Jesus Christ: Persisting Through And Beyond Time

History, archeology, ancient non-Christian literatures and every available written record all thoroughly attest to the fact that Jesus was unrivalled in this ability in the history of the nabi and Hasid traditions before him and in the entire history of mankind.

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“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to…set at liberty them that are bruised…’ Luke 4:18

A little over two weeks ago I wrote a piece about my fascination with Jesus Christ, and immediately a barrage of feedback poured in from a number of readers, some of who expressed their ‘shock’ and wondered ‘what informed such a piece’ from me!

Even though I am surprised that anyone would be ‘shocked’ because I wrote such a piece, I took note of one of the feedbacks in which the writer insisted I take my fascination a step further to adoration.

Well, I am using this opportunity to convey to my readers that I am much more than fascinated with Christ; that I believe in him as The Word of the Living God, the Saviour of man and the only hope of humanity.

The reason I hold this belief is a subject for another day.

For now, suffice it to say however that my fascination is not just inspired by the reason I stated in my previous article on the subject but also because of an equally well attested fact about Jesus; his miracles.

Although the greatest of all miracles is the miracle of salvation, during his three-year earthly ministry, if there is one feature of his activities that repeatedly became so obvious as recorded, it was Jesus’ capacity to work what men call miracles.

History, archeology, ancient non-Christian literatures and every available written record all thoroughly attest to the fact that Jesus was unrivalled in this ability in the history of the nabi and Hasid traditions before him and in the entire history of mankind.

Granted that great prophets like Moses, Elisha etc. were all credited with some miracles, their works were nothing compared to the cases of bringing resolution to paralysis, skin diseases, mental disorders, demonic possessions, and even the resurrection of the dead, attributed to the miracle working power of Jesus Christ. And this was confirmed by countless of his contemporaries who were witnesses, historians of the time, and even his most vicious enemies.

Flavius Josephus, for example, was a first century Romano-Jewish historian, who wrote the celebrated Antiquities of the Jews and said about Jesus that “…he was a wise man…who performed astonishing feats and paradoxical deeds…”

The Roman historian, Tacitus wrote of “the group called Christians…and Christos from whom the name had its origin.”

Pliny the Younger was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor who wrote in 112AD of how the Christians met on “certain fixed days…and sang to Christ…” and were bound to doing good deeds like Christ.

In the artworks of early Christians, among the most common depictions of Jesus are paintings that show him healing a great crowd of people.

In the gospel of Luke 7:20-22, we read about an episode where John the Baptist, then imprisoned, sent a message to Jesus asking if he was “the one who is to come or we should expect another”. Jesus’ reply was as classic, confirmatory of his mission, as it was eternal. “Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life”.

From his own mouth, we see the strongest endorsement there is for himself as the one sent by God and the only antidote to all that burdened mankind. We see in Jesus the calmness and confidence only the true Spirit of God exudes.

Yet, as it is expected of man in his characteristic short-sightedness, we have witnessed over time, many men cut across all walks of life, come forward to deny Jesus’ ability to save, his miraculous powers, his death and resurrection.

For example, while some communist Russia scholars declared Jesus never existed, Mathew Arnold, an English poet claimed that “miracles do not happen”. Despite that, men like the Anglican priest, Canon Anthony Harvey have also come forward to declare that the miracle stories in the gospels themselves “are unlike anything else in the ancient literature” of the times in which they were written, that rather than exaggerate their stories like the cultures of their day, the writers “told their stories straight” and simple.

Jesus admonished us to take his words with the simplicity of a child. In other words, we must follow him with faith. Now, if we suspend our incredulity – which I have done – for one minute and examine the good news about Christ, we will find that within the gospels are stories we cannot simply dismiss because of the sheer evidence that supports them.

For example, the gospel of John set the healing of a paralytic man in a historically identifiable place. At John 5:1-4, it say the man was healed “at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem where there is a building called Bethsaida in Hebrew”.

Reading the extensive research work of Professor Joachim Jeremias, the German theologian, one would find that Jerusalem, no doubt, at that time had the same building as the one described in Saint John’s account, and that the said building is at the same location described by him. The prolific British author of historical and religious subjects, Ian Wilson, explains that the earliest European Christian pilgrims to the holy land, over 400 years after this miracle, reported visiting a building “with 5 porticoes….called Bethsaida”, as described by John.

Scholars and archeologist are also agreed that the church of Saint Anne in Jerusalem today is standing on the same spot that building once stood. And there are countless examples like this today.

There are also some skeptics who, faced with the overwhelming evidence in favour of Jesus’ miracle working power, decided unilaterally that Jesus may have been a hypnotist, even though it has been acknowledged today that no one really knows what hypnosis is.

But trying to discredit or deny Jesus’ miracles and even his resurrection is not new. The Pharisees of his day accused him of using the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons, to perform miracles.

Jesus’ response to them is also still classic now, as it was then. “Can a demon drive out a demon? Can a house divided against itself stand?”

All over the world today, we find countless documentation of extraordinary testimonies of people who have been touched by the hands of Jesus Christ. Can we honestly deny their testimonies? Can we reasonably convince a man who has evidently received a miracle from Jesus Christ that ‘miracles don’t exist?’ That “Jesus Christ is not the same yesterday, today and forever?” I doubt it.

Another fact we must consider is the total lack of evidence that Jesus in anyway derived personal gain, in whatever form, be it money or otherwise, from those countless people he brought hope, salvation and healing to. He even instructed his disciples that “you received without charge, give without charges”. As a matter of fact, the paralytic he healed at the Sheep Pool did not even know who healed him.

Finally, the most moving of all the evidence is this: If Jesus was a clever hypnotist as some claim, or performed his miracles with the power of Beelzebub like the Pharisees alleged, or even if he was only a prophet like some absurd religions submission, would it not be reasonable for him to have continued his trade happily to a ripe old age, while enjoying all the gains accruable from such – wealth, women, and power – like some so called prophets before or after him?

But the tortuous death he underwent at Calvary, at the hands of Romans at the age of 33 proves beyond doubt that his mission was far above what non-believers claim. And, he came for mankind, to truly make us free from ourselves and the influence of evil.

No wonder he said “come unto me, all ye that labour and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.

That invitation is still open, the decision to take it and walk through that door – Jesus Christ – to God almighty, remains ours for the taking.

Responses

  1. Bkd
    Okay, I’ll admit that this is a beautifully written piece. I really wish I could write like most TNC writers.
    However, I don’t appreciate the level of dishonesty exhibited about the “power” of Jesus.
    The writer seems to forget that there’s just as much scholarly arguments refuting these so called “historical records” and “evidences ” as there are supporting them.
    Ever wondered why Science remains superior to every other philosophical field? EMPIRICISM.
    Why don’t we just put some of these claims to test. After all, it’s easy to make outlandish claims in the absence of verification. If I tell you I’m the Creator of heaven and head but I created humans to wonder but never believe me, would you doubt me?
    So how about a little challenge? Say we pick someone from your circle and someone from my circle; fortify yours with your bible and holy water etc while mine is fortified with charms and incantations. Let’s see which of them is bold enough to face, or even withstand gunshots from a high calibre rifle. I bet you’re already thinking of throwing the “thou shalt not out the lord thy God to test” line at me even though we both know that bible proves otherwise.
    Anyone who has lived or even schooled in Warri should be familiar with a charm called Agbele. The potency of this charm is quite impressive despite it being one of the lowest among charms.
    So if you’re very sure of your Jesus/God, why don’t you take me up on this challenge? Imagine how many concerts you’d make if you prove me wrong.
    All I’m saying is maybe Jesus was a man popular for his exceptional abilities and talents, but so also were Mohamed, Orunmila, Sai Baba and all the other progenitors of the different religions that exist.
    How do we know if he wasn’t just some great magician like Chris Angels and David Blane’s of today? The only difference is that he spearheaded a movement (religion). Just take a moment to imagine what it’ll be like if Chris Angel or Blane launched a religion… Mindblowinf right?
    One more thing, if John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Jesus; who proclaimed and baptized Jesus as the son of God could have reason to doubt the divine identity of Jesus, then I wonder how any sane person would buy into such tall tales 2000 years later. Furthermore, Jesus’ response seems pretty weak and funny to me. If miracles were all the proof needed to confirm his identity, then we must fault Christians who ever doubted Olumba and Jesu-Onyibgo et al. After all, they performed similar miracles while claiming to sons of God(messiah).
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  2. Afeso Akanbi
    I got lost at some point Bkd, you were talking about science and empericsm and at the same time talking about the potency of some charms in Warri, ????. Well, I believe I mentioned what scholars as well as skeptics, not necessarily believers now, all say about Jesus ability to work miracles…. I think you need to read what Jesus response to John is, because he didn’t say miracles was the sole proof he had to prove who he is… all the same, thanks for reading…
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    1. Bkd
      How nice of you to twist my words and make it about science and empiricism. You know I wasn’t talking about science and empiricism. I only made reference to them in to emphasize the relevance of verifying any and every claim, and putting them to the test, especially the outlandish ones. It’s like when McGregor claimed he could defeat Mayqeather until his abilities were put to the test and we all know what happened. Apostle Suleoman claimed El Rufus would die for his blasphemy but we all know what came of it after El Rugai asked him for details of his death. I hope you catch my drift now.
      I also notice how you expertly dodged my challenge to you. It’s fine though, I understand. Actually, I’m not surprised. I wasn’t expecting you to accept the challenge. You’re not the first Xtian I’ve thrown it to. But if for some reason, you decide to take me up on it, you know where to find me.
      And as for Jesus’ response to John’s disciples, YES and YES, his sole proof he gave was miracles, and nothing more. It appears you’re the one who needs to read it again. Here it is.
      Matt 11:4-5
      Jesus answered and said unto them, “Go and shew John AGAIN those things which you do hear and see. The blind receive theirs sights, and the lame walk, the lepers at cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

      So maybe you could tell me which other proof he offered to confirm his identity at the time.
      Bear in mind also that the Bible already showed that John the Baptist wasn’t convinced despite these miracles. Notice how Jesus used the word “again” in that verse.

      Thanks for writing and I look forward to your response.
      God bless you.

      *** @TNC… please why are my comments always marked as spam even though I’ve changed emails severally.

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