The objectivity and the historical nature of the Gospel
There is nothing more settling than the fact of the resurrection of Christ. Without it we
have no confidence as believers. Having the assuredness of the certainty of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection gives us peace and confidence or rather as John describes it in verse 4 – Joy. It is imperative that we present Christ crucified as a historical and objective truth and not just as some subjective, emotional, internal, individual experience as is the case in so many religions of this postmodern world. John is an eyewitness to the events that he is describing and is not presenting some theoretical philosophy or emotional experience. Even though Christ reaches each of us through different circumstances, we must all come to the same point of genuine faith in the work which God did in Christ for and on our behalf 2000 years ago. Thus we cannot claim any personal effort to add to the work of God for our salvation except that of receiving it as a gift.
The Word of Life
1 John 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the living Word which created all things in the beginning as recorded in my Word the Bible. I AM the real God of history who walked with Adam, spoke to Noah, visited with Abraham, revealed myself to the prophets, appeared to Paul and lived with the Apostles. I AM the God who took on human flesh and dwelt among men. I am the God who did all those things that I said I did in the Bible publically as witnessed by the people of Israel. I AM the God who literally died on a Roman cross in view of all of Jerusalem. I am not still hanging on a cross, I AM the Risen God who was seen to be alive by hundreds of people and whose real scars were touched by Thomas. I AM the risen and living Word of eternal life, not some mystical or theoretical figurehead. If you believe my Testimony you can have fellowship with me from now on. But seeing is not believing, my Word says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” As I told Thomas and the disciples, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. Stop doubting and believe.” Believe on the testimonies of those who have seen me which are recorded in my Word. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Jn 20:31
The historical Jesus claimed to be God
In the courts, the strongest evidence in a criminal case (besides confession) is that of the eyewitness. “I saw him do it.” As long as the witness is of sound mind and character and cannot be discredited by a conflict of interest in his testimony, there is not much else which can prevent the testimony from finalizing the court’s ruling. Even a recorded eyewitness’ statement is very strong evidence in convicting criminals. In Christ’s case the chief priests were producing false witnesses to convict Christ. Christ then confessed to what the religious leaders had hoped for all along by saying “I AM the Christ, Son of the Living God.” Don’t just think of Christ as some goody two shoes or a good example for us to pattern out lives after. Christ’s claims of Deity are what we must weigh out as the truth to be reckoned. The Pharisees did not care about the miracles as much as his claims. And they knew who he was claiming to be. Previously they were going to stone him for these same claims. However, Jesus backed his claims with power and miracles, none the least was his resurrection from the dead which was attested to by hundreds of people.
If you believe in a historical Jesus, then believe in his claims too
Now we will be held accountable for our response to his claims and message. We cannot be neutral when it comes to Christ’s message. Jn 3:18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” We must rest our faith upon the word of God and its claims as truth. The acts that Jesus did which were witnessed by many were to prove that his message was also true. Jesus did not proclaim a gospel of good works, but that He is God almighty and is the only way of salvation. Jesus himself said in Jn 17:5 “And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” Jn 14:6 “I AM the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” If the gospel message was just one of doing good works and being a good guy, then why kill him? Also why kill his apostles and believers? It is because the message of the gospel is to show people that they are sinners and need God’s forgiveness through Christ alone which is offensive to people, because no one wants to be told that they are sinful and their good works are insufficient in God’s eyes to save them.
Jesus fulfill all righteousness for you
Jesus says in Jn 17:4 that “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” What work was that? He fulfilled all the law and the prophets on our behalf. Since no one from Adam onward could completely obey the Laws of God, only Christ could have done so making him an acceptable sacrifice in the eyes of the Father to fulfill all righteousness on our behalf and be able then to say in Jn 19:30 “It is finished” meaning that the work of God in salvation is complete. The Temple curtain separating sinful man from a Holy God was torn in half making access for everyone to enter God’s presence. Thus there is now nothing else which needs to be added by us to his work. God satisfied his own wrath at our sin because of what Jesus accomplished for us historically on the cross as indicated by his physical and historical resurrection as proof. Had Jesus’ life and sacrifice not been accepted by the Father, then Christ would still be in the grave like all the other religious leaders of the world. And thus Christianity would be just another religion to choose from. “BUT, CHRIST HAS INDEED RISEN FROM THE DEAD.” 1 Cor 15: 20
Thus He alone is worthy to receive honor and glory and praise forever and ever. Not us – we are not worthy. It is not about us earning our way to heaven. It is about him opening the way for us. Heaven is not a reward for good behavior; it is simply where God lives as well as for all those in whom he dwells. Jesus’ death and resurrection is a historical reality that all men will have to answer for.
More to come,