith of the early Christians is based on what they saw. Jesus showed Himself to hundreds of people- in different places, different times. Death by crucifixion was a brutal, painful and cruel death. Jesus’ disciples saw Him die that agonizing death and most, if not all didn’t understand His teachings- telling them He would rise again three days after. It would be hard to see someone die such a death- and believe that you would see them alive again.
Did Jesus really rise from the dead three days after his death? To determine if it is possible to rise from the dead, we need to determine first if He was really dead.
He was scourged, which means He was stripped and whipped with what was known as a flagrum which had a long handle with long leather thongs of different lengths attached. Woven into the ends of these thongs were jagged bits of bone and lead meant to tear the skin with every lash given. Jesus was given at least 40 lashes. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again, across the His shoulders, back and legs. His skin was hanging in torn ribbons, his body covered in blood.
So, Jesus was most likely near death at the end of the scourging He received. After this, a crown of thorns was placed on his head, to mock Him as the “King of the Jews”. I used to get “poked” and scratched by thorns years ago when I’d mow too close to my bougainvillea bush which can be as long as an inch, and very pointy. It hurt like crazy, but I could not imagine having something like this being pushed hard into my scalp. He was forced for a while to carry His own crossbar, which was a long piece of wood called a patibulum which was also used for barring doors and weighed about 110 pounds.
The actual crucifixion involved nailing a victim’s hands and feet (in one tomb discovered back in 1968, there was a crucifixion victim found with a 7 inch spike driven through the heal bones, and both legs fractured.).
During a crucifixion, the victim’s legs were broken to speed up the death. They were broken by using a club below the knees. Doing this prevented the victim from trying to push himself up, relieving the tension on upper body muscles. Once the legs were broken, and the victim could not push himself up, suffocation or heart attacks would follow, putting the victim out of misery.
It’s interesting to note here that Old Testament prophecy in Psalms showed that Christ would not have a broken bone. Jesus was already dead by the time the Roman guard broke the legs of the other two men who were crucified beside Him, they did not need to break His legs, so this prophecy was fulfilled, as mentioned in John’s Gospel. Another interesting point is that Jesus is considered the “Passover Lamb”, which harkens back to the days when Jews were getting ready to leave Egypt. When the Israelites were told to slaughter a lamb, paint the door posts with blood (in order for the angel to ‘pass over’) and they were to eat a hurried meal of lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread- a celebration which is still continued every year. Exodus 12:46 describes the command of how to eat the Passover lamb, In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
One of the guards determined if Jesus was really dead by driving a spear into His side- which spilled blood and water. The water was fluid which had leaked from the sac surrounding the heart, which shows that He died by shock and constriction to His heart. Only after He was dead, and a certification telling this was given to Pilate, was Jesus taken down from the cross.
When Jesus was buried, He was placed in a tomb, which was cut out of the solid rock. The New Testament shows that Jesus’ burial strictly followed the customs of the Jews. After He was laid in the tomb, the Sabbath had come, so Jesus was left in the tomb, along with the basic preparations- the rest would have to wait until Sabbath was over. The tomb was then sealed, by rolling a large boulder in front of the opening. This “stone” would have been at least 1- 1/2 tons. The burial tombs often had a groove built in which the stone covering would rest until it was time to seal the tomb. Once it was ready to close, the wedge to hold the stone was removed, the stone was pushed and gravity would then roll it along the groove until it was firmly in place.
There were also guards stationed at the tomb to make sure no one would “steal” the body. If a Roman guard was stationed at the tomb along with the Jewish Temple guard, there would have been upwards of 20 armed guys to contend with. The Temple guard was forbidden to sleep or even sit down or lean against something if he were on duty- by threat of a severe beating. Rules for the Roman guard were just as strict. There was also a Roman Seal placed on the tomb stone to prevent anyone with tampering with the stone, by order of the Roman Authority.
What happened next changed the course of History; days later, the tomb was found to be empty. The consequences of breaking the Roman Seal that had been placed on the tomb would have been severe, meaning execution. Even the disciples hid when they found out Jesus wasn’t there. Since the stone was rolled away, someone had to roll it back up an incline. The whole guard regiment would have noticed a group of people moving it yet someone or something must have moved that stone. This frightened the Roman Guards so much that they fled from their post. Desertion from one’s post meant being executed, so it makes no sense for the guards to just get up and go home. You couldn’t get me to do something like desert with that kind of death threat over my head.
Let’s focus now a bit on the people who were closest to Jesus before He was crucified, their change after His resurrection, and some other ways Jesus’ life, death and resurrection changed the world.
We know He appeared to his disciples more than a few times. How about those who didn’t believe His claims to be Messiah- His own family? His brothers had been embarrassed by His words. James hung out with the Pharisees, and he and his brothers mocked Jesus during his earthly ministry.
After the resurrection, James actually went on to become a leader in the early church. He wrote the Epistle of James, which states, “James, a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ“. He was later stoned to death for his belief in Jesus, whom he once mocked. It would take something extraordinary to change from disbelief to quickly accepting death for a “change of mind”.
Back up to the night before Jesus’ arrest in the garden. Jesus was with His closest disciples in that garden. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, the disciples fled out of fear that they would be arrested and suffer the same fate as their leader. After the crucifixion, the disciples hid behind locked doors- afraid they would hear the soldiers come looking for them.
Something so dramatic happened in that upper room, which changed a group of scared and defeated men to the proud, loud and courageous apostles who proclaimed the Word of the Gospel. These same men willingly suffered beatings, prison and eventually death for their faith in Jesus.
Andrew, brother of Peter, the first disciple of Jesus became a preacher in Greece among other places. He proclaimed the love and forgiveness of Jesus as he was led to his own cross. Peter, the one who denied knowing Jesus three times the night of His arrest and was afraid of “being found out” as one of those disciples, requested to be crucified upside down, because he felt he was unworthy of the same death that Jesus suffered.
Matthew, once a tax collector, after the resurrection, wrote the gospel in Hebrew and was a missionary to Ethiopia and Egypt. He was speared to death for his testimony of Jesus. Simon, brother of Jude and James, became a Bishop in Jerusalem and was later crucified in Egypt in the time of Trajan the emperor.
The other Simon, the apostle became a preacher and spread the Gospel throughout North Africa and also in Britain and was also crucified for his testimony. Philip became a missionary in what is now Turkey, was not only crucified but also stoned to death for his preaching of salvation in Jesus. Mark became an evangelist and first Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. For his preaching the Gospel, he was burned alive. Bartholomew is said to have preached and translated the gospel of Matthew for the Indians before being beaten, crucified then beheaded in Armenia.
And Thomas- whatever happened to that doubter who wouldn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection until he could put his finger in the wounds of Jesus? Thomas became a preacher all across the Middle East, into India where he was speared and stabbed.
All the closest disciples of Jesus were put to death for their faith in Christ, except for John, son of Zebedee, who went on to write the Book of Revelation. John was not martyred (although he had been boiled for his belief), was exiled to the Greek Isle of Patmos.
Not all of the people who saw Jesus alive after the resurrection suffered death sentences, but under the brutal regimes of emperors such as Caligula, Nero, and Domitian, thousands of new Christians were slaughtered. They were put to death in some cases for the entertainment of the people. Put to stakes, drawn and quartered, thrown to lions and other horrible punishments. It was not easy to become a believer of the “new” Christian religion back then, and in many cases around the world today it is still not easy.
If the resurrection never happened, there would have been no need for people to suffer as they did. However, the fact that so many of the followers and disciples willingly took punishment even to death, for preaching and teaching the Word of Jesus proves the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No one would make that kind of change for a known lie. Men will always be willing to die for what they believe in- but NO ONE will die for what they know to be a lie.
As any true Christian will proclaim that our faith rests firmly on an empty tomb and a resurrected Savior. If we suffer because of His name, we suffer willingly.
Once again, when you ask a person what they think of when they hear the name Jesus, many people do not believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They will usually include Him with other religious and philosophical leaders who have had a good and moral influence. When asked, most people will say something like; “I believe that Jesus is among the greatest teachers of History, along with Buddha, Gandhi ”, etc.
They point to His sermon on the Mount and His parables about loving enemies, helping the poor, loving neighbors as the righteous qualities that He taught and are trying to follow. There have been many good and loving people throughout the age, ranging from heads of State, Presidents, teachers, pastors and philosophers. There have been many who have strived to make peace, lift the poor, and comfort the sick and diseased. So what makes Jesus special?
Is it His teachings on helping and loving, or is it more? Those who deny Him as God, yet include Him in a list of other moral and righteous teachers, would include a liar among their role models. If they don’t believe that Jesus is God, then they must look at all of His claims that He is God. They must look at all the times that He made Himself equal to God. People have to look at the person of Jesus Christ and say whether He is a Liar, a lunatic or Lord. He cannot be a righteous teacher if He is a liar. He cannot be a good and moral leader if He is a lunatic.
If you are going to believe in His Words about love, peace and the poor, you must believe His Words in which He claims to be God. His claims are either truth or lies. Which will you believe? When He is claiming He is God, if He knew that He is not God, then He was deliberately lying and deceiving His followers. If He was lying about His claim, then He was an evil person for deceiving so many. He would also be incredibly stupid, for it was because of His claims that He was crucified.
There is no way that someone who is a deliberate liar could be anywhere near a moral and good teacher. How could someone so deceitful and selfish maintain a wise, loving and kind persona and impact the world for over 2000 years? How could someone so despicable sacrifice His own life for a known lie? They wouldn’t.
What if instead He only just believed He was God? Say like maybe I think I’m Cleopatra? Maybe He sincerely thought He was God, but wrong? Would so many of His followers believed His claims and perpetuated them if He had have been that nuts?
OK so maybe (very hard maybe!) I could convince myself that I’m Cleopatra, but I highly doubt I’d get anyone else to believe it too! Even in our day where so many people are afraid to deny someone else’s “reality”, most people would not follow someone based on that kind of a claim, and certainly not to the death.
So what gives? Was Jesus a lunatic? Looking at His skills in the way He taught, and the depth of His Words, He was completely sane. The fact is, many millions over the past two thousand years have followed Him, and even those who don’t believe that He is God have paid much attention to His Word, show that He is not a lunatic. He was not a liar, and not a lunatic. That leaves only one alternative. He is Lord. I know that He is Lord – the question He asks though, is “Who do you say that I am?”
So why is it so important to believe Jesus is God in the flesh? I mean, why don’t we just believe in Jesus as a great teacher, a great prophet and leave it at that? Is it really so important to prove who He is?
If Jesus really is who He claims, that He is God- that makes Biblical Christianity unique and authorative. If Jesus was not who He claimed, not only would we be following a liar, but there would be no difference between Christianity and any other religion.
Jesus taught that He is God Incarnate, and He proved this by fulfilling Old Testament prophecies regarding His birth, life, teachings, death and resurrection. Contemporaries and eyewitnesses wrote accounts of Jesus’ words and actions, and more importantly, the New Testament authors made it clear that they were writing firsthand accounts, describing themselves as eyewitnesses, and they distinguished between their own words and those taught by Jesus.
Jesus accepted titles and praise which is only to be given God. This is part of why so many of the Pharisees wanted to stone Him, because they believed Him to be a blasphemer. They knew exactly what He was saying and claiming. The Jehovah God of the Old Testament refuses to share worship and glory with any other. When one looks at the Old and New Testaments, we can see how Jesus accepted worship, praise and glory; a right only to God alone.
Remember in the Old Testament when Moses kneels in front of the burning bush, while God is talking, He says, “Tell them, I Am have sent you.” Later, in the New Testament, Jesus tells the Jews, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.”
Jewish leaders knew that Jesus was not only claiming preexistence before Abraham, but also equality with God. In other parts of the Gospels, we see Jesus make the same claim, only instead of people cursing Him and getting ready to stone Him, people fall to the ground in awe and worship.
By assuming the same titles given to God, Jesus in many ways made Himself equal to God. He forgave sins, He told leaders He had authority to heal, and He warned that He had power to raise and judge the dead. Since Jewish Orthodox belief is in the Old Testament, where only Jehovah God has the authority to do all those things, they made plans to stone Him for blaspheme.
Jesus claimed He is God when He said, “Honor the Son, even as they honor the Father,” later adding, “believe in God, believe also in Me.” The Jews knew that no man should claim honor and comparison with God.
Is Jesus the Messiah, and is the Messiah God? The Old Testament foretold of Messiah and of His Deity. When Jesus claimed to have fulfilled the Old Testament messianic prophecies, He also claimed the deity attributed to the Messiah.
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of Messiah as “Mighty God“. In the Psalms, the reference is made between God the Father and God the Son, “The Lord saith unto my Lord (Adonai), sit thou at my right hand.” In the Book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel has a vision in which the Son of Man is also called the “Ancient of days“, which is a phrase that is used twice in the same passage to describe God the Father.
When Jesus appeared before the high priest, He was asked specifically whether he is the “Christ (Messiah), the son of God” Showing that the high priest left no doubt that he knew what Jesus had been claiming. In a nutshell, the Old Testament not only shows that the Messiah is to come, but also that He is God. Jesus in all of His words and testimony laid claim to the Messianic title and also to the deity of the Messiah, and removed any doubt when He answered the high priest, “I am; and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven“.
At this, the high priest tore his robes and yelled, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have all heard this blasphemy!”
No one but God is to accept worship, and even angels refuse to be worshipped. Jesus received worship over half a dozen times in scripture without once telling the people not to do that. Jesus not only accepted worship, but also placed His own words on par with God and He requested men pray in His name.
If someone accepts Jesus as a good teacher and a moral leader yet rejects the way that Jesus accepted attitudes and actions due only to God, and He affirmed by words and actions only appropriate to Deity, they are in a word, rejecting, God.
Sometimes people will assume that the Bible is contradictory when Jesus seems to deny His equality with God in phrases such as, “My Father is greater than I“, and the time when Jesus said that He doesn’t know the time of His second coming, that only the Father knows, and the most famously misunderstood, from His words on the cross, ” MY God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
On a closer look however, none of these are contradictory. One needs to understand the nature of the Trinity to understand such passages. In the Trinity, God the Father is greater than the Son in “office” or position, but not in the nature. As Jesus says, “I and the Father are one“, He was speaking of in nature or essence. It is only the function of the office, as the Son that He is less than the Father. When Jesus said He didn’t know the time of His second coming, it’s because He was speaking as a man.
As a man, Jesus ate when He was hungry, slept when He was tired. As God, He never slumbers or sleeps. Jesus the person had two distinct natures- one wholly divine, the other, wholly man. Some things He understood from a human nature, other times He understood and taught from His divine nature.
It’s one thing to claim deity, and another to have something to back it up, yet Jesus does. He fulfilled prophecies made hundreds and thousands of years before His birth, he had a uniquely miraculous life, and rose from the dead. All of these events are unique only in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
If you want to know more about him, you can meet Him here in the Gospel of John