Jesus Christ—The Challenge
What about Jesus Christ?
The Bible claims and He claims that He is the Son of God and that by dying on a Roman cross He accepted the penalty for the sins of every individual. The further claim is made that an individual, by placing confidence in Jesus Christ as having done this for him, obtains eternal life.
What about Jesus Christ, then?
It is immediately obivious that such fantastic claims demand a thorough investigation before they are believed. Any person who believes these claims without first completely examining the evidence concerning them is being intellectually dishonest with himself. But any individual who rejects them without submitting them to the same thorough examination is making just as great an intellectual mistake.
What about Jesus Christ and His claims, then?
One thing is certain: they demand investigation. You cannot afford to toss them off with some cheap irresponsible explanation. To do so is folly and intellectual suicide.
What do we do about it?
Let us look at the facts which have a bearing on the many questions raised by Jesus Christ and His claims.
Predictions Made in the Bible Concerning Jesus Christ.
I think we can agree that the claims of Jesus Christ stand or fall with the Bible for it claims to be God’s revelation of Christ.
What does the Bible say about Jesus Christ?
The Bible predicted the exact day of the crucifixion of Christ 445 years before He was born! In Daniel chapter 9 it is stated that from the time that the commandment was issued (by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 445 B.C.) to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem until the time that Messiah the Prince (or Christ the Prince, i.e. Christ, the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah”) would enter Jerusalem to be cut off would be seven weeks and three-score and two (69) weeks (of years). Sir Robert Anderson K.C.B., L.L.D., former Chief of Scotland Yard, in his book The Coming Prince points out that the number of days between the commandment of Artaxerxes and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is 173,880 days. The Babylonian year consisted of 12 months of 30 days each. The time interval then of 173,880 days is exactly 69 periods of seven years, just as was predicted by Daniel hundreds of years before!
What conclusions can we draw?
Either this happened by chance or else God did reveal, through the Bible, the coming of Jesus Christ. There are many other predictions which we could examine just as readily.
What the Historians Say About Jesus Christ
Flavius Josephus who ranks with Heroditus as one of the greatest historians says, “When Pontius Pilate, at the suggestion of principal men among us had condemned Him (Jesus Christ) to the cross (A.D. 33 April 3) those that loved Him did not forsake Him, for He appeared to them alive again after the third day as the prophets had foretold these and other wonderful things about Him.” (Ref: Works of Flavius Josephus, page 166). Other historians such as Justin Martyr, Celsus, Polycarp, have similar. accounts
The Self Description of Jesus Christ
He described Himself as the “Redeemer,” the “Saviour,” the “King,” the “Judge,” and the “Son of God.”
1. He stated that He was the final revelation of God.
2. He was the astonishing paradox who condemned others but never Himself.
3. He never once hinted that He was unworthy to teach all others moral truth.
What conclusions can we draw about such a Man?
There are great intellectual problems posed on any other grounds than accepting Him for what He claims to be. We cannot reject His Diety without casting a great slur on His character. If He is not what He claims to be, we are perfectly justified in calling Him an imposter, a deceiver, a blasphemer, and a fool. He must become infamous as the supreme example of egotistical megalomania. And yet at the same time He has caused men of all ages to stop and wonder if He really did rise from the dead.
In conclusion, we are faced with the fact that we cannot withdraw without considering Him carefully. His person, His message, and history itself demand that we scrutinize Him carefully and come to a conclusion.
If we fail to do this, we are fools!