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Pod Cast Introduction:
America recently watched a high profile television talk show host insinuate on live air that the US Vice-president suffered from mental instability due to his acknowledgement of speaking with and listening to Jesus in his prayer time. Sadly 2 more of her co-hosts and much of the live audience joined in on the condescension and mockery with snarky agreements and clapping.
Sadly there are millions of people that believe they hold the intellectual rationale and reasoning behind is God real? or if so, who is God? For some reason these same people are cool if you are referring to Muhammed, Confucius or Buddha….but the minute you bring up the name of Jesus, their eyes begin to bug out while their tongue goes spastic. Why is this? What is it about the name Jesus that attracts so much human energy?…good or bad?
Most people have learned about the trial and eventual crucifixion of Jesus 2,000 years ago. But why are so many people today still attempting to prosecute Jesus in the court of public opinion today?
Is Jesus Christ really the Son of God or just a figment in some people’s imagination?
There has never been nor will there ever be a more controversial figure, in world history than Jesus Christ, whose name is more aptly transcribed from Greek to English as….”Jesus the Messiah”.
He arrived in Bethlehem, Israel via special delivery, stepping out of an unknown dimension that exceeds time, space and matter, as we know it. His life’s purpose was so unique it was decided even before the foundations of the earth were formed.
He came with a pre-determined destiny for the sole objective of delivering mankind by conquering their sins and eventual death exclusively for all men and women.
His character and conduct was polar-opposite to conventional wisdom. He made no bones about it either. Picture yourself in a crowd with Jesus when a man or woman arrives with leprosy? What would you do? How would you react to the sight of someone heading right toward you with dead peeling skin and lumps, lesions and other deformities?….and oh yeah…by the way their condition is highly contagious??? Honestly!…How would you react??? Stay as far and as clear away from them as possible….right? I know that would be my reaction.
But what does Jesus do with these circumstances??….He flips the ordinary script and runs directly toward them with loving arms, prays and heals their disease. In a different passage we see Him engaging the woman at the well. Scripture reveals He very quietly convicts her of sin while simultaneously removing her condemnation and ultimately healing her heart. How is this even possible? And who does this?… Throughout the Gospels we see Him hanging with the outcasts, liars, sinners, thieves, prostitutes and rebels. He was very clearly comfortable in His own skin.
Sadly many in the world at the time did not know how to react to this revolutionary figure. The educated were stumped, the governments were mystified, the Roman army was perplexed and the Sanhedrin priests & Pharisees were threatened.
Yet somehow many of the ordinary folks and locals were drawn to Him like an incomprehensible magnet. How can one explain this? His love was apparently all consuming, His passion was infectious, His wisdom was inexplicable and His friendship was deeply coveted.
Jesus clearly is the most radical, counter culture figure ever known to mankind.
Now fast-forward the Delorean time machine 2,000 plus years to our early 21st century today. A fundamental supposition to Jesus disciples presently is the understanding that He walked in and experienced our human nature as the incarnate Son of God. He announces to us as to what we can expect in our lives, principally because His mission was such that people relate to Him and each other through our common struggles.
In other words, Jesus can never ask you to do or say something that He has not already done Himself.
The apostle John recorded Jesus advice to His followers concerning life’s inevitable adversities in John 16:33:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (NLT).
The word trial is replaced with tribulations in the Berean, New American and King James translations. As such, we can broadly interpret the following as: “Here on earth you will have many trials and tribulations”
Christians are forewarned about our upcoming trials because unlike anyone in world history, Jesus understood this subject better than anyone.
But unlike us, He knew well in advance and accepted the outcome of this fictitious guilty verdict for the greater good of His mission.
Every detail without exception concerning the life & deity of Jesus has been scrutinized and tried by virtually each culture on earth. Beginning with his birth through the womb of a virgin to His ministry on earth as a man, on to His execution by crucifixion, than finally culminating in the resurrection of Heaven’s king.
History reveals that controversial charges followed Him everywhere. King Herod was so threatened by the unknown infant Jesus, that he plotted his capture for the sole motive of murdering this innocent child. As a 12-year old boy, Jesus astonished the challenges of the local synagogue’s elderly teachers and doctors of His time with uncanny wisdom and understanding.
During Jesus adult ministry as depicted throughout the Gospels, the Pharisees were constantly challenging Jesus or attempting to trick His disciples with every opportunity they thought was open. They would go so far as to twist and distort the Old Testament scriptures that they professed to uphold in order to invalidate the world’s coming Messiah.
Examples of this can be found in Matthew 9:9-15: The Pharisees questioned why the disciples master would eat with tax collectors or sinners?…can someone show me where is it written that to eat with tax collectors is forbidden? In this same passage, the Pharisees boast of fasting and question why does Jesus or His disciples not fast as they do? Certainly fasting is good for spiritual strength as evidenced when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), but where is this offered as a commandment?
The patterns continue whenever you see the Pharisees or Saducees enter the scene. Chapter after chapter, verse after verse Jesus was preaching the good news and healing the sick. And yet throughout these 4 Gospels, the Pharisees were attempting to stop him at every turn
When Jesus casts out a demon, the Pharisees accused him of casting out a devil by the authority of the prince of devils….REALLY????…How does this even remotely make any sense??? or when Jesus and His disciples picked a grain to eat on the Sabbath. What did the religious leaders do?…accused them of working on the Sabbath!!! They were not working but plucking off wheat kernels and eating them. Where is it written one cannot eat on the Sabbath?
Speaking about our day of rest, consider Matthew 12:8: “For the Son of man is Lord over the Sabbath”…. and still somehow these men are attempting to impose their traditions and power on the Son of Man, who in fact made the Sabbath! The next few verses show them asking Jesus if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath, to which Jesus simply responded by healing the man with the withered hand. I love His answer!!! What was the Pharisees reaction??? They went off the charts ballistic. They decided that ultimately Jesus and His teachings must be destroyed.
The greater irony in all this is the Pharisees were propping themselves up as the judges and keepers of the Torah (Law). You see, Jesus did not come to destroy the law but in fact He came to actually fulfill it (Matthew 5:17)
As the painting of the crucifix on trial at the top of this post illustrates, the world today is still cross – examining Jesus. There are many that are attempting to trick the jurors into not believing. The evidence on the courtroom canvass presented by the prosecutor represents some of the many objections that appear common today.
EXHIBIT A: “Where is the Proof of the Resurrection?”
EXHIBIT B: “What about other paths to God?…Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc
EXHIBIT C: “Is He a liar?, Lunatic?, Prophet?, or Son of God?”
EXHIBIT D: “If Jesus is real, why is there so much suffering, poverty and disease in the world today”
Governments, organizations and individuals are perpetually denouncing Jesus, calling everything regarding Jesus into question. Perhaps there is nothing larger than Jesus claim that no one goes to the father (God) except through Him (John 14:6).
Many in the world apparently are willing to turn a blind eye to His life’s fulfillment of mathematically impossible bible prophecies, or the eyewitness accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection, or even to modern day manifestations of medical healings and miracles in His name
Perhaps you are one of the skeptics concerning Jesus? Consider the life and crucifixion are well – established historical facts validated by numerous sources outside of Christianity, the church and the Bible. We also know that Jesus spoke more often of the consequences of an eternity in hell more than He did of Heaven. Why do you think He did this?
Let me pause here for a second and offer this extraordinary quote from our recent past:
“I am trying to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Jesus. “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher but I don’t accept His claim to be God” That is the one thing we must not say. A man that is merely a man and said the things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with the man that says he is a poached egg or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God or else a mad man or something else. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about Him being a great human teacher” C.S. Lewis / Oxford professor
The intent of this subject is to investigate the evidence as though we were in a court of law. I will examine the historical, medical, forensic and archaeological clues plus testimonies of leading experts from their respective fields of study
I will also consider and expect the corroboration of the following:
“What happened to the missing body”?
“ The credibility of the witnesses”
“His supposed birth in Bethlehem”
“Was there a star in Bethlehem”?
“The Fingerprint Evidence”
“Prophecies of the Passion”
….and so much more…..
If you are a dissenter, agnostic, atheist, pessimist or doubter…I am grateful that you are reading these words. Please consider following along for a while with an open mind. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome
As always….just my opinion….
My name is Mark Russak & thanks for joining “The Russak Outlook”