Friday, March 14, 2014

Who is this Child? ...................... Parables 092

Christmas is the only birthday party in which most of the guests do not know the person in whose honor the party is given. 

In fact, there is as much argument about who Jesus Christ is today as there was after He arrived in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago. Some thought He was a prophet or perhaps a political redeemer. Others denounced Him as a liar and a blasphemer. Still others thought He was a madman. he Himself claimed to be God. They couldn’t all be right. 

The Jews were looking for a promised Messiah who they thought would free them from Roman oppression and establish a Jewish kingdom. So when they saw that Jesus had power to heal diseases and feed multitudes, they welcomed Him. However, His message became clear - He came to deliver them from their sin, not from the Romans. He called for a change in lifestyle and they changed their opinion of Him instead. The very ones who wanted to make Him a king soon were demanding, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” 

The religious leaders considered Him a liar and a blasphemer. He was upsetting their religious system and their authority over the people by continual demonstrations of His claim to be equal with God, who He called His Father. These leaders led the demand that Jesus be put to death. Their control over the people depended on it. 

Some thought He was a crazy man, out of His mind because He wasn’t motivated by fame or personal gain. His own half-brothers reasoned that He was crazy because He did not put His own interests first. Not only that, He said that anyone who “saved his own life would lose it, but those who lost their life for my sake would save it.” Clearly unpopular teaching. Another group responded immediately to His call to follow Him. They were the twelve who later were called the disciples. One of them turned out to be a traitor and the others ran from Him for a time, but they later returned and affirmed their belief that he was who He claimed to be. Who is this Christ, this baby boy born in a manger? 

Was He a deliverer? Yes, but not of a political sort. He came to set mean and women free from sin and its condemnation of death. 

Was He a liar and a blasphemer? Do liars live as this man lived? No man ever called Himself God and backed it up with the evidence that Jesus did. His “blasphemy” consisted of saying that He was God. If He was God, He was not a blasphemer. 

Was He a lunatic? Men who are insane cannot, and do not, forgive and heal sinful people, filling their hearts with peace and joy. 

Was He God in human flesh? At that time, only a handful of men thought so. They were so convinced that they literally “lost their lives for His sake.” Since then, countless others have done the same. The birth of the baby didn’t convince them, nor did His life. If that had been enough, they would not have fled from the cross when Jesus was crucified. 

The evidence that proved the deity of Jesus Christ was the empty tomb - the resurrection. The disciples may have been, for the most part, simple fishermen, but they knew beyond doubt that lunatics, liars, and mere political messiahs do not rise from the dead. There are no other options.

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