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I Am Intro

By February 26, 2017February 27th, 2017I Am, Sermon Series Pre-Campaign)

Jesus is, simply put, the most influential person to ever walk the earth. Yet there is still a great deal of disagreement about who he is. We all draw from various places to define who he is: our personal opinions, outside sources, our theological traditions, etc. In this series we are going to help to clear the air and let Jesus speak for himself.

Did Jesus exist?

  • Internal sources:
    • Matthew
    • Mark
    • Luke
    • John
  • External sources
    • Josephus
    • Tacitus
    • Suetonius

Can we trust the New Testament accounts of Jesus?

  • Caesars Gallic wars
    • written: 100-44 BC
    • earliest copy: 900 Ad
    • difference: 1000 years
    • copies 10
  • Aristotle
    • written: 384-322 BC
    • earliest copy: 1100 AD
    • difference: 1400 years
    • copies 49
  • Iliad
    • written: 800 BC
    • earliest copy: 400 BC
    • difference: 400 years
    • copies: 643
  • New Testament
    • written: 50-100 AD
    • earliest copy: 130
    • difference: less than 100 years
    • copies: 5,686

“In the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests, the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone amongst ancient prose writings.” – F.J.A Hort

Who is Jesus?

  • Christianity
    • 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (ESV)
    • 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily – Colossians 2:9 (ESV)
    • 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. – Philippians 2:5–7 (ESV)
  • Islam
    • The Messiah son of Mary was only a messenger, before whom other Messengers had passed away, and his mother was a woman of truth. They both used to eat food. Note how We make clear the revelations to them; then note how deluded they are.Say, “Do you worship, besides God, what has no power to harm or benefit you?” But God: He is the Hearer, the Knower. – Quran al-Ma’idah 5:75-76
    • Say, “O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion beyond the truth; and do not follow the opinions of people who went astray before, and misled many, and themselves strayed off the balanced way.” – Quran al-Ma’idah 5:77
    • The Jews said, “Ezra is the son of God,” and the Christians said, “The Messiah is the son of God.” These are their statements, out of their mouths. They emulate the statements of those who blasphemed before. May God assail them! How deceived they are! – Quran at-Tawbah 9:30
  • Judaism
    • There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism.”  – Rabbi J. Emmanuel Schochet
    • Ultimately, the Jewish distaste for Christianity is because Jesus’ followers insisted that he was divine. Period. Every other objection pales into insignificance. – Rabbi Shmuely Boteach
  • Mormonism
    • “We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father. Our Father said, ‘Whom shall I send?’ (Abraham 3:27). Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27)… Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind…’ ”  – Gospel Principles, pp. 17-18
    • “On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers… as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother.”  – ‘I Have a Question,’ Ensign, June 1986, pp. 25–26.
  • Atheism
    • Jesus was essentially a hippie that got crucified. – Sam Harris
  • Spiritualism
    • Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence of identity of every man and woman, every life-form in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. Some Christian mystics have called it the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the in-dwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself — and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement — all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within.  – Eckhart Tolle
    • It may be. Fundamentalist Christians always quote Jesus in the Gospel of John saying “I am the way. I am the life. Nobody comes into the kingdom of heaven except through me.” But what does Jesus mean by “I”?” In his language, Aramaic, the word is translated as “the I within the I.” So he may be speaking about himself as a universal spirit. In that case he can’t be squeezed into a body or the span of a lifetime. – Deepok Chopra

What did Jesus think of himself?

  • A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be insane… or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. But don’t let us come up with any patronizing nonsense about him being a great human teacher. He hasn’t left that option open to us. He didn’t intend to. – C.S. Lewis