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Section 2 .. Reasons To Believe/Jesus

 

003white  Index To Section 2.. Reasons To Believe       >        Index To Articles On Jesus         >       Deity Of Christ.. Part V

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The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar,
Or Lunatic?

Part V - Jesus “Came Forth” and Conclusion

Carol Brooks
 

Detailed Index To All Five Sections

PART I - Introduction and How Jesus Was Viewed By Those Who Knew Him.
Those Who Knew Jesus Referred to Him as the Logos and Theos

PART II - What Jesus Said About Himself
 Considering the claims Jesus made, the titles he gave Himself, and the worship He accepted, the only possible conclusion one can come to is that He suffered from grandiose delusions -  or He was the Son of God as He said.

PART III - Jesus' Claims - Authenticated By Some Very Impressive Evidence
Miracles, Prophecy, and The Strikingly Significant Parallels between Yahweh in The Old Testament and Jesus in the New

PART IV - Rebuttal Arguments
Five passages in particular are often used as proof that Christ was not Deity.

PART V - Explaining The Unexplainable and Conclusion
So how can all this be explained? How can Jesus and the Father be one, yet distinguishable from each other?
Last, but far from least, one has to come to a decision about Jesus.

 

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How can we possibly explain how Jesus and the Father are one, yet distinguishable from each other. While it is very difficult, perhaps even impossible for finite human minds to comprehend something that is far beyond anything we have ever even heard of, perhaps one verse in the Gospel of John will help to some extent.


John 16:27-30... Jesus Came Forth
Note the underlined words ...

    for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth (Gr. exerchomai) from the Father. "I came forth (Gr. exerchomai) from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." His disciples *said, "Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. "Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from (Gr. exerchomai) God." (John 16:27-30 NASB)

If John meant to say Jesus was dispatched on a mission by the Father, he would probably have used the word apostello or it's derivative exapostello, both of which mean to send out on a mission. There is no question that Jesus was sent on a mission by the Father, as the following two examples show....

    But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth (Gr. exapostello) His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth (Gr. exapostello) the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:4-6 NASB)

    "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (Gr. apostello) . (John 17:3 NASB)

However, the Greek verb exerchomai that John used three times in 16:27-30 means to issue from. In Scripture, it is overwhelmingly used of literally emerging from something. For example....

    Prison: "Truly I say to you, you will not come out (Gr. exerchomai) of there until you have paid up the last cent. (Matthew 5:26 NASB)

    A City: "And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out (Gr. exerchomai) from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." (Luke 9:5 NASB)

    Sodom: but on the day that Lot went out (Gr. exerchomai) from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:29 NASB)

    A Courtyard: And he went out went out (Gr. exerchomai) and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:62 NASB)

    A Boat: When they got out (Gr. exerchomai) of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, (Mark 6:54 NASB)

    Tombs: When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out (Gr. exerchomai) of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. (Matthew 8:28 NASB)

Perhaps most interestingly, exerchomai was even used in terms of one or more living beings (a demon or demons) coming out of people.

    Demons: And He said to her, "Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out (Gr. exerchomai) of your daughter." And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left (Gr. exerchomai) . (Mark 7:29-30 NASB)

 
"Came Forth From" Vs. 'Sent By'
Besides which, there is at least one verse where Jesus, using both words, said He came forth "from" the Father and was sent "by" the Father.

     Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth Gr. exerchomai) and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent (Gr. apostello) Me. (John 8:42 NASB)

In other words, Jesus was not "created" by the Father but, in His words, He literally "came out" of the Father. Or, perhaps one could put it another way - Jesus was "born" of the Father - He was the "first-born of creation", as Colossians 1:15 says. However, the paradox is that there was no particular point in time when Jesus was "born" of the Father, because He too was from everlasting. Although Jesus "came out" of the Father, He and the Father have always been.


Expressing The Inexpressible
I am not sure if we, accustomed to a three dimensional world, can find words to explain this. Although most analogies prove themselves less than adequate, second century apologist, Justin Martyr's words go a long way towards expressing the inexpressible. His analogy was that Jesus was

    was begotten of the Father by an act of will; just as we see happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abscission, so as to lessen the word (which remains) in us, when we give it out: and just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled another, but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled.  [09]

In other words, when one flame kindles another, the kindled flame can be said to have "come forth" from the first one. Neither being in any way diminished in the process. One flame can be said to be part of the other but, at the same time they are separate from each other.


Jesus and The Father Are One
When Jesus said He and the Father were one, and that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him John 10:30 and John 14:8-10 

    He was not just saying that they had the same mindset, nature, or attributes, although they do.

    He was not simply saying that they were united in purpose, although they are.

    He was not just saying that He was Divine, although He is.

Jesus went much further than that... He literally meant that He and the Father were one. As the first line of the Shema, the Jewish declaration of faith in one God, says

Sh'ma Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad. ("Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one)"

Yet the paradox is, that although Jesus and the Father are One they are distinguishable from each other... for "the Logos was with God".


Conclusion
When the disciples met Jesus they must have initially thought Him to be a man, which is perfectly understandable.

    How could they have understood otherwise? They had heard how Satan tempted Him. They saw Him hungry and weary. They knew Him in need of companionship and prayer. They saw Him weep. They heard Him in prayer and saw Him in action surrendering His will to the Father's will, claiming the Father's will to be His bread. His words: "The Father is greater than I" were intelligible to them. How else should they have understood? Or we, had we been with Him on earth?

    Only after the disciples' association with Jesus had deepened, after they heard His words and witnessed His deeds, did they and others begin to wonder and ask questions about Him: "Who is this man?" "From where does He come?" They saw Him feed the multitudes, heal the sick, control nature, raise the dead. They heard Him forgive sins, they heard Him speak in an extraordinary manner about His purpose in coming, about His relation with the Temple, the Law and the prophets, about the love of God and His personal relationship with God. Even then, there were those who misinterpreted Him and His works, willfully or otherwise. [10]

The disciples' understanding of both Jesus and His ministry evolved gradually and was, at times, a painful process. In fact, full understanding did not come until after Jesus had risen from the dead!

But now, with the advantage of being able to look back over the centuries, and examine all the data, the sheer weight of evidence is overwhelming. Certainly you can argue a point here and a point there, but picking up and discarding small pebbles will not affect the sheer weight and mass of the mountain, which remains immovable.


Coming To A Decision About Jesus in Light Of His Claims
In summary, Jesus claimed the authority of God, claimed the attributes of God, claimed for himself prerogatives reserved solely for God, and encouraged others to worship Him as God. In other words, Jesus claimed to be God.

In light of which, let's examine the different opinions about Him

    Jesus Was A Good Man. Even in a world that can be extremely depraved, virtually everyone would agree that good people do not lie. While even a 'good person' may occasionally lie to save themselves or some other person, they do not go around deceiving hundreds of thousands with claims they know are untrue.

    If Jesus knew that He was not God, and did not know the way to eternal life, He has fooled countless numbers into believing in His message. This would make Him one of history's greatest con artists, not the world's savior. It also would have made Him one of history's greatest fools, because it was this lie that sent Him to an agonizing death.

    Jesus Was A Great Moral Teacher. It would also be completely illogical to believe that Jesus was a great moral teacher if He made up such grandiose claims about Himself. Only a colossal hypocrite would teach holiness, while making a false claim to be God. The fact that He accepted worship, showed that either He understood Himself to be God, was mentally deranged, or was the most conceited, arrogant man who ever lived.

    Jesus Was Mistaken. If Jesus was not Divine, but yet truly believed He had created the world, was pre-existent in heaven before His incarnation, saw Abraham two thousand years earlier, was the unique Son of God, had authority to judge the world, could both give and send the Holy Spirit of God, and was able to raise himself from the dead, then He was not simply "mistaken", but a very disturbed individual with grandiose delusions. However, as so well stated by Pat Zukeran of Probe ministries ...

      "... when you study the life of Jesus, He clearly does not display the characteristics of insanity. The abnormality and imbalance we find in a deranged person are not there. His teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount, remain one of the greatest works ever recorded. Jesus was continually challenged by the Pharisees and lawyers, highly educated men whose modern day equivalent would be our university professors. They were fluent in several languages and were known for their scholarship of the Old Testament and Jewish law. They challenged Jesus with some of the most profound questions of their day and Jesus' quick answers amazed and silenced them. In the face of tremendous pressure, we find He exemplified the greatest composure". [11]

All of which makes it impossible to be neutral about Jesus Christ. Only one of three conclusions is a logical possibility.

a) You can dismiss Him as a mad man or very deluded fool b) avoid Him as an extremely evil man, or c) fall at His feet and call Him God.

Of course you can ignore the whole question and turn on the television instead. But, what you cannot do is come up with some patronizing nonsense about Him being a great human teacher/philosopher/good man. The door to that option is slammed shut, if we apply a modicum of common sense and logic to the issue.

Much of the problem lies in the fact that many people are unwilling to accept things that not explainable by modern science. Even those that believe that God exists, seem not to realize how far His abilities lie far beyond our present knowledge and understanding, however advanced that may seem to be. There is no question that faith does play a major role. However, God has never asked us to accept anything on 'blind faith', but has provided evidence by the truckload. It is us that refuse to fairly examine this evidence, but come to it with pre-conceived ideas and/or (all too often) misinformation from others who either had an axe to grind, or were themselves deluded. See Section Choose Life That You Might Live

Immanuel ... God With Us
If one accepts the Bible as true, then one must also accept that Jesus is God, and that the words of the angel to Mary's husband, Joseph, literally meant that God Himself was physically with us. Note; The angel's words were a reflection of a prophecy made by Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14

    But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; " which translated means, "God (Gr. theos) with us." (Matthew 1:20-23 NASB)

 

The question is what are you going to do now?

Decide Wisely, Your Eternal Destiny Depends On It"

Also See Salvation
When all is said and done, virtually all humans have two things in common. 1) Almost everyone is searching for a 'better life', if not a perfect one. 2) No one wants to die - our spirit rebels at the thought that no matter what we have accomplished in our seventy odd years here on earth, we are eventually going to become worm food. However, if your defenses are well honed and you claim to be satisfied with the short life given to you then don't bother with this article, written for those who do not wish to arrive at death's door without being certain of where it leads.

 

End Notes
[09] Justin Martyr (110-165) Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 61. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson.
http://www.logoslibrary.org/justin/trypho/061.html

[10] Luther Engelbrecht and Ernest Hahn. Jesus as the Son of God. http://answering-islam.org/Hahn/son.html

[11] Pat Zukeran. The Uniqueness of Jesus.. Liar, Lunatic or Lord?
http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4224983/k.63CF/The_Uniqueness_of_Jesus.htm

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Return To Part IV of The Deity of Christ’

Artwork provided courtesy of James "theo" Theopistos.