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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jesus - A Question Of Personal Identity

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Jesus - A Question Of Personal Identity -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


Jesus made many claims. Are they exaggerated and fanciful, or is there a basis for them? Some say they are myths to make him appear fit for worship. Or are we confronting final truth? Christianity stands or falls with the claims and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Do we really know who he is?
  • Early Accounts
When we search back, the earliest accounts do not show Jesus merely as the simple Galilean peasant whose beautiful life and exalted teaching were later embroidered with fantastic mythology to upgrade him to deity. Quite the opposite is the case.
In the earliest accounts we see Jesus' own teaching about his identity. Teaching that has swayed and moved countless people in the succeeding centuries. Teaching like: whoever has seen - really seen Jesus, 'has seen the Father' (John 14:9). To recognise Jesus is to see God - no small claim!
  • He is Higher
We find a Jesus who simply will not fit into normal human categories. Instead we find he described himself in many unique ways. He is 'the good shepherd' (John 10:11), 'the light of the world' (John 8:12), 'the resurrection and the life' (John 11:25), and 'the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me' (John 14:6). The risen Messiah Lord says he is: 'the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades' (Revelation 1:18). Here is his direct reported testimony after his resurrection and ascension - 'I died'. That should settle the issue if you are unsure about his death by crucifixion.
  • Early Witness
An early witness explains how Jesus is also 'the Word' (John 1:1), through whom all things were created. He is the eternal 'Son' (Hebrews 1:2) who entered our humanity as 'God' (Hebrews 1:8), and who is the same person as - 'the man Christ [Messiah] Jesus' (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the one in whom 'the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9), one person with both divine and human natures. But, he is not the hybrid offspring of deity and humanity; half deity and half human - not at all. He is fully God and Man, without confusing or mixing the two. Jesus is also the head of a new humanity, the 'last Adam' (1 Corinthians 15:45-47).
So far superior to angels, the eternal Son receives the worship of all heaven's angels: 'Let all God's angels worship him' (Hebrews 1:6).
  • Deity
With such clear Scriptural statements about Jesus being true deity, we hear his own claim that brought a sharp response, when, 'Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they picked up stones to throw at him' (John 8:58).
Why such an outburst? Jesus as a man, was making a direct claim to deity, using one of the most sacred divine names - 'I AM' (see Exodus 3:13-15). Was their objection justified? The New Testament shows that these people were blind to Jesus' true identity. Their inner eyes were closed from seeing who he really was.
  • Truly Human
His human frailty, his sorrows, joys, hunger, his temptations and grief, appear to contradict his divine majesty, but as he comes into the world, he has both. Jesus comes not only to reveal God's best and last word to mankind - he comes in the fullness of his deity to enter into our humanity to be the perfect representative and substitute in his life and death on the cross for those he came to restore to himself.
Now he freely offers a great salvation; that includes deliverance from the personal guilt and power of sin; adoption into the family of God; a new birth by the Spirit of God, and a new standing of perfect acceptance, a justification, or free acquittal, by faith alone in Jesus Messiah alone.
Once you begin to see the extraordinary nature of the claims both made by him and for him, on the pages of the New Testament, the breadth and depth of the outpoured love of God in the provision of such a great salvation, we see how he is beyond compare. Once the day dawns and the Sun's splendour bursts through we do not need the light of the Moon.
  • Awed
Once we are clear about the identity of Jesus and receive this great salvation, we see that no other message could ever eclipse such good news. It is completely sufficient to deal with our deepest problems.
Yes, indeed, there have been many other powerful ideas enter upon the stage of world history, but nothing to compare with Jesus who, 'died for our sins according to the Scriptures' (1 Corinthians 15:3).
In the past, when railway lines were closed, people were given the opportunity to take the very last train home, perhaps on a long difficult journey. But after that, there was never another one.
Now, Jesus is the only the way back to God. Make sure you are clear about Jesus' identity, and make sure you don't miss the final way home to God. Trust him today. Jesus alone is the way to the Father.
Hello, my big goal is to show that biblical Christianity appeals to serious reason and careful thinking - it is grounded in definite history, invites enquiry and is relevant today. So, I aim to share the good news of Christ crucified, risen and ascended - a Saviour who is worthy of your full confidence. And I write to help you find faith or to strengthen your faith. I share Evangelical and Reformed convictions and have a PhD from Reformation International Theological Seminary for work on the validity of reason. Use these links to my Amazon Kindle titles - available at very low prices: 1. Darwin's Puzzle - Unravelling the riddle of reason http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darwins-Puzzle-Unravelling-riddle-ebook/dp/B007ZE34GG/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336243608&sr=1-3 2. I saw Him die - Viewing Jesus' death TODAY http://www.amazon.com/saw-Him-die-Viewing-ebook/dp/B007TX696U/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_2 BUY TODAY - THANK YOU! Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7127646


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