Jesus eliminated confusion about who he was in his time on Earth
The Rev. Darrel Proffitt, rector, Saint Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St.:
More than 2,000 years since Jesus walked on earth, he remains a central figure of controversy. Even atheists seem to respect who he was and what he seems to stand for. Often it is said that Jesus was a religious leader, a good teacher, a prophet or a moral and ethical leader.
The problem with these descriptions is that Jesus never claimed them himself. He declared that he was God. It was this declaration that led to his arrest, conviction and execution.
Fortunately Jesus eliminated any confusion about the matter. There are only three options that his claim leaves us with:
¢ He was deluded, or perhaps mentally ill to claim that he was God.
¢ He was one of the biggest con artists of all time, fooling not only those who followed him before his execution, but even fooling the 500 witnesses that saw him after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), the disciples who died a martyr's death proclaiming the resurrection and the billions of people who have followed him throughout the centuries.
¢ He was telling the truth and he is the Son of God.
One event took place after his execution that forever changed the world and substantiated the claims he made about himself. On the third day, he rose again. The tomb was empty. The authorities were concerned that something might happen; that is why they put soldiers to guard his tomb and to make sure he stayed there. Ever since that wonderful day that brings the world ultimate hope, people have tried to keep Jesus in the tomb. But he's not there. He is risen!
- Send e-mail to Darrel Proffitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachings on Christ reflect authority, certainty of absolute truth
The Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, lead pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:
The Bible, and history when studied without bias, clearly teach that Jesus was both God and man. That fact is what makes Christianity unique among other faiths in the world.
The Muslim faith is based on the teachings of Mohammed, Buddhism on those of Buddha, Confucianism on Confucius, Marxism on Marx, and evolution on that of Darwin. Not one of these is based on the unbiased observation of historical data or facts, but solely on the teachings and theories of men. Even those who wish to accept evolution must accept that it is based on theory and not on observable data.
Christianity, however, is founded not on what Jesus taught but on who Jesus is and on what he accomplished. No one has ever spoken and taught like Jesus! But ultimately the value of what he said is dependent upon who he was and what he did, and there is an abundance of historical evidence that authenticates his life, words and work.
This is what gives the teachings of Christ authority and places them alone in the category of absolute truth. The truthfulness of Jesus and his teachings are founded on and in the historical record, a record open to investigation and examination. Some would try to place Christ among the great religious leaders of history, as one among many. But Christ's uniqueness is so great there is none that can compare with him.
The fact is, men reject Jesus Christ, his birth, miracles and resurrection not because of a lack of evidence, but because they have never really researched the evidence with an open mind or they simply do not want to submit to his claims of authority.
- Send e-mail to Bill Hurlbutt at email@example.com.