Who is Jesus? • John chapter 1 v 1-18 • Who is Jesus to you? • Legend, Legendary, Liar, Lunatic, Lord • Was Jesus just a Legend? • How do we know Jesus existed? • Roman histories (Tacitus & Suetonius) • Jewish histories (Josephus) • New Testament history (original documents)
More copies of New Testament documents by far (5000+) than of any other historical work like: Livy’s Roman History (20) Tacitus (20) Caesars Gallic War (9) Thucydides (8), Herodotus (8) And the time lapse between when the documents were written & their oldest copy, is over 1000 years. For the New Testament the lapse is 30 to 310 years. Reconstruction of New Testament from writings
Was Jesus Legendary? • Yes but....those who know little about Jesus • dont know about his more extreme teachings & claims. • To forgive peoples sins • To be the judge of all humanity • That his is the Kingdom of God... • Those who declare publicly that they belong to me... • Everyone who has given up houses or brothers... • Jesus claims a persons highest devotion • The “I am” claims • Jesus’ references to “my Father” • The claims to be God’s Messiah • The claims to be God • Very extreme claims from a good & wise teacher!
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about [Jesus]: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. 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 the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; 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. He did not intend to.” C. S. Lewis in ‘Mere Christianity’
Was Jesus a Liar or Lunatic? • What caused people to think Jesus was God? • His teachings, character, relationships and his healings clearly suggest he was a well balanced, integrated, self-aware, gifted and compassionate person, who was living • in close relationship with God....One with God. • Fulfilled over 300 prophecies from his birth to his death • His resurrection from the dead was key: • The empty tomb • His appearances to his followers • The birth & growth of the church • His influence on history & experience of his followers
Apart from Jesus, who do you think are the most influential people in world history, since 1500BC? Colossians 2 v9: “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (NLT) “God lives fully in Christ.” (CEV) “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Cols 1 v19, 20)