As Christians, we meet with non-Christians every day. Whether at work or perhaps family members, we develop relationships with those who have not put their faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Sometimes they have questions about Jesus that we need to be prepared for.
Here are three frequently raised questions:
Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
There are a lot of people who believe Jesus never really claimed He was the Son of God; instead, this belief was started by overzealous followers of Jesus years after His death. The real Jesus saw himself as nothing more than a rabbi—a teacher of God—but not God himself.
But this is not what the evidence clearly shows.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. John 8:58-59
When Jesus applied the “I am” saying to himself, it was such an obvious allusion to God’s words to Moses out of the burning bush His audience picked up stones to hurl at him for blasphemy. This was an unmistakable declaration of equality with God.
“But what about you?” He asked, “who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-17
When Simon Peter answered Jesus’ question, “who do you say I am?” by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus’ reaction was not to correct him, but rather to affirm that this was revealed to him by the Father himself.
Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
If God is so loving, then why couldn’t He just say the word and “presto” all mankind is forgiven and everyone can spend eternity in heaven?
That is a good thought, but God is more than just loving, He is also holy. And in His holiness there has to be judgment. A holy God cannot overlook sin. No judgment, no holiness.
God, being God, has the right to set the rules and then state and execute the punishment. When Adam and Eve disobeyed and rebelled against an almighty, holy, and glorious God, the punishment for that sin was death.
Her is where the God of love comes in. Someone has to die as the punishment for the sin that Adam and Eve committed and thus brought to all mankind. God was willing to take the punishment for sin upon Himself, through His Son Jesus Christ. His horrible death on the cross appeased a holy and just God. Jesus took the penalty for all of us so we would not have to.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
There was once a judge who was seated behind his bench when a teenage girl who committed a traffic violation came into his court. The girl was found guilty and had to pay a $150.00 fine. The judge then took off his robe, stepped down from the bench, reached into his wallet, took out $150.00 and paid the fine. You see, the judge was also the girl’s father. The daughter had no money and could not pay the fine. The father was also the judge and could not overlook the traffic violation.
So does that mean that everyone goes to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross?
No, it does not work that way. You need to believe that Jesus is God’s Son who died on the cross as penalty for your sins and rose from the grave the third day. Confess that you are a sinner that needs forgiveness and then ask to be forgiven. Ask Jesus to be part of your life. When you do this your sins become part of the sins that Jesus paid the penalty for.
Were the miracles that Jesus did real or were they myths and folklore?
Some people compare Jesus’ miracles with Greek mythology and other tales of both the supernatural and bizarre. But if these events were folklore, Jesus and his disciples would have gone before a crowd and told a tale of Jesus performing this or that miracle. Instead he did miracles in front of people for them to witness.
This makes the account of Jesus’ miracles history based on eyewitness testimony. Jesus did these miracles to testify that He was indeed the Messiah, the Christ. It was never to show off, but to give people a visual sign of who He claimed to be.
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.” Acts 2:22
Myths and folklore have no eyewitnesses to verify the truthfulness of the event. The miracles of Jesus have many eyewitnesses and thus makes these events history not myths.