Tonight on Liberty Lisa’s show, I had the privilege to speak about Messiach (aka Yashua, or Jesus Christ). From the moment he was born, he had people wondering who he was. All during his life, & continuing to today people asked him, “Who are you?”(A) “Who and what is Jesus?” King Herod put a price tag on his head from the time he arrived. Herod Antipas, after killing John the Baptist secretly plotted to finish the work by killing Yahshua.(B) People have either hated or loved him; he has a way of polarizing people. As I say, he was the most influential person of all times. H.G. Wells & many other historians have said that. One can’t understand the history of western civilization without knowing about him. One can’t make sense of my life either without understanding his role in it. And yet in modern times, it is popular to deny he even existed.
SO WAS CHRIST EVEN REAL??? Modern people, with a touch of arrogance, like to question the whole storyline of Christ. Even though there is evidence of his existence, they’d sooner believe some pagan myth, Hollywood drama, or govt. statistic. I understand their skepticism; modern people are “too smart” to believe in Christ & the Bible. So I ask everyone, where is the life we have lost in living?? Why all this despair & suicide & murder? Why is our culture so focused on death? I discovered that Christ’s statement “He who finds his life [as the World teaches you] will lose it, & he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”(C) Christ came into my life so suddenly & so powerfully, it was a miracle. The change in me was so complete that I could never have brought it to pass on my own resources. He himself created the faith & obedience that I used to come to him. He said he choose me, not the other way around. It was nothing short of a second birth. You know you can’t birth yourself—but it takes a mother & a womb. There is no way I could have made myself into a new creation—it was a real second birth. I challenge anyone to present a more deeper valid experience. The new me was a real experience of metamorphosis. Christ’s regeneration & freedom from guilt & assurance of salvation became the central reality of my life. When one has experienced such a profound event, you can’t renounce the reality of its meaning to one’s life.
“I’M NOT MUCH, BUT I’M YOURS”, & so I began a new life in Christ. Christ was well known for reaching out to people who didn’t deserve attention & love. He was well known in his life time for doing shocking things that were totally unexpected. His unexpected outside-the-box actions are a great clue to understanding God Almighty. You can’t reduce God to a formula. Yahshua constantly did the unexpected. He tells a man not to attend his father’s funeral, & others to hate their parents. Instead of respecting someone’s large pig herd, he destroys the whole herd of 2,000 pigs, by casting demons into it. He told the religious leaders, “In truth, I tell you, tax collectors & whorers are entering God’s kingdom before you.”(D) He had the title “Prince of Peace” and then said, “I bring conflict between a man & his family.”!(E) Today, many people think that giving their life to Christ means that it will make your life a continual happy birthday party of happiness. Well, Christ is the biggest party pooper. He was very blunt about the cost of following him. He told his followers, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself & take up his cross & follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, & whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”(F) The cost of following him?—your life. Deny yourself & carry a cross. No birthday party here. Expect to be surprised. Christ may just spindle & mutilate the person you gave to him. Hey, it’s his to do what he wants. But remember, it wasn’t that much to begin with.
CHRIST’S INSURANCE POLICY. “All things work together for good to them who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”(G) Christ has an amazing way to turn & redeem everything rotten & evil into something good. I have gone through all kinds of messes, & look back in astonishment how Christ transformed & reframed things for the good. The guy is really great with those kinds of miracles…absolutely unique that way. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the World.”(H) “…you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”(I) An early Christian leader said, “When we are killed, we conquer.” Christianity has been successful globally in spite of its intense persecution. (J) Christ allowed his profound teachings to be transmitted to the world by a bunch of uneducated followers, what a recipe for disaster. And then His living Spirit was powerful enough to make it happen. I identify with the promises of Christ and indeed all the Words of Scripture as being the very Words of God because they have described the reality I’ve lived in. Christ said to try his words and you would see that they come from God.(K) I did, and they do.
“MY LORD & MY GOD”, Thomas said as he worshipped Christ. The Jewish people in Yahshua’s time (and even still today) grew up hearing & repeating DT 6:4, the Sh’ma: “Sh’ma Israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad” (Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.) They were strict monotheists like Thomas. But it slowly sunk into them that this man was something unique. They heard him make claims like: “I and the Father are one.” “I am the light of the world.” “He who beholds me beholds the One who sent me.” “All may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” He forgave men their sins against God (L), knowing that ISA 43:25 clearly states only God can forgive sin. And those who could not see him spiritually, and recognize that he was special were outraged that he made himself equal to God.(M) The Greeks & Romans had deified many men as divine. Why did it bother them that Christians viewed Christ as divine?? Because they held he was God Almighty, not just a god. The Jews had many rabbis that had cult-like followings, why were they upset that Rabbi Yahshua had a following?? Because the devotion his followers gave was something special—they allowed Yahshua to say things like “He who beholds me beholds the One who sent me.” His disciples allowed him to heal & forgive sins in a fashion only God could do. Had Yahshua not been unique, he would have been accepted by the world as so many other cult leaders, who claimed divinity. According to the Roman Imperial legate (governor) of Bithynia (112 A.D.) in a report to Rome, the Christians not only viewed Christ as God, but the popularity of their religion was causing everyone to quit worshipping the old gods. And that is the problem people have with him, Christ causes people to abandon their idols, sacrifice their selfishness and self-centeredness, & quit their sinful ways. The modern makers of idols are threatened just like back in the days after Pentecost, and those who profit & love sin also feel endangered.
(A) Examples of people wondering about him incl.: MT 13:54, 15:31, MK 1:27, 2:7, 4:41, 14:61 & others. (B) LK 13:31 (C) MT 10:39 (D) MT 21:31 (E) MT 10:34 (F) MT 16:24-25 (G) RM 8:28 (H) JN 16:33b (I) JN 16:20b (J) Tertullian, Apologeticus, 50.3 (K) JN 7:17, 8:31-32, & 15:7 (L) MK 2:5, LK 7:48-50 (M) One of several examples is at JN 5:16-18, see his trial MK 14:60-64