Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fulfilled Prophecy in Jesus' Life & Death

Last blog we dealt with Jesus' claims about himself. For this one we will be talking about what the rest of the Bible days about Him.

Josh McDowell points out in his book "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict," that Jesus had three main credentials. They are: 1) The impact of His life through miracles and teachings, 2)Fullfilled prophecy in His life and 3) His resurrection.

First, let's talk about the prophecies of the Old Testament fullfilled in Jesus' life. 

The Old Testament, the first 75% of the Bible, was written over a period of a thousand years. It gives the history of God's creation of mankind and his promise to the nation of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament, there are nearly 300 references to the the Messiah- or the Anointed One-who would lead Israel. Every one of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. 

In this short video clip, Lee Strobel, a journalist who was converted from atheism to Christianity and has written many books on the subject, including "The Case for Christ" shows us the probability of Christ fulfilling not all, but only 48 of these prophecies.

In case you didn't couldn't watch the video, the probability of Jesus fulfilling 8 major prophecies as determined by Professor Stoner in his book Science Speaks is 1 in 10^17. The probability of him fulfilling 48 of the approximately 300 prophecies is even higher. Astronomically so. It's more than improbable. It is basically a statistical impossibility.

Unless there is something bigger at play here. Unless He is more than just a man.

Of course, I am working off of my belief that the Bible is true and 100% infallible. Not everyone holds that belief. If you are skeptical, please stay tuned for the next few blogs. I hope to change your mind.

The final thing I would like to talk about in this installment is the Resurrection of Jesus. 

The Resurrection sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. No other religion claims resurrection from the dead for its originator. 

The resurrection is the major belief on which Christianity is hinged. If there is no resurrection, there is no Christianity.

I'm going to insert here a couple of links that will provide more extensive research on the subject and then summarize them. 

The first is a series of videos on Josh McDowell's website. I've mentioned him earlier as well as his book The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Here he gives a more detailed account of the way Jesus died, how we know that he was really dead, how he was buried and evidence that his resurrection is a historical fact. 

Secondly we have an interview conducted by Lee Strobel, who I have also mentioned earlier. He is the author of the book The Case for Christ as well as many others. In this interview, the timeline of the Resurrection accounts in the Bible is being discussed. Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University is making the case that Paul has the earliest written account of the resurrection and what that means for historians looking for evidence of the resurrection.

Stay tuned for the next installment. I'll be discussing the Bible as a whole and what sets it apart from every other holy book in the world.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Was Jesus Really Who He Claimed to Be?

My topic has shifted from what I originally decided to write about in this series of Bible Study blogs. Before we can talk about how the Bible speaks to certain issues in our culture, we first have to look at the Bible itself. What authority does it have to speak to our culture?

These days, most people are not convinced that the Bible is anything other than a collection of myths, legends, exaggerated history and man's idea of how things should be. This is tragic not only because of the eternal implications of such a belief, but also because when viewed properly (as a document inspired by an all-knowing and all-powerful God), the Bible is truly the greatest book of history, wisdom and practical instruction, as well as being the greatest and truest love story of all time.

And so, I am endeavoring to convince the unconvinced in this series. No small task, I know...but a worthy task nonetheless. It is a topic that I am intensely passionate about. The Bible is the basis of my entire life-because and only because I believe it is inspired by The almighty God. 

More about that later...

Let's talk about Jesus. Who was he, really? Was he God? Just a man? A good moral teacher perhaps?

Jesus of Nazareth truly did live. He is not a fictitious character, not a myth or a legend. There is more than enough historical evidence to support the claim that he was a real man who walked upon the earth, had a following, was crucified and somehow rose from the dead. 

Many people believe that Jesus did live, but are skeptical as to whether or not he was really God. I've heard many people say in my own life that they believe Jesus was a good man, an advocate for social justice, a great teacher. Nothing more, nothing less. 

What many of them don't understand is that Jesus intentionally left no room for this assumption. C.S. Lewis said it this way on page 52 of his book "Mere Christianity."

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonesense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

In another great book, "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell, the author presents to us the "Trilemma," or the three alternatives we have for consideration. Either Jesus was a lunatic, a liar or He is Lord and God: 

Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh. Either his claim is true or false. If it is false, he either didn't know they were false and was therefore a lunatic, or he knew they were false and was deliberately lying-in which case he was a complete fool for dying for something that wasn't true. On the other hand, if his claim was true, then he is God! The choice is yours, whether you wish to accept Him or reject Him. Either way, your choice does not affect the truth of His claim. 

Because of time restraints (I am after all a senior in college) and because of the sheer volume of research and information available on this topic, I just can't cover it all. But I would like to leave you with a few resources if you would like to consider doing more of your own research on this topic. 

Most of the research for this blog came from "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" Josh McDowell. It's a wonderful resource to have. I refer to it often.

"Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis is another great resource. It is considered one of his greatest works. 

Also: "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel.

In this blog, I briefly dealt with Jesus' claims about himself. In the next I will hopefully be dealing with claims the Bible makes about Jesus and the historicity of the Resurrection. Stay tuned! God bless! :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coming Soon!

It's been almost 2 full years since I last blogged. *Lowers head in shame*

But I'm back (for a little while, anyway). I'm now a Senior at Indiana Bible College and as a requirement for a class, I have been asked to complete an online Bible Study in a series of 10 entries. I'm very excited about this assignment because of two things. First-I'm a horrible slacker when it comes to this blog and this will force me to revive it and second-I love studying the Bible. So stay tuned!

My topic (should it be approved by my wise and gracious instructor Chris Henderson) will be Biblical stances on modern, hard-hitting issues.

Possible topic for next entry: Abortion. What does the Bible say about it and how does it apply to us directly.

Can't wait! God bless!