1. Matthew 16:13 

  • A. Who do you personally say Jesus is?
  • B. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God (John 5:24; John 8:23-24; John 10:30; John 14:6-7).
  • C. What are the possibilities? Was that claim true or false?

1) If false, then Jesus either:

a) Was a mythical character that didn’t exist: Legend.
b) Knew that his claims were false: Liar.
c) Didn’t know his claims were false: Lunatic.

2) If true, then Jesus is Lord.

3) Comments:

a) Extra-biblical manuscripts prove Jesus to be a historical figure, therefore he was not a legend.
b) Jesus’ teachings and the impact of his life make it impossible to entertain the possibility that Jesus was either a liar or lunatic. Would the greatest ethical     teachings in the world have come from a liar or from a lunatic?
c) We must not conclude that Jesus was simply a good moral teacher. That option is not open to us, because it would mean that Jesus lied when he claimed     to be the son of God.
d) There is strong evidence to support the fact that Jesus is clearly Lord, the Son of God as he claimed. Let’s look at the evidence.

2. Evidences

A. Miracles: Attested to by numerous eyewitnesses (John 20:30-31)

B. Prophecies fulfilled:

1 ) Born of a virgin: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 24, 25
2 ) House of David: Jeremiah 23:5; Luke 3:23, 31
3 ) Born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1
4 ) Ministry to begin in Galilee: Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-13,17
5 ) Betrayed by a friend: Psalm 41:9; Matthew 10:4; Matthew 26:49-50
6 ) Sold for 30 pieces of silver: Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15
7 ) Wounded and bruised: Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 27:26
8 ) Bones not broken: Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-33
9 ) Crucified with thieves: Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38
10 ) Resurrection: Psalm 16:10;  Acts 2:31
11 ) There are more than 400 Messianic prophecies. Jesus fulfills them all! The probability that any man might have lived and fulfilled just 8 prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

C. Jesus’ life and teaching: His teachings surpass human wisdom while his life exemplifies them perfectly (John 7:17).

D. The Resurrection: This is perhaps the most convincing of all the evidences. Was Jesus raised from the dead? The response is critically important. Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

1) The Prediction: Matthew 27:62-66. Jesus’ predictions about his own resurrection were so well known that guards were posted at the tomb. This raised the question: Did he really die? Perhaps he passed out on the cross and was later revived.

 

2) The Death: John 19:31-34. Professional executioners would not make such a basic error as to think a live person was dead. Medical experts indicate that the water that flowed from Jesus’ pierced side would be from the pericardium, a sac around the heart that fills with water when the heart ruptures. Jesus was clearly dead. But perhaps they visited the wrong tomb and mistakenly thought he was raised.

3) The Wrong Tomb

a) The tomb was near the cross: John 19:38-42.
b) Mary saw where he was buried. Pilate knew where to send the guards: Matthew 27:61-66. They didn’t visit the wrong tomb. So let’s visit the tomb.

4) The Empty Tomb: Matthew 28:11-15. Was the tomb empty? If not, the Jews would have produced the body. The fact that they tried to explain away the empty tomb shows that it was empty. So, was the body stolen as they claimed?

5) The Stolen Body: It would have been incredibly difficult for anyone to steal the body considering the huge stone and the Roman guards in front of the tomb. In any case, there are two possibilities: Someone other than the disciples stole the body; therefore, the disciples were deceived and wistfully hallucinated the risen Christ or the disciples stole the body and hoaxed the resurrection. Let’s consider the first possibility:

a) Someone other than the disciples stole the body. John 20:19-29. Disciples are scared and hiding, having earlier fled at Jesus’ arrest. Was this a mass          hallucination? Thomas, the skeptic, touched Jesus. This was no hallucination to Thomas. But perhaps the resurrection was all a hoax, the second     possibility…

b) The disciples stole the body. Acts 4:12-13. Remember the cowardly disciples? (Matthew 26:56). Peter who denied Jesus? They are now men of remarkable courage. Yet, something has happened. In fact, according to early church history, each of the disciples died a martyr’s death, except John:

• Peter—crucified head downward
• Thomas—speared to death
• James—beheaded by Herod (Acts 12:1-2)
• Matthew—martyred
• Andrew—crucified
• James—crucified
• Philip—martyred
• Jude—shot with arrows
• Simon the Zealot—crucified
• Bartholomew—flogged to death
• Matthias—axed to death

Why did these men endure such atrocities? Who would suffer and die for a lie that gains them nothing? When men are all alone and under pressure, they crack. These men did not. Why not?

6) These men had seen Jesus raised from the dead:
1 Corinthians 15:1-6. In fact, over 500 people at once saw the resurrected Jesus. Indeed, Jesus has been raised. The proof is logical and overwhelming.

3. Conclusion: Christianity is true and reasonable: Acts 26:24-29. Jesus is the Son of God! Now what remains is to make the decision to follow him.