There is little debate in scholarly and historical circles that the Jesus of the Bible actually lived. What do we then do with that person of Jesus? Some say that Jesus was a “good man”, a “prophet”, a “teacher, a rabbi”. They place him in the same category as Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), or Mohammed, or Ghandi. They don’t deny his having lived, but many who say these things about him deny his being God.
I ask this question…if Jesus claimed to be God but wasn’t, how could he be considered a good man? And how could he have been a prophet if he himself didn’t even know who *he* was? And what sort of rabbi lies about truth? Either Jesus is God, as he claimed, or he isn’t. He could not have been a good man, a prophet, or a teacher if he wasn’t. If we are to be intellectually honest, we must admit that we cannot have it both ways. We can’t embrace him on one hand and reject him on the other. If Jesus wasn’t God as he claimed, then he was a liar and led people horribly astray. If he wasn’t who he claimed to be, then he was not only not a good man, but he was a very bad one.
The Apostles returned to their homes. But Mary Magdalene remained by the tomb, crying. Then she turned and saw a man who asked her why she was crying. Mary Magdalene soon realized that the man who was talking to her was Jesus Christ. Jesus had risen from death. Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the resurrected Jesus. (John 20:10-18)
This verse in the Bible particularly strikes me as proof of the truth of what Jesus claimed to be. If Jesus and his disciples cooked up the resurrection as a scheme, then they would have had Jesus first appear to men. Women didn’t hold much of a place in that society, and certainly wouldn’t be considered good witnesses to an event. And yet Jesus chose to reveal his risen self FIRST to a woman, and Mary Magdalene at that. If Jesus wasn’t who he said he was, he picked a very socially unacceptable witness to his being raised from the dead.
But Jesus was a good man (a perfect one, in fact), and he was a prophet, and he was a teacher. And he gave his life as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins, for MY sins. And to seal the deal to give his sacrifice the power to once and for all make us acceptable in the eyes of God the Father, he conquered death and was resurrected into life.
I rejoice because my Jesus isn’t a dead Jesus.