- God is.
- His word has been revealed.
- Scripture reveals the truth about Christ’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection; the contrary is impossible.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
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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.
But this slights the history many contemporary authors tell us. 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 fell on the losing side of history. Yea, 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 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 Rome, would only be able to look back sadly to customs, traditions, and foundations that were eroded. What is required? That which Christ’s death and resurrection provided: life and a restoration of hope. The recovery of Roman and Jewish souls, as well as all men, is the leading necessity: the salvation provided by the work of Christ.
Jesus agreed with the priests about the need of 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 through 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 real history. He also suggested that Christians do not worship Jesus Christ but worship the “spirit of Jesus.”2 He’s convinced that Christ’s main undertaking was to teach men how to live. I have no doubt that Christ’s moral teaching is as important as it is profound, yet His chief mission was to die to set men free. Many other skeptics and liberals have mounted quests for the historical Jesus and have landed not far from where O’ Reilly takes his readers. Ultimately 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 Christ 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 never died.
Of course, theories abound in cases of history were 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 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 by skeptics (O’ Reilly, etc.) not only have several faults, but what they pen, when it is inconsistent with the scriptural accounts of Christ, cannot possibly be true. I will argue:
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.
see this fascinating new book Killing Christ HERE