the affirmation series// who is Jesus?
this series will be a bit different than most of mine. in fact, this is actually more of the believer i am; one that needs to go back and blot out doubt once in a while. i find myself asking the questions i used to ask as an atheist, and searching for answers like i did when i was a seeker. when i re-discover a scholarly article or key passage from a book, i find myself realizing all over again where my faith lies and how i came to finally believe in my Savior.
so this series is designed to sort of hold your hand, if you are experiencing any kind of doubting moment, and maybe take you through it. this will certainly not exhaust each question that exists, but i do hope to at least get you thinking and seeking the way you did when you were a brand new baby Christian.
with that said.. let's discuss the first question:
who is Jesus?
of course i know who He is.. and i'm sure you do, too.. but sometimes i forget exactly who He is in relation to me. i minimize what He gave up. i misplace that "first-love" feeling. i fail to fall on my face in worship, a lot.
in some ways this is residual doubt; i admit it. i spent so long looking at Christianity through a teeny lens that it is my natural reaction to question when things do not go the way i think they should. but i take it as a blessing, because in this mindset i find the energy and drive to seek His face all over again, and fall into great love when i find it.
sometimes, i need more than an eloquent narrative on the life of Jesus but instead, i need to read a good strong argument against Him in order to muster up the voice to say, "No. That is not who my Lord is!"
sometimes i need to remember that Jesus was an infant. and before He was an infant, He was a ball of genetic code; the same genetic "soup" that scientists have used to argue against creation.
sometimes i need to recall how Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but He grew through the process of human gestation. He was all God, and all man.
every time, i need to refer to the Gospels, as they are my sole means of understanding the events of His life.
but how do i trust the Gospel accounts?
as an atheist i believed Jesus lived, (strange right?) but i didn't believe He was God in the flesh. i believed the people in the Bible lived, i just didn't believe one of them was God. i asked, "how could a woman deliver a man that would be chosen by God to be the Savior?" i was viewing the action as sort of an afterthought. i understand now that He was prepared and planned for, and He existed outside of time. but before that, i needed to understand how He came to be. so i had to read the Gospels.
i also read books and articles that presented research surrounding the validity of the New Testament when scrutinized as any other historical document. many skeptics view the Bible as simple mysticism between two hard covers, but history is threaded through the text. so when you remove a portion of the text, the same research that sheds light on the life of an ancient king or the traditions of a city can hold valuable details lifting up the validity of the Gospels.
one of my "aha!" moments happened when i realized that as i sifted through research on the Gospels' validity, i never read that the authors were questioned but only what they wrote about Christ. Matthew, formerly Levi the tax collector; Mark, an evangelist; Luke, a historian and physician; and John, an evangelist who writes his book as an eyewitness account are all attributed to these books, and their existence and credentials are spoken of with confidence. many scholars have used investigative techniques, archaeological processes and legalistic fact-checking methods to cross-reference the Gospels and give a sound conclusion to their validity. more times than not, these books hold up to such tests.
not to mention with any less importance, but ancient methods of writing and documenting were hardly carried out frivolously. stories were captured and cataloged in order to teach the later generations. details were important, no matter how silly they may have seemed at the time. every bit of writing the author penned was for a purpose. today we write in so much narrative that we think that's the way it has always been. but the Gospels are full of rich detail that we would miss without proper examination.
(more detail i may explore in a later series!)
so when one simply reads that "Jesus was the Word, and the Word was with God," it may be hard to accept. but when these words are explained as being written by a man who claims to have been in proximity with Jesus and witnessing the details he would later pen, and this book has been researched the same way any non-religious text would, and it passed the tests of validity.. it changes things.
one of my most favorite prophecies-come-true, and one i like to refer to when i begin to question who my Lord is, is found in Luke 4:14-21. here, Jesus enters the temple, opens the scroll of the prophet Isaiah to the section now labeled " Isaiah 61," and reads the first two verses aloud, proclaiming that this prophecy has been fulfilled in their hearing; that He is the one Isaiah said would come to heal the world.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
some were excited to hear this, the Pharisees were appalled, and Jesus goes on to continue His work until God would call Him up. Luke being a highly regarded physician and historian writes this portion of Scripture and gives us a clear picture of what that day looked like.
i read this and i am filled with hope again. i know that my God loves me so much that He sent someone to bring me home. i feel redeemed all over again. i begin to remember my worth. when i forget who my Jesus is, i go back to the words that were prophesied about the Messiah, and fall in love all over again with the Man that stood up and accepted what was planned for Him.
being an atheist, i'd have read this as just one of Jesus' friends trying to make Him look good. being a Christian who has done her research, i read it as an accurate account written by a man who maintained his integrity as a gifted historian (as noted by several scholars and archaeologists upon historical confirmation of many of his claims) and did his duty of reporting on the events for historical purposes, and to teach people in the future.
because i asked so many questions about Jesus' life, i began to read a lot about those authors who wrote about it. given so much background on these men, i found a deeper faith in what they wrote. given that they wrote quite a bit about Jesus, i found a deeper faith in who He is.
what are your thoughts on Jesus and those who wrote about Him?
what other questions do you have in regard to
how we have come to know about Him?