Christian Foundations 1
Christian Foundations 1 is part of a study series on the foundational truths relating to Christianity. The first study looks at: Is Jesus Christ Really God?
Is Jesus Christ Really God?
When we seek to understand Christianity, it is important to lay the right foundations. Building your life on a strong Christian foundation will not only help you understand Christianity but also it will help you apply these foundations to your life.
The Christian Foundations Study Series looks at six important questions. However, these questions have one purpose and that is to encourage you to make a decision for Christianity. Over the course of this study, will you consider making a decision for Christianity?
Study One - Is Jesus Christ Really God?
1. Jesusí Authority as a teacher authenticated His divinity.
Mark 1:21-22, "Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
A. Note the people's response and why they responded in that way
The response of the people. They were astonished. This word astonished is a very forceful word. . .it means to strike. [Quote] "To strike a person out of his senses by some strong feeling. . .for example, fear."
B. The reasons they responded to Jesus' teaching in this way
They were astonished at the manner of Jesusí teaching. "He taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes" (Mk 1:22). Mark clearly noted the distinction between Jesus' teaching and the Scribes...WHY? The Scribes quoted other Rabbis and expounded the oral traditions.
They were astonished also at the content of His teaching. Jesus not only had authority but His teaching was authoriative. "...they were astonished at His teaching/at His doctrine" (Mk 1:22).
Note the difference! The content of Jesus' teaching was much different to that of the Scribes and Pharisees (cf., Mk 1:15; Lk 19:10; Jn 14:6, etc.). Jesus preached for change. Jesus' authoriative teaching authenticated His divinity, ie, His divine Sonship.
The result, their tradition and petty legalism set aside the word and will of God. Jesus had to rebuke them (Mk 7:9, 13). Jesus did not quote from other authorities such as Scribes or Pharisees because His authority came direct from God. This distinction was apparent to all who heard Jesus. They noticed at once that He was different.
2. Jesusí authority over evil spirits authenticated His divinity (Mk 1:23-28).
A. His authority recognised (Demoniacs recognised Jesusí true character)
His Humanity: "What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth" (1:24). Why is this so important? Why did God send His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh??? To reveal God to us (Jn 1:18). We today can know about the Son through the Scriptures. To provide an effective sacrifice for sin. Sin requires death for its payment. God cannot die - God is Spirit.Therefore, Jesus had to be human in order to die. On the other hand, the death of an ordinary man could not pay the penalty for sin. Therefore, Jesus must also be God.
His divinity: "I know who You are - the Holy One of God" (1:24). This recognition of His divinity was not unsual by demoniacs (cf., Mk. 3:11, The Son of God; Mk 5:7, The Son of The Most High).
His Mission: "You have come (into the world) to destroy us" (1:24). They recognised a part of His mission was to destroy the works of the devil. In 1 John 3:8, it says, ". . .For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." The demoniacs recognised His Humanity, His Divinity, and His Mission.
B. His authority exercised
Mk 1:25, "But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, and come out of him!'" Jesus needed no magical formulas to rebuke the evil spirit. The evil spirits immediately obeyed. The people's response was amazement, "Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him'" (Mk 1:27). Jesusí authority over evil spirits authenticated His divinity.
3. Jesus' authority to forgive authenticated His divinity (Mark 2:1-12).
A. Forgiveness declared
Mk 2:5, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you.'"
B. Forgiveness questioned
Jesus seen as a man, they questioned his divinity (cf, 2:6-7). OT forgiveness ascribed to God (cf., Ps 103:3-4; Isaiah 43:25; 44:22). Jesus knew their hearts, thus proving His divinity. "And immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, 'Why do you reason about these things in your heart'" (2:8). Jesus responded by a counter-question. "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'?" (2:9). To man both are impossible, man can neither forgive Sin or heal, but to God both are possible.
C. Forgiveness validated
Jesus validated his forgiveness by asking the paralytic to get up and go home. Mk 2:11, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house."
D. Forgiveness recognised...in full view of everyone
Mk 2:12, "Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'" Jesus' authority to forgive authenticated His divinity.
4. Jesus' authority over people authenticated His divinity (Mk 1:16-20).
The command "...Come after Me..." (1:17). The task "...I will make you become fishers of men" (1:17). The response "...immediately they left their nets and followed Him" (1:18). Jesus' authority over people authenticated His divinity.
But Jesus is still calling today, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt 11:28-30; cf., 1 Tim 2:3-7, and 2 Cor 5:2). Is Jesus Christ Really God? The evidence is overwhelming.
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Christian Foundations 1 - Is Jesus Christ Really God?