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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LXXIII. Who Do You Say I AM? Part 2

If you have come to this point you are now willing to accept Jesus was real or you still are open to the idea He might be.  Many Christians still have a hard time understanding these because they do not believe that Jesus did the things that the Bible says He did.  Without these things happening, Jesus would be no different than Buddha, Vishnu, Confucius, Mohammad, Joseph Smith, and others who had what they considered ways to enlightenment or spiritual greatness.  If these things did not happen historically then Jesus is no better than Harry Potter, Gandolf, Merlin, and others who fairy tale like performed magic.  Rest assured Jesus did these things.  Below is a list of things Jesus did.

Miracles by Jesus. These are real. Not one is symbolic, yet they all have a lesson with them.
  1. healings of sickness, infirmities, and deformities
  2. resurrections
  3. demonic deliverance
  4. transfiguration
  5. prophecies
  6. defying natural laws (water to wine, walking on water, feeding of multitudes, calming storms)

Lessons (short version).  These (and more) are real life lessons and have obvious meanings.  He really said them.
  1. born again
  2. the sabbath
  3. divorce
  4. sexual relations
  5. personal relations
  6. attitudes
  7. money
Parables (short version).  These (and more) are life lessons but have a deeper meaning.  He really said them.
  1. talents
  2. wedding banquet
  3. treasure
  4. lost sheep
  5. lost coin
  6. rich man and Lazarus
  7. good Samaritan
  8. prodigal son
  9. mustard seed
Things He did as God. These things made Him man and God simultaneously.
  1. forgave sins
  2. gave up His own spirit
  3. took sins upon Himself
  4. Resurrected
  5. freed those in captivity
In essence, the Bible states things are real, things can be used as lessons, and that Jesus was fully God and fully man. If there is any doubt about any of these things then calling yourself a Christian needs to be redefined and you need to reevaluate your relationship with God.  But these are just the tip of the iceberg.  Jesus did so much more than what we have in writing.  Main is point is He was a real man, doing real things, but doing them with the authority of God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LXXII. Who Do You Say I AM? Part 1

This is a question we all will have to answer one day. Whether we want to admit it or not we already have asked ourselves this question because we all have an answer. But is it the right answer? Matthew 16:13-17
  • 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
  • 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; some Elijah; others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
  • 15 He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"
  • 16 And Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
  • 17 And Jesus responded, "Simon, son of Jonah, blessed are you, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father which is in heaven."
What are some of the answer we would get in today's time? Most Christians would repeat what Peter said and think they know it all. Many on the fence would say He was a great teacher with a lot of wisdom. Those on the other side of the fence would say He was just a man. Even yet, others would say He was not even real.

Was He real? Scholars will note that the only major writings we have of Him are from accounts dating after His death. No one in the history of mankind has changed shaped the human race, not even Rome itself. Never has there been so many writings to prove anyone else' existence or non-existence in this case in all history. But why not contemporaries?  They did not write about Him.  But the same could be said of other figures like Muhammad, Buddha, and many others in history.  It does not make them unreal. 

First of all, how many people could write in 30 AD to begin with?   None of His disciples were schooled men, except for maybe Levi (Matthew), and he did write a book.   Others like Peter had friends to do some of the writing like Silas and Mark who only learned of Jesus after His death.  The only ones who would have had the schooling in that area would have been Jewish Torah students. They would not have included something that they felt was blasphemous. Such as Saul.  But when Saul converted to following Christ then even He started to write things down at a later date.  Luke, a doctor, historian and friend of Paul investigated all circumstances.  Roman scholars would not written of such events because it was only a three year period of which they considered no threat to their authority. And if it was a threat to their authority do we think Rome would have included it? But later once Christianity became a force inside Rome writers started to investigate. But of course, they have been disregarded or "debunked" by anti-theists.  And yet, when Homer writes about history (one account) it is accepted as fact by the same people.  So, He was real.  Most historians (subjectively) would agree.

Then who was He?  Born sometime around 4 BC in the land of the Roman province of Judea to a woman named Mary and a man named Joseph, who was a carpenter by trade.  By tradition, Joseph would have trained him to be a carpenter as well.  As He grew He claimed to be more than just the son of the carpenter.  He claimed to be the Son of God.  He claimed to be God.  He taught in the streets of Judea.  He performed miracles.  He forgave sins.  He was tried by Judeans as blasphemous.  He was executed by Rome.  He was raised again by His Father.  He became the sacrificial lamb that took away our sins.  He now sits on His kingly throne, Ruler of the universe.

One day you will be asked, who do you say I AM?  The answer is what Peter said.  One day, At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Some will do it voluntarily because they know who Jesus is, others will be forced to do it because they have denied the truth

Sunday, December 4, 2011

LXXI. The Gifts that Never Keep on Giving

Out of all the commercials for Christmas this year the worst by far are the Best Buy commericals; the ones where individuals are competing against Santa Claus.   They are even worse than Walmart and the over playing of AC/DC's Back in Black (imagine why they chose that song...cha-ching) every commercial break.  Best Buy is not the place where Christmas gifts should be purchased from.  There are no items in that store that promote anything but materialistic relationships that never amount to anything.

When people give gifts it is usually because they want to show someone how much they care.  Most gifts are of course given around Christmas and birthdays.  But when are real gifts given?  Anytime.  It's not when you give the gift it is why you give the gift.  Gifts should be from the heart not the pocket book.  Especially this time of the year when we do focus on what people mean to us.

Buying iPads, iPods, iPhones, cameras, Playstations, Xbox, certain jewelry, and even to the point of some clothes are some items that seriously are a waste of money during the Christmas Season.  Nothing says "I love you" like a iPhone, right?.  "Merry Christmas sweetie, here is an iPad because when I saw it, I immediately thought of you".   These kind of gifts are for people who feel like they have to buy relationships or they feel like they didn't accomplish anything.  No, gifts should be more sentimental.  Pictures of landscapes that remind you of a certain place or time , certain CDs that have that special song on it, other certain jewelry that will remind you of your relationship, these are gifts that we need to be giving.

Sure, this is also a time of celebration.  And certain gifts can show that feeling.  It is also a time when you can give things that people need.  But the reason why you are doing it is because you are sacrificing your own materialism for someone else's needs.  And that is a true gift as well.  We all have done it and will always do it.  Giving material gifts are okay to do, of course.  But too many times all we do is focus on that one big gift, the one that everyone will say, "Wow!", and that usually is something electronic.  But if you look back on your life you will notice that the best gifts you have ever gotten were the small items that no one paid attention to.

This is sort of like the gift God gave us.  God did not shout to the world, "here is something you all want".  But it was something we all needed.  And it was something that was from His heart.  His gift was given in the quiet little village of Bethlehem.  No banners.  No gimmicks.  No sales.  No competition.  But this gift, unlike what Best Buy can do, is the gift that will keep on giving.  Jesus Christ.

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