By Dix Winston
Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God. The New Testament presents Him as being fully God and fully human. His death paid for the sins of the whole world. As a result, anybody who believes in Him for eternal life receives it as a free gift.
These are all incredible claims. They would certainly indicate that He was a unique Person in all of history. The question is: Are they true?
For at least four reasons, the answer is a resounding “yes”! Jesus lived a predicted life. He lived a powerful life. He lived a perfect life. Finally, He lived a prevailing life.
A Predicted Life
In the OT, there are more than three hundred prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. They were written over a thousand-year period, hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Some of these are miraculous in nature, such as the prophecy that He would be born of a virgin. A skeptic would naturally reject such things. But even those prophecies that do not fall into those kinds of categories point to a one-of-a-kind Man.
One prophecy in the OT was that the coming Messiah would be Jewish, a descendant of Abraham (Gen 22:18). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy (Matt 1:1).
But the Christ must come from a particular tribe of Israel, which was Judah (Gen 49:10). Jesus was part of this narrower section of the nation (Luke 3:23, 33).
Within the tribe of Judah, the Messiah was to be from a particular family. He was to be a son of David (Jer 23:5). Luke tells us that the Lord was indeed a part of the house of David.
These prophecies did not just deal with His background. They also addressed where He would be born. The Christ was going to be born in a particular small town, which was Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). Because of extraordinary historical circumstances, Jesus was born in that particular insignificant town (Matt 2:1).
Writing about seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah predicted that He would suffer and be rejected by the nation of Israel (Isaiah 53). An example of this suffering was predicted by one of the psalmists, who wrote that the Christ would die by crucifixion (Ps 22:16)—a means of execution that did not exist in his own day.
What were the odds that one man would fulfill these, along with all the other prophecies the OT writers said would be true of a particular Man who would live hundreds of years in the future? When we include the predictions that involved the Messiah’s miraculous powers, it is safe to say only one Person fits the bill.
A Powerful Life
The pages of the NT are full of examples of the power of Christ. He cast out demons. He healed the sick. He exercised dominion over creation itself, by walking on the Sea of Galilee. He even raised the dead.
While unbelievers would scoff at such things, it must be remembered that even His enemies acknowledged that He performed such miraculous deeds. A man named Nicodemus, who at the time did not believe He was the Christ, stated that He was able to do mighty works through the power of God (John 3:1-2). Later, these healings would lead Nicodemus to believe in Him.
Even those who eventually put Jesus to death could not deny that He possessed supernatural power. Jews of His day had various opinions of Him. Because of the power He exhibited in His healings, many thought He was a prophet, even if they didn’t think He was the Son of God.
Other writings outside of the NT also testify that Jesus was able to exercise that power. Of course, the writers of the NT, who were often eyewitnesses of the things Jesus did, attest to their reality.
The evidence is overwhelming. Whatever somebody thinks about the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, He was a Man who did miraculous things.
A Perfect Life
Jesus of Nazareth backed up His claim that He was the Son of God by the life that he lived. The New Testament writers say He lived a perfect life. One of His closest disciples, Peter, would later write that His life was “unblemished and spotless” (1 Pet 1:18). This, of course, would be the case if He was God in the flesh. God, after all, is perfectly holy. It is impossible for Him to sin.
The life of Jesus was on full display, even before His enemies. It is noteworthy that they were not able to accuse Him of any sin. Once, those who opposed Him did so because He was claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God. They were unwilling to believe such things.
At this time, the Lord had been ministering all over Israel. Thousands upon thousands, including His enemies, had seen how He lived. His life was an open book. To those who would have been quick to point out His faults He asked, “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46).
What man would ever ask such a question, especially a man who was well-known to a whole nation of people? Those who spend time around a man can easily identify his weaknesses. But that was not the case with this Man. Not even those who wanted to put Him to death could find any sin with which to charge Him. None of them pointed out any moral shortcoming of Jesus of Nazareth.
The same would be true for the man who would be most responsible for executing Him. Even he knew that Jesus had done nothing worthy of death. The charges brought against Him were bogus. The Roman governor Pilate, who was not a believer, admitted that Christ was not guilty (Luke 23:4). In front of those who wanted to kill Him, Pilate famously washed his hands. The act signified that he realized Jesus was completely innocent (Matt 27:24).
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God who had eternal life to give to anybody who believed in Him for it. Coming from any other man, such claims would be preposterous. But He backed it up by living a perfect life.
He backed it up in another way as well.
A Prevailing Life
Jesus told His disciples that He would prove the veracity of His claims by rising from the dead. Did He?
It was a certainty that He died. All four Gospel writers state it. More than that, nobody could survive what He, a crucified Man, went through. He had been beaten and whipped and hung upon the cross for hours. There would have been a tremendous loss of blood. After He died, a soldier pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water poured out.
A Roman centurion, who had seen many men die, confirmed to the Roman governor that Jesus had died. The men who removed Him from the cross prepared His body for burial and obviously could tell He was dead. They wrapped the body with many pounds of spices and ointment in order to delay the decomposition of the body for as long as possible.
They placed Him in a tomb, which was sealed with a very heavy stone. It would have been around six feet in diameter. The authorities placed guards around the tomb, so that nobody would steal the dead body. There were probably sixteen such guards. Everybody—His friends and enemies alike—knew He was dead.
Without a doubt, the tomb was empty three days later. All four Gospel writers attest to it, and explain that He rose from the dead. Many of His disciples proclaimed that they had seen Him, on many different occasions.
His enemies have concocted different theories as to how that tomb became empty while denying the resurrection of Christ. Some have said He didn’t really die and was able to roll the heavy stone away after going three days in the tomb after His crucifixion. He was then able to get past the sixteen guards.
Others have said that the disciples stole the body. They were able to get past the guards, roll the stone away, unwrap the linens around the body, and remove the body, all without the guards realizing what was happening. They then lied, saying He was risen. Afterwards, almost all of them gladly laid down their lives preaching that message.
Any neutral person looking at the evidence will immediately see that such theories defy credulity. The most logical answer—in fact, the only one that makes sense—is that Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be God. As such, He could give eternal life to anybody who believed in Him for it. Such claims would be rejected out of hand by any ordinary man who made them.
But Jesus was different. He backed it up with four credentials. Those who knew Him best confirmed these credentials. He lived a predicted life, a powerful life, a perfect life, and a prevailing life.
Any one of these would cause a person to investigate His claims. Taking all four together leaves us with only one conclusion: what He claimed is true.
Dix is the senior pastor of Crosspoint Community Church in Centennial, Colorado. He and his wife, Cynthia, recently welcomed their first grandson, Gunnar Titus. Dix is unashamedly Dispensational and Free Grace!