Love those who dislike you
So it’s a stinking hot morning in Melbourne today. 34º degrees by 7:30am. I reckon that must be close to a record for a Melbourne morning.
News is, the cool change is heading our way and will be sweeping across the Bay by 1-2pm. That’s great news for emergency services and home owners out bush and in outlining parts of Melbourne. It’s also great news for everyone who love Christmas Carols.
Even if the heat persists Mentone Baptist can keep make the auditorium as cold as Montreal on Christmas Eve, and we can even add in the snow…maybe not.
For Christmas singing, lights, something for the kids, fun, BBQ, and a message about the joy God can give, join us for this wonderful Christmas tradition.
Starts 6pm and will finish around 7pm
Everyone around Mentone, the Bayside and beyond are very welcome
In the lead up to Christmas and Easter, Jesus deniers and antagonists reappear on the media circuit espousing their speculations. They are entitled to express their opinions but it would be nice if they occasionally observed the evidence, rather than hanging their theories on innuendo and cockeyed imaginations.
On Late Night Live with Phillip Adams (November 25), author and Academy award winning screenwriter, Frederic Raphael, was being interviewed on the topics of anti-semitism and screen-writing. What was an otherwise intriguing conversation about cinema and anti-semitism, was interrupted by some odd ahistorical claims, including that Jesus never said he was the Son of God, “…the Jews who would not accept that Jesus was the Son of God, nor of course did Jesus…but what does he know about it”.
Raphael’s argument isn’t that Jesus and his followers were wrong in believing that he was the Son of God, but that Jesus himself did not believe that he was Son of God.
Presumably, however, the same sources that Raphael depends on for historical figure of Jesus Christ, are also the very same the sources that insist upon the idea of Jesus’ Divinity. It is one thing to reject that Jesus is the Son of God, but it simply impossible to escape the fact that Jesus identified himself as God the Son. The only way one can arrive at his conclusion is if we were to erase the historical record.
Here are some examples (and please note that these are only samples) from the historical record indicating Jesus’ self-belief in his Divine nature. The documents I am quoting are also considered by academics as the most reliable and earliest sources for the words and life of Jesus. It is therefore incongruous to consider Jesus without them.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:6-7)
‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32)
“It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life”. (John 6:45-47)
“Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live”. (John 5:25)
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)¹
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. (John 8:54)
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)
“Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:36-38)
“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
“How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:9b-10)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”(John 3:16-18)²
The many ‘I AM’ sayings of Jesus in John’s Gospel are less about English grammar and is the holy name of Israel’s God, revealed to Moses at the burning bush. The religious intelligentsia rightly understood Jesus’ use of the phrase as calling himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In addition, Jesus’ most frequently used title was ‘Son of Man. While it’s meaning was somewhat enigmatic, Jesus spoke and acted in ways that accorded with the Old Testament and therefore it is difficult to conclude that Jesus viewed the title, ‘Son of Man’, in a way that differed from its use in Daniel chapter 7, where the ‘Son of Man’ is described as one who is given the authority and power of God, and is worshiped accordingly.
“The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” ((Matthew 4:3)
“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29)
“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33)
“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
“Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” (John 9:16-17)³
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:20-21)
“Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:31-33)
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)
“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God”. (John 5:18)
“The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” (John 19:7)
The conclusion is simply inescapable, Jesus believed he was the Son of God. The volume of statements spoken by Jesus about his Divinity is significant, and is perhaps greater than the number of recorded words spoken by President Obama whereby he addresses himself as the President of the United States! In addition to the words of Jesus, when considering whether Jesus is the Son of God, one must also attest to his character and works, all which draw us to the same conclusion. We may question the conclusion, but it is poor form to excise parts of the historical record simply because it doesn’t fit your agenda.
To summarise the evidence:
“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31)
There is debate over whether these words were spoken by Jesus or are a commentary on Jesus’ words to Nicodemus by John. Either way, the understanding is clear.
This debate between Pharisees implies that some people indeed believed Jesus was God
By the sounds of it, Oprah Winfrey’s show in Melbourne last night was even more painful and pointless than anticipated. I simultaneously laughed at and felt sorry for Neil McMahon as I read his review on his evening at Rod Laver Arena with Oprah.
In his summary McMahon mentioned some highlights from Oprah’s two hour sermon (and who ever said that preachers in church should preach less!):
“My heart is my brand.”
“Anything is possible if you keep your vibrational energy high.”
“The intention is why you’re sitting here tonight.”
“Many of you here are frustrated and sick and stalled and scared and maybe even just tired … It doesn’t matter because you’re still here. This is your second chance.”
“Take your glory, Melbourne. Take your glory and run!”
I’m not sure if Oprah sounds more like Joel Osteen or the Dalai Lama, but one thing is sure, such empty bravado ain’t going to help anyone.
It ought to stand out to us how outside the Oprah bubble, media are today reporting important and often dreadful stories, including another mass shooting in America, Boko Haram kidnappings, ISIL, Syria, asylum seekers, and violence and tragedy in Melbourne itself.
On stage with lighting, music pumping, a smiling face and winsome voice, Oprah’s pithy and pseudo-spirituality may enthuse her loyal fans, but in the real world such words are empty.
If I want to be entertained I think I’ll go and watch the new installment of Star Wars. The world needs solutions that have weight to them.
Melbourne, please don’t look to Oprah for life advice, just as I hope people aren’t listening to those blood-sucking, money draining, soul-black hole tele-evangelists who are bizarrely still being shown early Sunday morning television.
Instead, I am reminded of another preacher, and his words were not greeted with mass cheering, but they have nonetheless stood the test of time. They are words with weight to them; words that don’t offer glib promises or shallow triumph. They are words which have made the most powerful uncomfortable, and the wisest look foolish. And they are words that have given peace to the most vulnerable, and joy to the hurting.
Oprah’s words feed the ego, which is perhaps one reason for her popularity. Jesus’ words, on the other hand, both cut the ego and restore the soul.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:19-21)