Thursday, November 28, 2013

Christ is Worth it All

 Xerxes the king of Persia once boarded a boat. Later it began to sink because there were too many men aboard. The ship started sinking; sinking more and more; it appeared that all aboard would drown. But an officer called out to the shipmen: “Are you not willing to sacrifice and die for your king?” Suddenly almost all the men leaped out of the boat into the water and drowned in order to save their king.

The question for Christians: How much will you sacrifice for your King? Most Christians will not be called to forfeit their life for their faith, but how much will you sacrifice in order to serve others for your King?
   We should aim to serve King Jesus and love others since James calls an undefiled and pure religion one that helps the widows and the poor.
Jesus Came and Gave Himself for His People
Jesus comes to His sheep by His glorious grace through His Word and Spirit to save us. Jesus “gave Himself for me” (Titus 3).
Christians ought to ponder:
  • Trouble comes—but Jesus came.
  • Failure comes—but Jesus came.
  • Problems and pain come—but Jesus came.
And Jesus Christ comes to bring peace, joy, hope, and cheerfulness to all who trust Him (Romans 5:1 & 15:13). Today give Jesus full swing of your heart as He declares to you that He will pardon every sin; heal every wound; and overcome every trouble. Christ comes, swiftly, in a full gallop upon His victory horse to triumph for His people. Yearn for Him and you will find peace for your soul no matter how things unfold.
As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you, O God (Psalm 42:1).
Jesus has Conquered!

 Jesus is mighty to save; mighty in battle, mighty in reassurance, and mighty in conquest. We must abide in Jesus. In our shame, we must hurl ourselves upon Jesus. When we fall, when we are crowded-in by trouble, when we find ourselves desiring relief, we must turn to Jesus Christ and all the force of Hell’s fury will not pry the arms of Jesus from us; He’s master and Lord. He’s a saving Savior who will never let us go.
It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness (Charles H. Spurgeon).
If you have the chance see my new Devotional Apologetics E-book Jesus the Great Logos HERE

Friday, November 22, 2013

Killing Jesus Christ

Killing Jesus Christ: Book Introduction

Of all the words penned about the death of Jesus Christ, none have persisted more regularly than ''Savior.'' Jesus had a purposed redemptive mission, which we've been properly reminded again and again.

killing jesus book bill oreillyBut this slights the history many contemporary authors tell us. Several modern writers deny that Christ died to atone for sin. They claim that He came to show men how to live a moral life. In contrast to the assumptions of modernity, Christ’s death wasn't mainly a model to be followed—it was first and foremost a saving act. It provided real expiation and propitiation. Christ’s mission flowed from this core determination and it makes no sense if severed from its atoning purpose.

To understand the chief reason for the death of Christ, it starts with the Fall, sin, and humanity’s alienation from God (Romans 3:23-26). The cross places great emphasis on human depravity and sin, the limitations of what men can achieve, and the tragic nature of wayward-religious authority.

During Jesus’ ministry, the religious leaders of Israel felt that events were moving in the wrong direction and that a spiritual catastrophe would befall the Jewish people if Christ was not stopped. Nonetheless, those who followed the priestly leaders ultimately fell on the losing side of history. Indeed, a dreadful descent struck Israel, but it came from rejecting Christ and not following Him. Within a generation of its official rejection of Christ, as predicted by Him, the temple, the priesthood, and Sadducean Judaism were soon after wiped away by terrible judgments. That which arose in the land of Israel was barrenness, desolation, awfulness, and misshapenness.

Christ died, and life came to individual Christians and the church universal—His movement would eventually sweep up the whole Roman Empire. Israel, and soon after Rome, would only be able to look back sadly at their customs, traditions, and foundations that were eroded. What is required? That which Christ’s death and resurrection provided: life and a real restoration of hope. The recovery of Roman and Jewish souls, as well as all men, is the leading necessity: the salvation that was provided by the work of Christ.

Jesus agreed with the priests about the need for atonement as well as a few other things. However, He transformed Judaism from a work-righteousness religion to a grace-based kingdom, centered on certain truths about a holy God and sinful men. In the early part of His ministry, Christ prophesied, ''I will be arrested and crucified, but I will rise from the grave on the third day.”

Jesus kept His promise. He also described His church as a driving force throughout history, leading to an empire of grace, truth, and peace. He seemed to regard love's triumph as a historical inevitability. He couldn't look at an advancing church as anything other than the delightful emanation and extension of His resurrection.

Bill O’ Reilly, Skeptics, and Killing Jesus

Bill O’ Reilly, author of Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, declared that Jesus merely started “a philosophy”1 and much of the biblical narratives are allegorical and symbolic—not in fact real history. He also suggested that Christians do not worship Jesus Christ but they worship the “spirit of Jesus.”2 He’s convinced that Christ’s main undertaking was to teach men how to live properly. I have no doubt that Christ’s moral teaching is as important as it is profound, yet His primary mission was to die to set men free. Many other skeptics and liberals have mounted quests for the historical Jesus and have landed not so far from where O’ Reilly takes his readers. In the end, the Bible holds, as the skeptics have found nothing. But skeptics will continue to publish books about their new theories on the life and death of Christ even though we have an infallible account of Him in the New Testament.

Beyond Bill O’ Reilly, few disbelieving sleuths believe that Jesus Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 4:5) and rose from the grave in victory (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). I do. And not only that, I know with full certainty. Some contend Christ was a good teacher who died because of a tragic set of accidents. Still a few others say that Christ never existed, thus He never died.

Of course, theories abound in cases of history where evidence is scarce. But as the reader will discover, there exists not only deep layers of historical data for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, there are also potent logical reasons why such must be the case.

My goal is to lay out the evidence for the truth of the Gospel’s narratives and demonstrate that theories suggested by skeptics (O’ Reilly, Aslan, Ehrman, etc.) not only have several faults, but what they pen, especially when it is inconsistent with the scriptural accounts of Christ, cannot possibly be true. I will argue:  

  1. God is.

  1. His word has been revealed.

  1. Scripture reveals the truth about Christ’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection; the contrary is plainly impossible.

Indeed, Jesus Christ died. He was crucified. Nevertheless, His illegal execution was merely the beginning of a comprehensive transformation in history. Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, it often appears that the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God have traded places. Christ's outlook, however, was a bold and challenging assurance. The kingdom Jesus launched is the one we still see expanding today.

killing jesus a history oreilly

Killing Jesus and False Testimony

Killing Christ and False Testimony

by Mike Robinson

This is faith’s great and bold venture upon the grace, faithfulness, and truth of God, to stand by the cross and say, “Ah! He is bruised for my sins, and wounded for my transgressions, and the chastisement of my peace is upon him. He is thus made sin for me. Here I give up my sins to him that is able to bear them, to undergo them. He requires it of my hands, that I should be content that he should undertake for them; and that I heartily consent unto.” This is every day’s work; I know not how any peace can be maintained with God without it. If it be the work of souls to receive Christ, as made sin for us, we must receive him as one that takes our sins upon him. Not as though he died any more, or suffered any more; but as the faith of the saints of old made that present and done before their eyes [which had] not yet come to pass, Hebrews 11:1, so faith now makes that present which was accomplished and past many generations ago. This it is to know Christ crucified (John Owen).

killing christ trials
During the time of Christ, there were three chief categories of testimony according to the Mishnah: irrelevant or useless testimony, a standing testimony, and a satisfactory testimony. The irrelevant testimony was rejected. The standing testimony was accepted if and when it was confirmed. The satisfactory testimony was based on the agreed testimony of two or three witnesses. The testimony collected in the trials of Jesus was inadmissible since it was irrelevant testimony (Mark 14:56).

Jesus had two primary trials (Jewish ecclesiastical and Roman criminal) and numerous legal proceedings within each. The ecclesiastical trial yielded a conviction of blasphemy. The Roman trial never produced a guilty verdict but ended with the death sentence for Christ. Pilate declared that Jesus was innocent (John 18:29-30). Jesus was initially brought to Pilate without formal charges since Rome would not accept a Jewish blasphemy charge for indictment. The elders and Pilate came together together, trying to come up with a charge that would stick—one that was within the jurisdiction of Roman law. They tried various accusations; finally they charged Christ with treason against Caesar and Rome. They misrepresented Christ’s view on taxes and kingship: “We have found this man subverting the nation… He opposes taxes to Caesar … and claims to be a king” (Luke 23:2). Jesus was a target of religious persecution and Roman injustice, but was completely innocent. Pilate sentenced Christ to die by crucifixion (John 19:16), even though he declared Him guiltless (Luke 23:14-22).

Christ was executed without a Roman verdict of guilt; nonetheless He was crucified for religious reasons. The Jewish leaders insisted: “We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God” (John 19:5-7). Jesus was killed because Temple authorities asserted that He was guilty of blasphemy.  Additional charges were raised because the Jewish leaders knew that Pilate would never approve an execution on a point of religious law. Other charges that fell short of indictment were: Jesus’ threat to destroy the Temple (a misunderstanding of His body metaphor); subverting Caesar; prohibiting the payment of taxes to Rome; inciting rebellion; and claiming to be a king. Perhaps Pilate allowed the unjust sentence to be carried out in fearful deference to Caesar, but, criminally, the chief reason for the crucifixion was not for tax prohibition (Bill O’Reilly) or revolutionary ideas (Reza Aslan). Christ was crucified for blasphemy (John 19:5-7).

Moreover, atonement for sins was the supreme reason for the execution of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53; John 3:15-19; Romans 3:20-26, 4:5; Titus 3:4-7). Jesus died to atone for the sins of men and to set them free.

He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:25).

Jesus is the vicarious substitution since He died for our sins on our behalf.  Christ was offered in place of us. Jesus accomplished that which we could simply not.  He vicariously stood in our place and bore our sins on the cross as He made propitiation for our sins.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).

Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed (Romans 3:25).


To see fresh insights into the arrest, trial, and killing of Jesus Christ see my new book Killing Christ HERE. It looks at the death of Christ using ancient Jewish and Roman sources. In it, the reader discovers how the story of the killing of Jesus is at once transcendent, historical, and religious, yet true truth.

Follow Jesus Christ Not Mere Religion

Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6).

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

There is only one door, one bridge, one ladder, between earth and heaven: the crucified Son of God (J.C. Ryle).

Luis De Leon said of Jesus: “Christ is given so many names because of His limitless greatness and the treasury of His very rich perfections.” Napoleon admitted:  “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”

   James Froude spoke of Jesus as “the most perfect being who has ever trod the soil of this planet.” Antony of Padua professed that “Christ is the dazzling bright start.” John Knox confessed: “No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshiped; no other man has been so devoutly loved.”

   “There is something so pure and frank and noble about Him that to doubt His sincerity would be like doubting the brightness of the sun,” so said Charles Edward Jefferson. Chardin declared that “Christ is the Alpha and Omega; the principle and the end; the foundation stone, and the keystone; the plentitude and the plentifier.” T.S. Elliot inscribed: “Christ came as a tiger.” 

   Philip Schaff famously recorded: “Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.”

   Crashaw delighted as he contemplated Jesus: 

“All wonders in one sight; Eternity shut in a span; Day in night; Heaven in earth; and God in man.” Augustine added that Christ is the “best husband.” Eusebius exclaimed: “Christ is the divine and Heavenly Logos; the high priest of the world; the only King of all creation; the only Arch-prophet of the prophets of the Father.” Rolheiser professed that “Jesus is the vein, the blood, the pulse, and the heart.” Even H.G. Wells had to acknowledge: “I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”

   Blaise Pascal observed: “Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.” Einstein adds: “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.... No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” “An unsurpassed master of the art of laying bare the inmost core of spiritual truth,” writes Geza Vermes apropos Jesus.

Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me (Saint Patrick).

“Jesus was the greatest religious genius that ever lived,” avowed Ernest Renan. Honsell ascribed that Jesus is “rest for the weary; joy for the sad; hope for the dreamy; light of the glad; home of the stranger; strength to the end; refuge from danger; and Savior and friend.” Isaiah the prophet announced that Jesus is “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” 

   But the most important designations given to Jesus were from the Father who declared: “Your throne O’ God is forever and ever.” Jesus as God manifested in the flesh is the altogether lovely one.

Look unto Jesus

Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith … (Hebrews 12:2).

see my new book Killing Christ: Contesting Trendy Critics Regarding Jesus HERE
killing jesus book