Summary: Second in series about TDVC, this message focusing on the divinity of Jesus, which is challenged in the book.
Who Was Jesus?
(The Da Vinci Code – Part 2)
May 28, 2006
(With grateful acknowledgment of the book, Cracking Da Vinci’s Code, by James L. Garlow and Peter Jones, from which much of the material in the first two sections comes)
After taking a break last week, I’m back to talking about The Da Vinci Code, that world-wide best-seller. The movie version came out last week, and in its first weekend out, was the second-biggest opening weekend for a movie in history.
The book, by itself, is a fun book to read, if you like murder mysteries. I enjoyed reading it, and found it hard to put down.
For a story takes place in the space of about 2 days, it has brought a fire-storm of criticism and praise, and the book has been the center of many books and documentaries examining the “facts” that author Dan Brown puts forth.
One of these “facts” was that the Bible cannot be trusted and was put together as a political tool of the emperor Constantine.
In the first message of that series two weeks ago we examined just why we can trust the Bible we have.
Next week, it’s my intention to look at another major figure in the book, Mary Magdalene, and the role she played in the life of Jesus and the early church.
The week after that, I’m going to look at just what place popular literature should have in the life of a Christian.
How should we decide what we should read or what we should avoid? Should Christians read secular literature, especially for entertainment? Can Christians learn anything from secular literature?
And what is the point of all this? Simply to help us become better equipped to meet the challenges to the faith in a reasoned and reasonable manner.
Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest who writes a column for Foxnews.com had this to say a few weeks ago:
“Dan Brown is capable of passing fiction for fact because Christians don’t know their faith — what and why they believe. That’s not Mr. Brown’s fault.” (Foxnews.com, The Da Vinci Code - A Positive for Christianity, Fr. Jonathan Morris)
How true that is, folks. Too often Christians walk around in a fog of belief, never really solidifying just what they believe and why.
Today we examine the question, “Who was Jesus?” This question comes from the declaration in The Da Vinci Code that Jesus was not who the church believes He is today.
I’ve printed a bit of the book in your note-taking guide to give you the context of the comments from the book.
Sir Leigh Teabing, a “former British Royal Historian, is talking with Robert Langdon, a cryptologist who is the main character in the story, and Sophie Neveu, a cryptographer who works for the French Authorities.
They are running from the police who believe that Langdon may have killed the curator of the Louvre museum in Paris.
He is discussing how Christianity as we know it came to be, at least in his opinion. And we find this interesting discussion on page 233 –
“At this gathering [The Council of Nicaea],” Teabing said, “many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of the sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus.”
“...until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet...a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”
“Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?”
“A relatively close vote at that,” Teabing added.
To be sure, Dan Brown is not the first person to make this claim. It’s been around for a long time.
But today I want us to examine the validity of that claim, by examining three main questions: What was the Council of Nicaea, What did the early followers of Jesus believe about Him, and thirdly, “How did Jesus view Himself?”
And it’s my hope that you will walk out of here today with not just more knowledge, but also a stronger faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So let’s dive in and take a look at Jesus, okay? The first question to deal with is...
What was the Council of Nicaea?
A quick review is in order here:
In the first message in this series, I discussed the view put forth in the book that Constantine, the roman Emperor was the one who basically put together the New Testament, intentionally choosing which books would be included, with the idea of putting forth a particular political agenda. The idea is that Constantine wanted to unify the empire under one religion, and chose Christianity as the vehicle, because of its growing influence.
And in putting together the New Testament, he would make sure that the “right” beliefs would come through and solidify his hold on the empire.