Jan Losh: It’s an old question
There is no avoiding the fact that a man named Jesus lived from approximately 3 B.C. to 30 A.D. The time elements B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini, Latin for “in the year of our Lord”) originated out of recognition of Jesus’s birth, even though the accuracy of these time features is debatable and modernists continue to transition to less intimidating time measurements.
The Bible, Jesus’ biography (New Testament) and the prequel (Old Testament), is the number one best seller of all time, outperforming the next closest best seller by the billions. Jesus is a historical figure to be reckoned with, to be sure.
And yet, more than two millennia ago, Jesus asked his own disciples, “What think ye of Christ?” Their answer is worthy of note, as are the responses many today give to the age-old question. Some say Jesus was an extraordinary teacher, a master storyteller with his fascinating parables. Others take it up a notch declaring him to be a great religious leader, even a prophet. Others acknowledge he was a good man, perhaps among the best who ever lived, but he was not the Son of God. The incongruity of the last statement is overwhelming.
Jesus was either the son of God or he was arguably the most fraudulent, hypocritical, and vicious imposter to ever victimize the world. If he was not the son of God, he was a brazen charlatan: at the time he walked this earth, he led thousands of people – and over the course of history billions – into a dedication of their very lives to him on the pretense that he was, indeed, the son of God.
If he were not the Son of God, then hypocrisy would be a severe understatement in describing his flawed character. The words, “Verily (or truthfully, honestly) I say unto you” prefaced many of his sermons and parables. Jesus not only professed to tell the truth, he pronounced that he himself was the truth and proceeded to declare himself to be the only link humanity has with God – the only savior. In so sanctioning himself without, in reality, being the incarnate Son of God, he would have rendered himself the grandest of imposters. Hardly what anyone could or should consider even a marginally good man.
It is impossible to know the countless martyrs who over the ages willingly gave their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly the death count continues to grow in horrifying numbers in many parts of the world.
During the past 20 centuries, millions have been burned at the stake, hung, beaten, drowned, or murdered by various other means in England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and the Netherlands. Thousands more today continue to suffer for their Christian faith, sometimes to the death, in India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Colombia, and parts of Nigeria and Indonesia.
History and tradition reveal that 10 of the 12 original disciples died violent deaths for their faith in Jesus. Such sacrifice, all for the sake of Christ, the beloved Jesus, the one believed to the death to be the Son of God.
No good man would encourage people to follow him to the extent of giving up their lives for nothing. Death was and continues to be a foe believers face unswervingly for the Son of God, but not for a fraud.
We have to recognize Jesus Christ as either an imposter lacking any genuine degree of morals, or join the centurion who was present at Jesus’ crucifixion and was compelled to declare, “Truly this man was the son of God.”
You simply can’t have it both ways.
Jan Losh is a human resources consultant based in Dillon. Contact her at email@example.com
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