Summary: I want to thank Brian Mavis for his inspiration for this series and Josh McDowell for his great book on Evidences. This is the first of 4
• Mel Gibson’s new movie, “The Passion of The Christ” has stirred up a lot of controversy. The movie has also touched the lives of many people in a profound way.
• The focus of this movie is the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus. The last twelve hours of the life of Jesus are by far the most violent of any period of his life, even more that the ordered slaughter of all male children under two that Herod ordered in Matthew 2:16.
• There have been over 100 known movies made about Jesus over the years, why has this one drawn so much venomous criticism? The movie claims to follows the gospel accounts of this very closely, yet some critics call this movie, ‘The Gospel According to Mel.”
• I believe this movie does a good job of staying true to the text. I am not a lone, many other religious leaders feel the same way, people like Billy and Franklin Graham, Josh McDowell, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy are but a few.
• Over the years, the death of Jesus has been so sanitized by beautiful bloodless artistic renderings that this movie hits us square in the face with the reality of the suffering Jesus endured for us.
• Even as late as 1999, CBS-TV bought the rights to The Jesus Mini Series. However they censored the “passion” of Jesus.
• CBS cut out the nail scene.
• CBS cut the screams of Jesus.
• CBS cut out Jesus loving the children in the final scene.
• CBS said they wanted a “more traditional Jesus.” (www.hollywoodjesus.com/passion.htm)
• I believe this movie has struck a nerve with people because if Jesus is who He claims to be and He suffered and died and rose again as we see in the Passion, then we are left with the dilemma of what to do now. This puts people on the spot.
• Today I am going to start of four-week series focusing in on Jesus. In our message today, we are going to focus in on deciding whether or not Jesus is the Son of God.
• If we determine that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, then we put in a dilemma. IF Jesus is the Son of God, then we either have to accept Him or reject Him.
• Today we are going to see if Jesus is indeed the Son of God. We will look first determine if there really was a “Jesus”. Then we will look at the issue of Biblical Prophecy, and then we will finish up by looking at the life of Jesus to see if His life reflects the fact He is the Son of God.
• READ MATTHEW 26:57-68 FOCUS ON VERSE 64
I. JESUS, MAN OR MYTH?
• There has been debate in the past of whether or not there was a Jesus, but you do not hear that argument too much today. Even with that, I think we need to know that Jesus was not just some figment of the bible.
• The Bible is clear; Jesus was born of a woman under the law (Galatians 4:4). Jesus lived and was crucified, died, was buried, and rose on the third day.
• I want us to look at two areas outside of the Bible that attest to the fact that Jesus was not a myth, but a man.
• The one thing we must remember is that Jesus lived over 2,000 years ago. Back then there was no TV, no radio, no satellite technology or other recording equipment. All we have is bits and pieces of various writings.
• Those people who do not want to believe in the Jesus of the Bible are quick to dismiss the Bible because they do not like what it says. We have more evidence that proves the accuracy of the Biblical text than we do of ANY other ancient writing.
• There was a time when liberal scholars tried to say the New Testament was written in the second century. Evidence has all but proven that theory wrong. The gap between when the New Testament was written and the first available manuscript is closer than any other ancient writing. Not only that the number of available manuscripts for the New Testament dwarfs that of the next closest document from antiquity. Homer’s Iliad has a 500 year gap between the original and the oldest available manuscript. There are 643 copies of the Iliad from antiquity available. This is the best documented writing from antiquity next to the New Testament. There is only a 25 year gap between the writing of the New Testament and the oldest manuscript fragment available to us today. By the way, there are over 24,000 manuscripts of the New Testament available to us.