I believe that Jesus is God. I have believed this since I was a little girl. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, what did Jesus think of himself? Did he think he was God? The Messiah? Was He just a crazy guy that claimed he was God? Lee Strobel’s Case For Christ has helped me answer some of these questions.
Did Jesus Really Think He Was God?
The fact that Jesus claimed to be God doesn’t necessarily mean that was God. There are so many Bible verses in which Jesus claims to be God or other people say that Jesus is God that a hard to deny he was telling the truth. Also, there’s the fact that Jesus matches up with the identity of Christ as predicted in the Old Testament and he was the only person known to ever come back to life. No ordinary person can come back to life.
God can forgive sins. According to the Bible, God is the only one in charge of forgiving sins. When King David committed adultery and then arranged the death of the woman’s husband, he said to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4). David recognized that although he had hurt people, in the end he had sinned against God, and he needed God to forgive him. Jesus forgave sins in Mark 2:1-12. One of the most striking- and offensive, to many people-things that Jesus did was forgive sins. You can read other ways that Jesus matched up with the identity of God in Lee Strobel’s Case For Christ. There was a point in my life where I didn’t know who I should ask forgiveness from. But now that I’m older and go to church, I understand the only person I can ask forgiveness from is God.
Did Jesus Fake His Death?
Before I read Lee Strobel’s Chase For Christ, I believed that Jesus had faked his death. And even if he hadn’t faked his death, how would he have come back to life? As I read the book, I realized, how could he have actually faked his death?
Before Jesus was hung on the cross, he was whipped. Now whipping doesn’t necessarily kill a person. But if you are whipped with braided metal thongs that had metal balls woven into them, that can be pretty damaging. The whip also had pieces of bone that would cut into the flesh. Whipping usually consisted of 39 lashes but a soldier would inflict more depending on his mood. I was moved by Jesus’ obedience and how very painful it was for him. Here are some details about crucifixion that affected me deeply.
Nearly all the pictures of Jesus on the cross show the nails going through his palms. Probably because the Bible mentioned nail marks on Jesus’ hands (John 20:25). But actually, the Romans drove the spikes into the victim’s wrists (which was considered part of the hand). The bones in the hand aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of the body if they were on the cross. The nails would have shredded right through the palms, and the victim would have fallen off the cross
Once the person is hanging in the vertical position crucifixion is an agonizingly slow death. In order to exhale, the person would have to push up on his feet. When he did that the nails would tear through the feet until they locked up against the anklebones. After he managed to exhale, the person would then be able to relax down and then take another breath in. Again he would have to push up to exhale. This would go on and on until complete exhaustion would take over and the person wouldn’t be able to push up to breathe anymore. As the person’s breathing slowed down, the lack of oxygen would lead to an erratic heartbeat and eventually cardiac arrest.
(p. 86-87, Case for Christ).
I think Jesus knew that he had to die. He knew all the pain that he would have to go through. I love that Jesus never backed own and said “You know what, I don’t really want to die, so just let me go and I will never claim to be God again.” Instead, he took on our sins and died for us. What about you, do you still think Jesus faked his death?
Can a Dead Man Come Back to Life?
The answer to this question is no. A dead person cannot come back to life. Then why did Jesus? Because Jesus is God and God can do anything. Jesus matches the identity of God. An ordinary dead man cannot come back to life. Jesus came back to life because he was not an ordinary man he was God. And since Jesus is God and what he says is true, I know that he loves me as much as he says, “he has my best interest at heart. That means I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by committing myself to him” (p. 112, Case for Christ).