A newspaper colleague shared a link to a video of an atheist’s rant. He says that believers misappropriate Jesus. In that he’s right.
What follows is my rebuttal.
First, I want to repent and ask forgiveness on behalf those who have misused the name of Jesus. This man was right in that we Christians have done many things wrong. It is because of us that unbelievers — like this man — blaspheme the name of God (Romans 2:24). I have been guilty, as well, in my zeal. We make the point of original sin, really. We Christians are prideful, selfish, greedy and self-absorbed. As the cliche bumper sticker says, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”
Still, Jesus said he is the only way to God (John 14:6). I believe Him. So I’m going to tell you who Jesus is, as the Bible says He is. If you don’t believe the Bible, then just go about your business. But if you claim any part of it, you must take it all. It is all or nothing. Jesus said those who are not with him are against him (Matthew 12:30). He also said that he didn’t come to abolish the Jewish law and scriptures but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17-20). So, Jesus in Matthew’s gospel validates all of Jewish scripture (what the Christians call the Old Testament).
The Gospels speak of what Jesus did on this earth. The rest of the books through Jude speak of what His followers did and taught. Revelation teaches of what Jesus will do when He returns as King of Israel and the nations. So, if you believe in Jesus, you must take all 66 books. They all speak of Him.
JESUS, FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY
Jesus is a Jewish man born to a Jewish mother. This woman, Mary, was told by the angel Gabriel that Jesus would reign as king of Israel (Luke 1). That would make him the messiah the Jews are waiting for. (Most Jews do not agree. But they are waiting for the messiah (christos in the Greek) — the king who will restore order and peace to the world — promised by the prophets … and I believe I am waiting for the same one).
In Isaiah 61, the prophet wrote that messiah would come to heal and free the captives. Jesus says he fulfills this prophesy in Luke 4:16-21. And then we see his ministry of healing and forgiveness of sin (Matthew 9, Mark 2, John 8 ) in the Gospels.
THE SUFFERING SERVANT
The Jewish prophets tell of a suffering servant… a man who would die for the sins of his people (Psalm 22; Isaiah 22:20-25, 52:13-53:13; Daniel 9:26). Jesus says he is that man in John 3: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus says in John 8: “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
THE KING OF KINGS
The Jewish prophets tell also of a ruling King who will sit on David’s throne and judge and rule the nations.
Back in Luke 4, Jesus says he fulfills the first verse of Isaiah 61. But if you read Isaiah 61, you see Jesus left off a phrase, “And the day of vengeance of our God.”
The messiah of Isaiah 63 is covered in blood, exacting the vengeance of God. He “trod down the peoples… then poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” Really? That’s Jesus? Yes. We see the same description of Jesus in Revelation 19:11-16: “He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood.” Also, see that Jesus says in Matthew 24:36-25:45 that the Lake of Fire awaits people who aren’t ready for him when he returns.
WE SAY HE’S CHRIST, BUT WHAT DID JESUS SAY?
Did Jesus say he was the messiah who would come to rule the world, to judge all who live in it?
At one of Jesus’ trials before His crucifixion, he’s asked plainly if he is the awaited messiah (christ). In Matthew 26:64, Jesus answers by quoting from two messianic prophesies: Psalm 110 and Daniel 7:13-14.
Psalm 110:6: “He will pass judgment among the nations, filling it with dead bodies; he will shatter heads…”
I know Christians do a poor job… and I’m sorry we are sometimes hurtfully clumsy. But we bumblingly tell you who Jesus is because we love you and do not want you to be one who Jesus has to shatter and cast into the lake of fire at the end of time.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:17
I was going to answer this man’s video point by point. But the real issue is who is Jesus.
Jesus said that he is the awaited Messiah (Christ) of Israel, King of the nations.
As C.S. Lewis succinctly put it, Jesus is either Lord, lunatic or liar. He either was telling the truth, he was demented, or he purposely lied to us. Those are the only options we have.
I pray the truth is revealed to you.