By Hugo McCord
The Bible church, being the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), is founded on him who is the truth, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). “Upon this rock [‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’],” said Jesus, “I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13-19). Peter, the apostle who made the good confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” if living today, would be embarrassed that some have said the rock on which the church was built was himself. Peter wrote that an Old Testament prediction, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious” (Isaiah 28:16), was fulfilled, not in Simon Peter, but in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:6). The church today then that is truly Christ’s church gives to him the preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:18). Only because he has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) will he be able to save his church, his body, in heaven (Ephesians 5: 23).
The non-human origin of Jesus is seen when we take a close look at the kind of person he was. With hardly an exception, both believers and unbelievers unite in joyful praise and in warm admiration for the person of Jesus.
Keeping youthful desires under control, Jesus as a lad was turned toward religion. Though he knew he was the Son of God, he subjected himself as a youth to his earthly parents. Though he knew he would be a preacher, yet he learned hard physical work. Though not a husband, yet he respected wives and mothers. Though not a father, yet he loved little children. Though authoritative, yet he was meek and lowly. Though unschooled, yet he was the master teacher. Tired and hungry, yet consumed with soul-saving, he forgot his own needs. Obsessed by justice, he refused to embarrass a sinful penitent and instead rebuked her persecutors. Free from race prejudice, he was a friend of the hated Samaritans. Free from the love of money, owning not a pillow, he was content to be rich in good works. Free from worldly ambition, he rejected attempts to make him an earthly king. Free from selfishness, he worked early and late, going about doing good. Free from self-righteousness, he was a friend of sinners. Having respect for things sacred, he forcibly removed commercialism and thievery from the temple of God.
Jesus exposed the self-righteousness of a religious sect called the Pharisees. An acid tongue had he for duplicity, but toward penitence, he was gentle and easy to approach. Loving the unfortunate, even at the expense of his popularity, he helped those in need. Moved with compassion, multitudes of hungry people he fed. Grieved at death, and weeping, he comforted the broken-hearted.
Born in a stable to humble parents, never did he get above the common people. He washed feet, and plain men and women were comfortable in his presence. He had no quirks, no one-sided views on any subject. Devout exceedingly, yet he was no ascetic. His overall perspective was not of this world, yet he concentrated on his work in this world. He was a balanced, whole person. Perfectly he was able to combine piety and philanthropy.
Never hesitant, never making a mistake, he was in charge of every situation. Com- pletely self-possessed, yet free of self-sufficiency, he obtained strength to help in time of need through private devotionals with his Father. Making the Father’s will his will, unveeringly he denied himself to bless humanity. Loving his enemies, free from resentment, he excused his murderers and prayed for them. Loving his neighbor more than he loved himself, he won the benediction of his Father and the gratitude of sinners.
If Jesus had not claimed deity, his character would have claimed it for him. No mere human has approached the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ Jesus. Eye-witnesses said they beheld his glory, the glory as of the only one of his nature, full of grace and truth. If he was not divine, his character remains forever unexplainable.
INSANITY OR DEPRAVITY OR DEITY
A contradiction ensues if one ascribes goodness to Jesus and yet withholds deity. A good man does not deceive. Jesus claimed deity and so convinced myriads that they committed their all to his leadership. If he is not divine, he is not a blessing. The world’s greatest hoax he becomes, and the world’s meanest man. Ingratiating himself, promising life abundant here and beyond the grave, yet unable to carry through, this man was a malevolent weakling. If he was sane, which is unquestioned, then if not God he was not good.
Inconsistent are the Unitarians, who admire Jesus as a man but refuse to recognize his deity. The Jehovah’s Witnesses make Jesus more than a man, but withhold his equality with the Father (Philippians 2:6). The Scripture asserts that in him “dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). He lacks nothing, being the very image of the Father’s substance (Hebrews 1:3). It is no wonder that Thomas exclaimed to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
The story of Jesus could not be fictional. If it were, then how the gospel writers came to conspire on that fiction, and where they obtained their idea about such a person, are both unexplainable. Their invention of such a person is unimaginable and becomes in itself a miracle.
* A large portion of this article is taken from Chapter VI of the author’s book, From Heaven or From Men?, published by the Firm Foundation Publishing House, Austin, Texas.
Who is the foundation of the church?
What do we mean in saying Jesus is divine?
What is the definition of “deity”?
Discuss some of the evidences of Jesus’ divinity.
Is it correct for us to call Jesus God?
What would be the consequences if Jesus were not divine?