Scenario: In a conversation with your neighbor, you notice a new bumper sticker on their car. It spells C-O-E-X-I-S-T using different religious symbols, including a cross. You ask, ‘What does that sticker mean?” They answer, “It means everyone can get along if we eliminate criticism of each other’s beliefs. Our church gave them out.” How would you respond?
Additionally, a young man interviewed at a recent political protest said Jesus’ mission was social justice. Oh really? Was Jesus on a mission of activism, or was His message unique? Let’s consider…
I. Jesus as Historical – Is there evidence for Christ other than the Bible? Yes, as a matter of fact there are many historical sources referencing Him.
- Roman Sources-Tacitus (Roman Historian), Suetonius (Secretary to Emperor Hadrian), Pliny the Younger (Roman Administrator), Emperor Trajan, and Emperor Hadrian all mention Christ directly and/or His followers.
- Jewish Sources-Talmudic writings describe Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry and how it led to execution. Historian Flavius Josephus’ specifically mentions Jesus.
- With Jesus of Nazareth being a proven historical person, and many eyewitness accounts of His claims (including the four Biblical Gospels) we’re faced with the classic C.S. Lewis question, “Was He a liar, a lunatic, or Lord?” Obviously, someone can choose to believe he was a liar or lunatic, but what if He REALLY is Lord? I believe He is, and the Bible has some very BOLD words connected to Him. For example:
II. Jesus as Divine – Was He really God?
- The Bible clearly declares in John 1:1-5 that Jesus was part of the Godhead (Trinity) before creation, active in creation, and here in the flesh ministering.
- Jesus claimed he was Messiah (John 4:26, 5:39), claimed He was God (John 10:30, 14:9), and even went so far as to use the personal Holy Name “I AM” God revealed to Moses in John 8:58.
- He made very bold statements and always spoke from a position of authority. He wasn’t passive, compromising, or distracted by inferior causes. Even in death, He had the power to lay down His life when He chose to (John 10:17-18).
III. Jesus as Human – Was He really Human?
- The Bible describes Jesus being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born after a natural 9 month time period, and in a natural way. He even had to grow up (Luke 2:52), along with siblings.
- Physically – He experienced hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc.
- Emotionally – He experienced sorrow, anxiety, separation, anger, etc.
- Death – His actual death was confirmed by a spear in the heart (John 19:34)
- Resurrection – Back to life with a literal body (Luke 24:42-43)
- Witnesses – His body was seen by many first hand witnesses (I Corinthians 15:3-7)
IV. Jesus as Savior
- Redemption – John the Baptizer describes Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-34). In that statement the Old Testament promises of a deliverer culminate, and Jesus begins His ministry.
- Exclusive – In John 14:6 Jesus says He is the ONLY way to God. His statement is clear, concise, and without room for interpretation gymnastics. Based on Jesus’ own words, there are no other options for salvation outside of faith in Him.
- Grace – Forgiveness of sin and freedom are available through Jesus (Romans 8:1-2)
- Reigning – Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that He is sitting beside the Father now reigning as King.
- Advocate – Jesus is our go-between with the Father, and we can turn to Him in our time of need (I John 2:1-3)
- Returning – Revelation 19:11-16 describes a returning King taking care of business. The name He wears is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. With “fierceness and wrath, He will strike the nations” and all will know He is God.
V. Conclusion – Jesus as a great teacher going about doing good deeds is acceptable in most circles , but He’s more…much more. He is Savior, and the Bible says without Him we are lost, without hope, and destined for a place called Hell.
Jesus as the only way to heaven may be offensive to some, but it’s true nonetheless and the only message we have. Tolerance and peaceful coexistence are noble, but only Jesus can change a life. He knows our struggles, and can relate to what we’re going through. I hope you know Him in a real way today. If not, acknowledge Him in prayer, confess Him as Lord, ask Him to take charge of your life, and He will change your heart forever!
Series: Consider this… “A Conversational Defense of our Faith”
Lesson 8: Jesus among Bumper Stickers