if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some
among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there
is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ
has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also
is in vain.
Corinthians 15:12-14 NASB
many instances of forged miracles, and prophecies...ought reasonably to
begat a suspicion against all relations of this kind."
The deity of Christ, as proclaimed throughout the Bible, has technically
already been established if one accepts the first two steps in the line
of reasoning shown above. Of course, it isn't quite that simple, is it?
as there are always more wrong solutions to a problem than right ones, false
and conflicting representations of Jesus abound. There are countless people
and organizations outside of mainline Christianity that say they, too, believe
the Bible or "believe in Jesus". But if you were to inquire further,
each would paint an altogether different picture of Christ than what has
historically been recognized. Not every professed belief about Jesus is
justified by Scripture.
Many groups deny Jesus'
holy deity. Some emphasize their own publications to be even more authoritative
than the Bible. Others simply market their own conception of Jesus as you
would a new magazine subscription. And probably all claim theirs to be "new"
and "more relevant". One local religious group even advertised
itself in the newspaper with the incredulous slogan "Try our God."
To believe that the
real characteristics of the Messiah Jesus are flexible matters solely for
a church's rebranding team to decide is being forgetful of the mutually
exclusive character of truth.
If there was a real Jesus, then he had real characteristics. Let's find
out what those are. Moreover, two
things need clarification:
1) We must know
for certain that the Bible conclusively exalts Jesus as Almighty God,
2) We must know
what it really means to believe in Jesus.
Because Jesus Christ
is the central figure of the Bible, we cannot stop short of accurately defining
his person and his work. It is not an option to vaguely consent "yes,
the Bible seems to be true", and then walk off without considering
what the central figure wants to communicate to us, personally, here and
So to understand the
real Jesus, the one fitting the Bible's description, and to understand him
in the manner the biblical authors intended to communicate, we must identify
Jesus beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Belief in the Bible
is pointless if one, willfully or otherwise, misinterprets the Bible's most
important point: that Jesus Christ is the fleshly incarnation of God whose
death on the cross effected
our salvation long promised throughout the Old Testament. Salvation
is found in no other name than his.
1.2 Where do we begin?
Jesus our judge? Is the Bible his moral constitution by which his judgment
of us will be guided?
We will begin identifying
Jesus by calling attention to the historical non-biblical
material that exists about him. This is expectedly less complete
in terms of his life, character, and surrounding events, but it puts to
rest any notions that he may not have actually existed outside of certain
Then we will turn our
attention towards the content of the biblical writings. Beginning with the
Old Testament, we will see if Jesus fulfills the prophecies
of the Messiah (Christ in Greek) that God promised would
Next, the New Testament
will testify as to whether or not Jesus claimed to be that Messiah.
Last, we will look into
the events and statements concerning his resurrection
from the dead. Jesus' resurrection, above all else, is the greatest proof
of his identity.
NEXT: What do we know about
Jesus - from non-biblical sources?
Do miracles really happen?
What is faith?