Friday, March 2, 2012

Believing the Origin of Jesus

Wonder has been associated with the character of Jesus since the time in which he lived. Clearly those assembled in Jerusalem during festival time were amazed at his ‘qualification’ to be the Messiah, even in the midst of murderous derision:

“When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

~John 7:31b (NRSV)

There seemed to be, at that time, some rejection of the idea that Jesus could be the Messiah because it was known where he was from. There was some belief that the Messiah would come suddenly; that his origin would be a secret until the time he would rise up for Israel. It’s an irony that the Messiah’s birth was prophesied, correctly in Jesus’ case, to occur in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). This, Jesus’ contemporaries had forgotten. Yet again a preconceived (and incorrect) image of Israel’s Saviour had emerged; one that even Jesus, in this passage (verses 28-29), refutes.

The crowd, though, seems to be wondering, ‘Can there be a more qualified man to be our nation’s Saviour?’ Of course, they didn’t, yet, have conclusive evidence of that fact, unlike we do.

Relying On Biblical Evidence

The scope is too short here to outline the evidence of Jesus’ as Messiah, the Son of God. We assume ample biblical evidence, as catered for within the scholarly rigour of the field of Christian theology. At some point we take the evidence, as it’s presented to us, and we choose to believe or not believe.

When we believe the biblical record, that Jesus came from God, the Son made incarnate as a man, along with the historical evidence of his life, ministry, signs and deeds, and his crucifixion, resurrection on the third day, and his ascension, our belief is sound.

As with all belief, there’s a measure of faith required in believing where historical evidence and not physical evidence is to be relied upon. Yet, there are so many things we take as fact in our society where we have to rely on historical evidence alone.

If we’re biblical Christians, and there’s no other kind, this is the basis of our belief: the Bible tells us that Jesus is from God, given by the Father to the entire world; that he became a man, Jesus, the incarnate Son, to live in this world as we live, and to die once as we die, but was resurrected—the first one—defeating death. Achieving what Jesus achieved is only possible because he came, immanently, from God.

The clearest evidence that Jesus came from the Father is he, so clearly, went to be with the Father (Acts 1:9).

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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