Jesus both God and man: Belief in Biblical Christianity is a dividing line between family members, coworkers, neighbors and even nations. In some cases the mere mention of the Lord Jesus Christ is bitterly offensive and so we will briefly examine the chasm that is as far as east is from west. Jesus of Nazareth is probably the most offensive person in human history for some people.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6)
On the surface, that is either the most arrogant lie ever told, or it is the truth. Think about it. I have met people with a rather high opinion of themselves, but never a person who actually believed that no one can come before God unless He says so. It’s difficult for people to believe this because they are thinking in human terms.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23)
The biblical prophets foretold of a savior coming someday. Some in the century leading up to Jesus’ birth imagined a powerful, military man, who would lead an army against the Romans. But He came in the most humble of ways and His first bed was a manger.
Jewish leaders rejected Jesus
The Jewish leaders rejected Him. All of the clues were in the writings of the prophets, or the psalms of David. His story began to unfold in Genesis and left off at the end of Revelation. He never went after the Romans; never even challenged them.
He did, however, rebuke the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and arrogance. The Jewish elite were threatened. He was viewed as a heretic, not a Messiah. Jesus was the most improbable one to forgive sins, heal the sick and open the door for all of us to enter into the Kingdom of God. He was fully man and fully God, and thus a problem.
Gnostics didn’t believe Jesus was both God and man
The Gnostics believed that the flesh was evil and the spirit was good. Therefore fully man and fully God was not possible. They railed against it and tried to subvert the Gospel message. Much of the New Testament was written in response to that deadly deception.
Some people still believe that there may have been an historical Jesus, but He was just a good man and a good teacher. They are also wrong.
The only thing we know about Jesus comes from the Bible, so they reject the Bible and do not believe that it is as an authoritative source. Even some churches have stretched the truth so far as to water down the truth to the point of the Gospel message becomes meaningless.
Jesus has always caused anger
For the last 2000 years Jesus has been at the cross-hairs of non-believers. The mere mention causes anger. Saying His name invokes the worst of human behavior. He is either who He says He is, or He’s a liar or a mental defective.
The Bible clearly states that we are saved by the grace of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe in Christ, faith in what Christ has done for us and the desire to turn around and follow another path are the simple elements of Christian belief.
Nicodemus was a pharisee but also saw Jesus as the Messiah
As Jesus told Nicodemus the Pharisee,
“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.” (John 3:16)
Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel and a highly respected scholar, saw the truth in Jesus and was amazed. Unlike his fellow members of the Jewish ruling class, Nicodemus saw the Messiah, not a rogue preacher or lunatic.
But it was the rest of the leaders wanted Jesus to die, because He was bad for their business. Jesus would cause people to turn away from the Temple and stop making sacrifices, causing a collapse in what was a rather lucrative enterprise.
People would come to the temple to buy animals for the sacrifice. They came from all over and spend a lot of money. For Jesus to come in and interrupt commerce was a very bad thing. The temple, the house of God, was a money-making front.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, (Mark 11:15)
You can see why Jesus was offensive. Even at the very beginning of His ministry, He stepped on toes in the synagogue.
“…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:17-19)
Pharisees could not accept the divinity of Jesus as both God and man
The Rabbis were incensed. They wanted to kill Jesus. Later in His ministry, Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead and the Pharisees formally began to plot how to kill him.
Even today, in some places, the reading of the Bible and following Jesus is against the law and punishable by death. He remains the controversial figure he was during His life on earth. Nothing has changed.