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3. Jesus Christ of Nazareth

Let us look at Jesus.

It is a historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth existed, preached, and was executed by the Romans at the insistence of the Jewish leaders. Secular history says this much. No other historical figure has as much evidence for his existence.

All Jesus would have had to do to avoid being executed in the most torturous way humans have ever come up with was to say He was not God. That is all. Yet He went to the cross with the words "I am (God)" on His lips.

Mark 14:61 “Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, "I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Why would He do this?

There are only two possibilities. He either was God or He was not.

There is no in between.

I am either God or I am not (I will tell you right now that I am not). The chair I am sitting in is either God or it is not. There is no in between.

If Jesus was not God, He either knew He was not or He did not know He was not. Again, there is no in-between.

Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or He really was Lord.

Liars, con-artists, are capable of convincing large numbers of people that they are divine. But they all have one thing in common: a strong sense of Self Preservation. A liar of the magnitude Christ would have had to be to pull off the things He did, would have been able to work out a deal with the Jews to avoid being crucified. The fact that He didn't even try shows that the man actually believed what He was saying. Anyone who honestly believes He is God (enough to go to the Cross for that belief) is either coo-coo or God Himself. No alternatives.

The level of insanity that convinces a man He is God (strongly enough to override the self-preservation instinct) is called Complex, Paranoid Schizophrenia. We have many examples of this disease available for study. Charles Manson is probably the most famous modern case. All victims of Complex, Paranoid Schizophrenia have one thing in common; they are very violent. Charles Manson committed his crimes (slaughtering a houseful of people) trying to start a race war that would allow him to take over the world.

· He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.

· Love your neighbor as yourself.

· Do good to them that wrongfully use you.

· Turn the other cheek.

These are quotes from Christ. Do these sound like the rantings of a violent lunatic? What about the results of His teaching?

Matthew 7:16 " You shall know them by their fruits ."

Christianity has been the greatest force for peace and brotherly love in history all over the world. Christianity is responsible for the elimination of cannibalism, stopping countless feuds and wars, stopping human sacrifice. It is also known that the more non-Catholic missionaries an African country had in the last two centuries, the more educated and equal their women are and the freer their people are in general. Is this the fruit of Complex, Paranoid Schizophrenia? I don't think so.

"Once you have eliminated all the possibilities, what ever remains, no matter how implausible, must be the truth." -Sherlock Holmes

If Christ was not a liar; if He was not a lunatic; He must be Lord.

"There is a God, and you are not Him."  -Andrew Tracy

The Romans who crucified Christ were experts at execution. Those soldiers would have lost their heads if they did not do it right, so they always made sure they did. Christ was dead when He was removed from the cross.

They placed Him in a tomb and rolled a stone so heavy that three healthy women (who were used to the normal hard labor of the pre-electronic age) were concerned they would not be able to move it away enough to get in. They sealed the tomb with wax and placed guards around it that, again, would lose their heads if they did not do their job right. Christ was not in a coma, as some have claimed. There is no way He could have moved that boulder to get out, even if He had been perfectly healthy, and especially not just three days after the ordeal of the cross (with no water, food or medicine in the meantime).

The disciples did not steal the body. The soldiers (somewhere between 12 and 20 of them) would have killed them if they had tried (and these are the same men who had just run away when Jesus was arrested. Hardly the examples of courage necessary to attack trained soldiers.)

Every disciple but John was later executed for claiming Christ was alive. Again, these men's teachings were those of sane men (“Love your neighbor as yourself”), yet they died for the belief that Christ rose from the dead. They obviously believed it.

In addition, they had just spent three and a half years living day and night with Christ. They could not have been fooled about His identity. When they said they saw their Lord AFTER His crucifixion, all reasonable evidence says that is exactly what they saw; the risen Jesus Christ.