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The Case for Christ

May 8, 2007

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christian faith. If you take out Jesus, the entire Christian faith will fall. However the attacks are never on Jesus’ existence, but rather on Jesus’ incredible claim – His divinity.
We know that Jesus really was born, died on a cross, and had an extensive network of followers. Even ancient Jewish and Roman texts admitted His existence (even if they did not accept His claim to divinity), the impact He was having on the time, and the claim of Jesus’ resurrection.

Now, if Jesus was the Son of God like He claimed to be, than several conclusions will follow.
There one God – the God of the Bible.
There is an afterlife – it’s perfectly good, or perfectly bad
There’s only one way enjoy the ‘perfectly good afterlife’
(and more, but they’re not needed here)

It’s the surrendering yourself part that is the greatest difficulty. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then you have to give up all control of your life. Most people don’t want to do that – so they find any ammo they can and attack the only thing they can.

Before we examine the claim, let’s look at the chain of events.

Some two thousand years ago a man was born as the son of a lowly carpenter. He makes one showing as a twelve year old, and then we know nothing of Him until He’s thirty years old when He’s baptized. From there He simply tells some men to ‘follow Me,’ performs a few miracles, and teaches in the Sinogogs and on the hillsides. In a matter of three years He amasses a huge following of people who think He will be the deliverer – not from their sins – but from the yoke of Roman tyranny.
He his then falsely condemned to death and hung on the cross. His closest followers abandon Him when He’s arrested, and a great many of His other followers shout for His death. He willingly takes the abuse and trial – He doesn’t even defend Himself but says that man has no control over Him. He was killed, and no one expected Him to rise from the dead – even though He said He would.
But suddenly, three days later, those same people who ran from His side in terror, were boldly claiming His resurrection. Over five hundred people claimed to see Him alive again – including several hundred people claiming to see Him at the same time. All but one of Jesus’ closest were brutally killed for their beliefs and thousands upon thousands of others in that time period who saw Him or knew those who saw Him.

So, let’s logically examine Jesus’ claim.

Now, considering the chain of events, Jesus had to be one of three things: a pathological liar, a lunatic, or the Lord of the Earth.
In order for Jesus to be a liar several conclusions follow. He would have to lie in the face of a long and painful death. He would have to lie about his entire existence and still preach so that He is considered, even until this day, one of the greatest ethical teachers in all history.
Think about that. Who would lie, and continue to lie in the face of the most painful death known to man? Who could lie about who he is, and be revered as such a great ethical teacher – even by those who hate your greatest claim? How could Jesus be a liar in every fiber of His being, and yet no one has found fault in Him?
So we can logically scratch ‘liar’ off the list.

Ok, so Jesus wasn’t a liar. Let’s look at the second option – a lunatic.
If Jesus wasn’t playing with a full deck, how could He have gathered such a large following? It is easy to tell when someone isn’t all there – so how could have thousands of people believed Him and been convinced to follow a madman? Even unto death?
That’s just not possible.

But hey, let’s consider a few more things.

Let’s look at Jesus’ followers.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t believe He would rise from the dead until after he had already risen. They claimed to see Jesus after He rose from the dead. So if they were lying, and they didn’t see a risen Jesus, then why would they continue to claim He had risen and was the Son of God even to death on their own cross?
That just doesn’t make sense either.

But what if Jesus didn’t truly die?
Ok, let’s consider a few things. Jesus was crucified at the hands of the Romans – execution experts. He was stabbed through the heart with a spear. He was clarified dead by Roman execution officers. He was then put into a tomb and the tomb was sealed shut with a huge stone and a squad of trained Roman soldiers guarded the tomb.
It is simply not possible that Jesus could have survived being crucified and a spear through the heart, death certification by execution experts, roll away a huge stone, fight off a squad of Roman soldiers who faced death with failure, and still convince His disciples that He had risen from the dead?
That takes more faith than believing His claim.

The only conclusion left is that Jesus really did rise from the dead an thus, He was who He said – the Son of God and Savior to the world.

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7 comments

  1. Another interesting thing to consider is John 19:34 which says…

    “…one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”

    The “water”, being the clear blood plasma, the liquid in which the red and white blood cells are suspended. After death however, the blood cells settle, and the plasma looks clear. This settling of the blood happened because Jesus was dead.


  2. I have seen the Liar, Lunatic, Lord defense many times. You touched on my favorite side note on this, which are His disciples. It is a known fact, stated by both Romans and Jews, that Jesus’ followers, except for Judas and John, were put to death in what can only be rather painful, elongated, torturous deaths. Judas hung himself for his transgressions, and John, as far as we can tell, died of old age. Now keep in mind that these are the people that spent 24/7 with Jesus for years; again another fact that is agreed on by Jesus’ enemies of that time. Remember, that I was on the “nay” side for many years so I have an insight into most arguments.

    Let’s just say Jesus was a liar for a paragraph or two, and Jesus is the world first magician. He has figured out how to do great parlor tricks such as turning water to wine, or making the cripple walk, or even walking on water. I used to be a professional magician, so I have some experience here. Now it is very easy to put a “plant” in the audience that you can “magically” heal and have him walk. No problem there, easy trick. Now for the water to wine. Everyone was already well liquored at that party, so a good magician could, with the help of assistants; manage to trick a bunch of drunken party goers of this. I used to turn water to milk on stage so I can come up with a few ways to pull of water to wine, especially with a drunk crowd. And for walking on water, he walked to the boat that his disciples were in. They could have easily made it up.

    But now we have to base this speculation against known fact. In those days, that cripple man would have been within the town for years most likely. Remember that for the most part there were not huge cities where people did not know each other. The others witnessing this would have known the man for the most part. So calling him a plant is a real stretch. He would have had to live there as a fake cripple for a good while for Jesus to come in and heal him. Not likely. Also put in the above facts of the disciples. As a magician, I know how important a good assistant is to pulling off a lot of tricks. Jesus would have been using his disciples as assistants. Who else would He have used? They traveled with him, they knew him, and they would have known his tricks and the set up for them all. But to the original point: Do you really believe that they would have kept that secret to their graves? Perhaps one or two were loyal enough to go to the grave, but all of them while being tortured? Also, Judas hung himself after he sold out Jesus. If Jesus was simply a liar and magician, a man like Judas would not have thought twice about it. He would have just enjoyed his new found coin.

    Lunatic! Since I am in Texas one of my favorite jabs at the Lunatic Line was David Koresh and the Branch Davidians from Waco. He thought he was Jesus and had many people that followed him to their deaths. Sound familiar? However, Koresh did not sway thousands of people. He has 76 followers and a lot of those were children who were there because of their parents. Even in the computer age and instant communication, he managed a full 76 final followers. Jesus managed thousands in a day that had very little communication between regions and no cell phones and internet to boot! That fact should be fairly staggering. If he was a mad man, it is nearly impossible that he would find thousands of followers, especially ones that would follow him in death. And Koresh never showed up to hundreds of people all over the world at the same time days after he had died, nor was he the fulfiller of any biblical prophecies. And finally the proof is in the loon! David Koresh raped the young girls of his cult, horded weapons of death, and many other things proving that he was not the son of God and that he was a taco short of the fiesta platter! Jesus on the other hand has nothing on his record, including the writings of his enemies, to say he was nothing more than the pure heart he claimed to be. And that is a hard thing to do for a mad man.

    In His Love,
    Hunter


  3. Nice work.


  4. I like these arguments. You sum them up well, I especially appreciate the argument against the swoon theory. Jesus, having been whipped, dragged a cross, crucified, drugged, stabbed, laid in a tomb without food and water unconscious for three days, is supposed to get up, walk a couple of miles on nail pierced feet, convinces the disciples He arose? I don’t think so.
    I first heard that from Gary Habermas, at Liberty University. He has an excellent presentation about Jesus’ validity and the validity of His claims and resurrection.


  5. That is a very nice addition Hunter.
    Well written and makes some good points.

    Thank you very much. 🙂


  6. But what if the bible is wrong, then your arguments don’t work:)


  7. Mat,
    Check out my post Is the Bible Reliable?



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