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To learn what the truth is about Jesus, we need to look at the primary source documents that tell us about him. Now, it just so happens that the earliest documents containing information pertaining to Jesus’ life are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
However, notice that we refer to these books as “primary source documents” rather than simply saying, “What does the Bible say about Jesus?”
Too often, when people hear the word “Bible”, it comes with all sorts of baggage: The Bible is full of myth and legend; It’s all made up; Its authors were all biased, etc.
So, as we simply make an historical investigation, we objectively turn to the earliest source documents to gather evidence of what happened in the life of Jesus.
One thing that these documents seem to point out is that Jesus’ identity is central to Christianity.
This is radically different than other world religions. In particular, Jesus draws attention to his identity, even to the reasoning for his execution. You see, Jesus wasn’t crucified for going around teaching good, moral lessons to people. In fact, he was put to death because of who he claims to be.
Mark 14:61-64 (NASB)
61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
Secondly, we discover from the primary source documents that Jesus claimed to be the only way to God.
Sounds like Jesus was being pretty exclusive!
John 14:6 (NASB)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Additionally, his followers echoed this same message, including Peter:
Acts 4:12 (NASB)
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Thirdly, we discover that Jesus claims unique things about himself. Utterly unique things. For instance, he claims to be equal with God, Himself:
John 5:16-18 (NASB)
16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
He also claims to be able to forgive man’s sins. Not just forgive someone for doing something wrong to him, as we would, but to actually forgive the sins of mankind!
Mark 2:5-7 (NASB)
5 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?”
He even goes so far as receiving worship from people.
John 20:27-28 (NASB)
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
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