Beyond Blind Faith
by Paul E. Little
It is impossible for us to know conclusively whether God exists and what He is like unless He takes the initiative and reveals Himself. We must know what He is like and His attitude toward us. Suppose we knew He existed, but that He was like Adolf Hitler–capricious, vicious, prejudiced, and cruel. What a horrible realization that would be!
We must scan the horizon of history to see if there is any clue to God’s revelation. There is one clear clue. In an obscure village in Palestine, almost 2,000 years ago, a Child was born in a stable. Today the entire world is still celebrating the birth of Jesus.
He lived in obscurity until He was thirty, and then began a public ministry that lasted three years. It was destined to change the course of history. He was a kindly person and we’re told that “the common people heard Him gladly.” And, “He taught as One who had authority, and not as their teachers of the Law” (Matthew 7:29).
Jesus Said He Was the Son of God
It soon became apparent, however, that He was making shocking and startling statements about Himself. He began to identify Himself as far more than a remarkable teacher or prophet. He began to say clearly that He was God. He made His identity the focal point of His teaching. The all-important question He put to those who followed Him was, “Who do you say I am?” When Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16), Jesus was not shocked, nor did He rebuke Peter. On the contrary, He commended him!
He made the claim explicitly, and His hearers got the full impact of His words. We are told, “The Jews tried all the harder to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
On another occasion he said, “I and My Father are One.” Immediately the Jews wanted to stone Him. He asked them for which good work they wanted to kill Him. They replied, “We are not stoning You for any of these but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 5:18).
Jesus clearly claimed attributes which only God has. When a paralyzed man was let down through the roof wanting to be healed by Him, He said, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” This caused a great to-do among the religious leaders, who said in their hearts, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
At the critical moment when His life was at stake, the high priest put the question to Him directly: “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy” (Mark 14:61-64).
So close was His connection with God that He equated a person’s attitude to Himself with the person’s attitude toward God. Thus, to know Him was to know God (John 8:19; 14:7). To see Him was to see God (12:45; 14:9). To believe in Him was to believe in God (12:44; 14:1). To receive Him was to receive God (Mark 9:37). To hate Him was to hate God (John 15:23). And to honor Him was to honor God (5:23).
Only Four Possibilities
As we face the claims of Christ, there are only four possibilities. He was either a liar, a lunatic, a legend, or the Truth. If we say He is not the Truth, we are automatically affirming one of the other three alternatives, whether we realize it or not…
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