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Thread: Jesus

  1. #1

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    I thought it might be good to have a specific thread about Jesus, son of God. I'm sure there are many different opinions and ideas about him. Even Christians often disagree about what he was really like or what he represents. I'm guilty of often neglecting him in favour of focussing on "the bigger picture" of God's message. But since the bible says that the way to God is through his Son I'd better gain a greater understanding of him.

    When i was younger (teenager) I had this vague idea that he was some kind of mythical figure... I didn't really grasp that he was a real flesh and blood human being that lived, breathed, had temper tantrums and doubted his Father. It wasn't until I started reading some non-Bible books (Like Mere Christianity) that I started to think of him as a real person just like any other figure in history. And it started to sink in how important his life was... and how important it was for me to realise that i had to get to know him.

    Here's an article I found:

    Jesus Christ - A Name Unlike Any Other

    The name, Jesus Christ, has caused more division, agitation and controversy than any other name in history. If you bring up God in a coffee shop discussion, nobody is really offended. If you speak about Buddha or Brahman, Moses or Mohammed, you really don't irritate the listener. However, the name Jesus Christ seems to cut right to the soul. Something makes this religious leader more contentious and convicting than all the others combined. What is it?

    Unlike any other widely followed religious leader in history, Jesus Christ made a unique claim. He declared Himself God. Not a god, not god-like, but God incarnate - the Creator of the universe in human flesh. Intellectually, that's disturbing. Spiritually, that's the most liberating thing that could ever happen to humankind.

    Jesus Christ - The Popular Alternatives
    The typical responses to the life and claims of Jesus Christ sound something like this:

    "Jesus Christ was a great man."

    "Jesus Christ was a wonderful moral model."

    "Jesus Christ was an enlightened religious teacher."

    "Jesus Christ was an esteemed prophet."

    However, as Christian scholar Josh McDowell declares in his foundational book, More than a Carpenter, these types of statements raise a compelling "trilemma." Once you examine the actual claims of Jesus and His eyewitness followers, there are really only three alternatives for who He really is - Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or our Lord.

    "The issue with these three alternatives is not which is possible, for it is obvious that all three are possible. But rather, the question is 'which is more probable?' Who you decide Jesus Christ is must not be an idle intellectual exercise. You cannot put Him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. You must make a choice. 'But,' as the Apostle John wrote, 'these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and' - more important - 'that believing you might have life in His name' (John 20:31)." (Josh McDowell, More than a Carpenter, Tyndale House Publishers, 1977, pp. 33-34.)

    C.S. Lewis, a popular British theologian, continues,

    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 the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. (An extract from Mere Christianity). (C.S Lewis))





    I don't find it easy to talk about him IRL (except in Chuch) and I just wanted to share that quote. Messiah or lunatic eh? I guess it's true... pretty black and white... what do other people think?
    Last edited by Bathsheba; April 9th, 2008 at 12:46 PM.

  2. #2

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    Have to agree, Bath.

    It is somewhat mind boggling to think of someone who was fully human and had all of our human fears and frailties also being perfectly God. But I guess it's just the whole fact of God being so far beyond our human comprehension that gets in the way there.

    There's a few other thoughts jumbling around in my head right now, but I need to try to get them out at some point in time when I'm not actually half asleep.

    BW

  3. #3

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    Here's my thoughts on him and the image of him portrayed through the bible.

    How about if there really was a flesh and blood carpenter. He was a calm, serene and sane man whose approach to life and others was perceived as "good" and inspiring. He was also no doubt a physically commanding and good looking man, who personality maintained a high level of personal charisma. But he was the son of God and his teachings were full of kindness, integrity and love, and he influenced through inspiration and hope.

    THEN, through the oral tradition of the new testament, and the transition & textualization of such oral stories into what we know as the Bible, his thoughts, opinions and teachings were "embellished" and exaggerated, and certainly morphed by the oral teachers, scribes and priestly aristocracy.

    Thus we have a varying picture of Jesus, and more importantly, he is "quoted" very differently.

    For me, the son of god may well have existed. But I am not sure that his "characterisation" is accurate through the bible. (I mean NO disrespect here.)

    I think of a highly charismatic leader whose teachings & principles align very much to how I like to operate in my world.

    Messiah for me, but I personally don't use the bible as my proof or evidence.

  4. #4

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    Great thread Bath, thanks! Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

    For me, I believe what the bible says, He was the son of God. Because I believe the bible is the inspired word of God then I think what it says is pretty accurate. I don't think God would have let all the facts about Jesus get muddled in the Bible. So to answer your question, I think he is the Messiah!

    I read a really good book about him called 'a spectator's guide to Jesus: an introduction to the man from Nazareth' by John
    D!ckson.
    Last edited by Heaven; May 31st, 2008 at 03:46 PM.

  5. #5

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    He is the Man the Bible says he is. True God and fully man. Impossible to understand.

  6. #6

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    I've just found this article entitled: Why Did Jesus have to Die?

    We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. Any theories we build up as to how Christ's death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself. All the same, some of these theories are worth looking at.

    The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us. Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory. If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead? None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense. On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not. Or if you take "paying the penalty," not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "footing the bill," then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend.

    Now what was the sort of "hole" man had gotten himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of a "hole." This process of surrender - this movement full speed astern - is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here's the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

    Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off of if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. It cannot happen. Very well, then, we must go through with it. But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it. Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another. When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them. We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it. Now if we had not fallen, that would all be plain sailing. But unfortunately we now need God's help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all - to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die. Nothing in God's nature corresponds to this process at all. So that the one road for which we now need God's leadership most of all is a road God, in His own nature, has never walked. God can share only what He has: this thing, in His own nature, He has not.

    But supposing God became a man - suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person - then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man. Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God's dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God's dying unless God dies; and he cannot die except by being a man. That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all.

  7. #7

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    Sorry Bath, I just skimmed your last post, the 'do stuff before baby needs a feed' time bomb is ticking. I'll get to it later.

    I believe the bible too - I'm of the opinion you can't pick and choose what to believe from the bible - if one thing isn't true, how can I trust any of it? At some stage when deciding what to believe, we have to take a step of faith - and that's everyone, since nothing is proven absolutely, creation takes faith, evolution takes faith...Jesus' existence is a historical fact, but him being the son of God? The bible calls him the Son of God, and by faith, I believe that he was.

    Lucy, I think there's a part of the bible (in the book of Isaiah?) that talks about Jesus being pretty average looking, not handsome at all. Which is only a useful fact if you believe the bible I guess!

    Ah, time bomb gone off.

  8. #8

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    I liked the part in that article about repentence. It makes more sense now than it has before. But it's right, it's so hard to do.

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