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Common Facts Surrounding the Resurrection
Fact 2 - He Claimed to Be the Messiah
Regarding His claim of deity, it is well documented and logical to believe. After all He could have been crazy, or simply lying. Regardless of how one views the claim of His Messiahship, it is well substantiated. It was thought to be heretical by the Jews, and was precisely why they wanted Him dead. Consider the following passages:
"The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.'" (John 4:25-26)
"So Jesus said, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.'" (John 8:28-29)
"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?' She said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.'" (John 11:25-27)
These are just a few of the many passages showing Christ's claim as the Son of God. Again, this is not difficult to accept, as even His brutal enemies would agree. The life of Christ is a matter of historical fact, as F.F. Bruce points out,
"Some writers may toy with the fancy of a 'Christ-myth', but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the 'Christ-myth' theories." 4
Before we go on to the other points there is an important conclusion to consider from the basic claim of Jesus' existence--whether or not you believe it. Just who was Jesus Christ? Was He really just a good man? Or was He a liar, a fake who deceived hundreds of thousands into sacrificing everything for Him? Was He a crazy man who thought He was the Messiah, but didn't know any better? Who was He? This question bears some examination.
As mentioned above, He could not have been just a good man if He lied and deceived thousands, leading them to torture and even death. Likewise, He certainly wasn't a bad man either. There were too many acts of love and kindness seemingly emanating from His very being.
Perhaps He was crazy? Some have erroneously concluded that Jesus was a lunatic, indicating that He didn't know He was lying. He thought He was the Messiah. This conclusion, however, is for those who have never bothered to read the teaching and reasoning of Jesus. He was far from crazy... He was brilliant. His encounters with the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, His encounters with the disciples... they were nothing short of brilliant.
If Jesus wasn't a myth, a lunatic, a bad man, or just a good man, who was He? There aren't many possibilities left. The final option is that He was exactly who He claimed to be--Lord and Messiah.
|4||Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents. 5th Ed. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdsmans Publishing Co., p.119.|