Sunday, March 28, 2021

Research your Family Tree



All photos courtesy of Unsplash

 

In recent years there has been a major increase in people’s interest in researching their family trees. As the interest in celebrities rises, so does the fascination with programs that explore their backgrounds and ancestors.

 

The BBC genealogy documentary series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ regularly attracts an audience of more than 6 million viewers. It is now in its 17th series. ITV is running DNA Journey (2019 (1) and 2021 Series (3)), and so the list goes on.

 

While we dig into famous celebrities' ancestry, there is a lot of controversy about the origin of the most famous person in history – Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is God’s Son. In the New Testament, Jesus frequently referred to God as his “Father” (see John 5:17). In the next verse, we read that the Jews sought to kill him because they understood that he was claiming to be “equal with God”. In John 10:30, Jesus describes himself and his Father as being one in essence, that is, divine, and as a result, we read in verse 33 that the Jews once again try to stone him. 

 

However, many do not believe that the Bible is authored by God but just another piece of ancient literature. It has become fashionable for sceptics to hold that these supposed quotations of Jesus were simply made up by the early church added to the gospels. So our question is: ‘Who did Jesus think he was?’  Let’s look at two more occasions where Jesus claimed to be divine, two quotations accepted by mainstream critical scholars as historically authentic as actually said by Jesus. The early church is an unlikely source for them!

1. During Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin as recorded in Mark 14, the high priest asks him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" Jesus replies (v62), "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his garment, and the verdict of blasphemy with the death sentence was delivered by the Sanhedrin. They knew that Jesus was identifying himself as the Old Testament ‘Son of Man’ figure who appeared to Daniel in a vision (Daniel 7:13-14). Daniel’s ‘Son of Man’ is described as eternal, glorious and sovereign ruler of an everlasting kingdom. The Sanhedrin’s verdict of blasphemy demonstrates that they knew that Jesus was claiming to be God. Now, while ‘Son of Man’ was often used by Jesus to refer to himself in the gospels, it is very unlikely that this title was inserted as an invention of the Church because the title only occurs three other times in the New Testament (Acts 7:56; Revelation 1:13; 14:14) and only three times in all other Christian literature during the Church's first 120 years. Since neither Jesus' opponents nor his supporters are likely sources for this title, Jesus himself is most probable. 

2. In Mark 13:32, talking about the end of the world, Jesus says, "no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." This text suggests that there is something that he, the Son of God, does not know. If the disciples were forming a fictional account, these are words they would never put in Jesus’ mouth.  Again, Jesus himself is the most likely source of this statement.

 

The Bible says that our forgiveness from sin and eternal well-being in Heaven depends on his person's worth as the unique Son of God. It is his divine nature that gives value to his death as a sacrifice for us.  Each of us needs to personally answer Jesus’ own question: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ (Mark 8:29).


Written by and used with permission of a Guest Blogger

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