I have to be completely honest with you, before I started alpha I was extremely ignorant when it came to the life of Jesus. I know what everyone knows. Jesus was born in a manger on Christmas and he died and was resurrected at Easter time. The only other thing I understood was that Jesus, no matter if you believe or not, is the most well-known person on the planet. He has touched the lives of billions. According to Christian tradition Jesus is the Son of God. He was born the Messiah, delivered to the earth to clean the earth of evil, to spread the word of God and to bring forgiveness to the lives of sinners.
Christians pray to him with problems and they ask for his forgiveness when they do something wrong. For me this is one of the big things I struggled to understand, this man died two thousand years ago and he is still the person that people turn to in their times of need or sorrow. I can’t say if that makes it true, if that means he was really the Son of God or if he was just a great storyteller. Was he someone with a brilliant imagination and a beautiful way with words or the most was he the savior of all humanity?
The unknown is a big problem with me, the not knowing if something actually happened or if Jesus was a conman. I just can’t believe that 2.2 billion people, two thousand years on would still allow a conman to influence their lives. People still write songs about him, they make films, perform musicals based on his life and some of the most iconic and beautiful artwork to have ever been created is inspired by the life and death of Jesus Christ. I find it hard to fathom that a conman could weave his way into the lives of so many. This leads us onto another explanation for Jesus claiming to be the Son of God. He was insane.
Now, the same idea applies here; would billions of people over two thousand years believe the word of someone who was insane? If Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and he wasn’t a conman then he must be what we would describe now as clinically insane, schizophrenic. If someone professed now that he was the Son of God there’s a high chance he would be sectioned within the hour and put on medication for the rest of his life. Of course, in the first century they didn’t have the same medical advances as we do now and there would be no such thing as sectioning him. I think C.S Lewes put it perfectly when he wrote “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 the 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 nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
I’ve started to read the bible because I thought the best way to find out what I believe is to read it first hand and not base my own thoughts on those of others. The gospels all outline many different ‘miracles’ that Jesus performed; some of these were in front of thousands of people. Being someone who likes to have evidence for things before I will commit to believing, my first thought when reading this is “witnesses”! That is thousands of people who are supposedly there… so surely if it was all lies or Jesus was insane then these people would have come forward and said that they never saw Jesus performing miracles. People were never named so specific people couldn’t come forward claiming that it was untrue but these places aren’t massive. If Jesus had fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fish then that would be a big deal and it would be spoken about. Equally if it didn’t happen then when the people living in these places read about the feeding of the five thousand they would have avidly disagreed. But from the evidence we have to hand there was no disagreement over what happened. If these miracles happened then, to me, there is no other explanation for them than God. Jesus is the Son of God.
Was Jesus completely human or was he part God? It is a question that divided opinion in my Alpha Group. Some said he was the Son of God in the literal sense others said that he was part of God. People suggested that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are one so Jesus wasn’t technically the Son of God but a human manifestation of God. The bible suggests that Jesus was human; he felt human emotions such as anger, happiness, and grief. He was angry when he saw people buying and selling in the Temple (Matthew 21:12), he showed his anger by overturning tables. Matthew says that Jesus felt hunger after fasting for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:2). This suggests that he was human he had the body of a human. John said that after a journey Jesus felt tired (John 4:6) this would also suggest his body was a human one. He also had human experiences such as temptation. When he fasted for forty days and forty nights he went into the desert and was tempted by the devil. These passages from the bible do seem to suggest that Jesus has a human body.
In the bible it is written that Jesus said ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never go thirsty’ (John 6:35). This suggests that he is God because only God can satisfy you, yet, through Jesus you can be satisfied so therefore he must be God. Jesus also said ‘If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ (John 8:36) it was widely accepted that the only being who can truly forgive you is God so if Jesus had the power to forgive you then he must be a manifestation of God, there is no other explanation for how Jesus could have the ability to forgive people. Jesus performed many miracles that are documented throughout the gospels including bring demons out of people, healing the infirm and forgiving the sinners. No human has the ability to do this for another human simply by touching them; it is impossible. Yet according to the gospels Jesus was able to. This leaves no doubt in my mind that Jesus and God were and are the same person.
The bible is good evidence but because it could potentially be bias we also have to look at corroborating evidence outside of the bible. Did Jesus exist outside the bible? Well, we will be exploring this next time.
Best wishes, Alpha Girl!