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Summary: The Da Vinci Code and the Jesus seminar present radically different visions of who the real Jesus was. What is their evidence and how trustworthy is it?

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SE032804

MY OWN PERSONAL JESUS

2. Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up

Last week, we said that when people consider WHO Jesus REALLY WAS, there is the New Testament answer to that question, and then there’s every other answer.

- the New Testament answer is that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, that he was human AND he was one with God himself, and his life was the perfect sacrifice to pay for human sin and Jesus authenticated all of this by his miraculous resurrection from the dead.

That’s the New Testament answer. Then there’s all the other answers.

- there’s the Mormon answer which says that Jesus was the spirit brother of Lucifer, the Devil.

- there’s the Jehovah’s Witness answer which says that Jesus is really not one with God, but rather the Archangel Michael.

- there’s the Jesus Seminar answer which says that Jesus was a witty country sage – the “merely human” Jesus.

As you might expect, in order to get a different view of Jesus you have to go to different sources. So the Mormon’s have the Book of Mormon, the Witnesses have their special Bible called the New World translation (and their Watchtower), the Jesus Seminar has writings like the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Thomas etc.

Now, because we’re dealing with history, we have to rely on sources, and witnesses to come to a verdict about Jesus – just like we would in a court of law. And just like in a court of law, the objectivity, authenticity, and motives of our witnesses will tell us which ones to trust to find the REAL Jesus.

So we don’t have time to go into ALL the witnesses…

- we won’t look at Mormon sources

- we won’t look at the New World Translation

- but we will look in-depth into the sources for the Cynic Sage Jesus who is becoming more and more popular to believe in.

NEW JESUS

I want to focus here, because every year, we get another round of Jesus Media Blitz around Easter. The History Channel and the Learning Channel do specials on Jesus and the Newspaper runs some articles and Time and Newsweek throw a picture of Jesus on the cover to sell some magazines. (*)

Jesus sells, because remember, Jesus is the man no one dares to hate. But what REALLY sells, is not just Jesus, but a new, radically redefined Jesus. That sells!

- Like one scholar who says that Jesus celebrated and practiced homosexuality. That sells.

- Or another scholar who says that Jesus really married Mary Magdalene and moved to Spain and had kids. That sells.

But is there any proof for any of this? What sources do they use… it’s obviously not the New Testament. You might hear from time to time that scholars have recently “discovered” new sources of information about Jesus that contradict the Bible’s view.

It is claimed that works such as the Gospel of Thomas, Secret Mark, the Gospel of Peter, The Gospel of Mary and “Q,” contain material about Jesus that was lost, or intentionally suppressed, when the Gospels were accepted by the early church.

It’s the tale of a conspiracy. Elaine Pagels writes, “the winners write the history,” suggesting that early Christians monkeyed with the texts, subverted those they didn’t like, added to what was there, to get just the picture of Jesus that suited them. We’re talking about maliciously foisting a false Jesus on the world.

Now, if you have seen these programs and heard these claims, you might be a little surprised: ARE there ancient books outside the Bible that speak about Jesus – and do so more accurately than the Bible does?!

New Discoveries

In light all the recent commotion, let me say as clearly as I can that there are, in fact, no “new” discoveries of documents about Jesus. In fact, two of the Five most talked about “discoveries” have never been discovered…

- “Q” and Secret Mark are actually hypothetical documents that some scholars theorize must have existed.

- Another, the Gospel of Thomas was known about for almost 2 hundred years, but a full copy was finally discovered fifty years ago in a dig at Nag Hammadi, Egypt.

- A fourth, the Gospel of Peter was discovered over a hundred years ago.

- A fifth, the Gospel of Mary was also discovered over 100 years ago.

GOSPEL OF MARY

What do these things say? Let’s look at them and start with the Gospel of Mary. If you’ve read the Da Vinci Code, the historian Teabing makes mention of Mary. He says

“Jesus was the original feminist. He intended for the future of His Church to be in the hands of Mary Magdalene." The gospel of Mary doesn’t have Jesus performing any miracles, and it’s Jesus believed in a sort of “Feminized Divine” that the evil, male dominated church hushed up.

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