Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 22, 2019

Jesus Does Apologetics

(5 Minute Read)

Did you know that Jesus did apologetics while He walked the earth over 2,000 years ago?

He made astonishing claims that at first seem unbelievable. But He gave powerful arguments in defense of those claims. Many passages in the gospels could be referenced, but John 5 and John 10 are the ones I’ll discuss to illustrate Jesus’ approach to apologetics (defending His claims).

The Claim

Jesus of Nazareth claimed equality with God. Claiming equality with God is claiming to be God, as His contemporaries fully understood.
For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:30-33)

Even in the face of attempts to kill him, Jesus did not backpedal. Jesus did not answer the Jews by saying,
“Oh, no. You misunderstood Me. I don’t claim to be God.”
On the contrary, He doubled down on their accusation by explicitly claiming attributes of deity.

Jesus Claims Attributes of Deity

1. Jesus does the same things that God the Father does in the same way.
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19)

2. Jesus knows (sees) everything that God the Father does.
For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (John 5:20)

3. Jesus raises the dead.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. (John 5:21)
Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:25-29)

4. God the Father has delegated all judgment to Jesus.
For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son. (John 5:22)

5. Honoring Jesus is equivalent to honoring God the Father.
All will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:23)

6. Believing Jesus results in eternal life.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

Jesus Defends His Claims

These are mind -blowing claims! How did Jesus defend such radical claims? Jesus based His case on the testimony of four witnesses: John the Baptist, Miracles, God the Father, and Scripture.

1. The testimony of John the Baptist
You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. (John 5:33-35)

John the Baptist was sent by God as an advance man to prepare the way for the Messiah. He clearly testified to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” (John 10:41)

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee
by Rembrandt, 1633
Jesus stopped the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
“Who then is this that even winds and sea
obey him?” asked His disciples.

2. The evidence of miracles
Jesus pointed to His miracles (works) as evidence He had been sent by God.
But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish — the very works that I do — testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. (John 5:36)
The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. (John 10:24-25)
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)

There are over 30 miracles by Jesus recorded in gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But this is only a small selection from those that Jesus actually did. For the Apostle John says
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31)
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)

These amazing works of Jesus, like healing the man born blind and raising the dead, are mind-blowing miracles. These miracles are crucial evidences, because who could do these things except God? Ordinary humans cannot do them. They must be from God. They are evidence that the claims of Jesus are true.

3. The testimony of God the Father
And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. (John 5:37-38)

God the Father testified to Jesus at His baptism and at His transfiguration.
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5)

4. The testimony of Scripture
Jesus said that the Old Testament Scriptures speak of Him and that believing Moses’ writings is equivalent to believing Jesus’ words.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me. . . . Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39,45-47)

The Old Testament Scriptures from Genesis through Malachi speak of the Messiah. On the Emmaus road after the Resurrection Jesus explained to two disciples how the Scriptures testify to Him.
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:25-27)

Conclusion

Jesus explicitly claimed to be God. Plus, He claimed attributes that belong to God alone. In support of these claims He cited John the Baptist, His miracles, God the Father, and Old Testament Scriptures.

Whoever believes in Jesus has passed from death to life (John 3:16; 5:24).

Questions to Ponder

1. Which of the four witnesses that Jesus cites in John 5 is the most compelling for you?
2. Which of the attributes of deity listed above is most impressive to you?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the fifth post in the series on Apologists in the Bible. An apologist is one who gives a logical argument in defense of faith in God.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics

Read the sequel:
6. Job Gets a Dose of Apologetics

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 22, 2019 A.D.

Jesus: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

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