Thursday, February 28, 2019

How do we know Jesus claimed to be divine? How do we know that Jesus wasn't just a good teacher?

A doubt often echoed online is that Jesus was just a good person or teacher. How do we know he claimed to be divine? Helloo? He is called the Son of God about 40 times in the New Testament & he called God his Abba, Father, Papa really. That was blasphemous back then. Today’s skeptics say not so fast. All christians are in a sense the sons & daughters of God, so how do we really know he claimed to be divine? Well, he also often referred to himself as the Son of Man. Skeptics also say this just indicates his humanity, but it doesn’t.

Actually Son of Man refers to a messianic vision in Daniel 7:13-14. Jesus quotes it when on trial in Mark 14:61–64. He tells the high priest that you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God & coming on the clouds of heaven. The high priest calls it blasphemy. If Son of Man referred to his humanity, it would have been no big deal, but Jesus was calling himself the Messiah. So he claimed to be the Messiah, so what? Well, Isaiah 7:14 says when the Messiah is born, he will be called Immanuel which means God With Us. Jesus is saying he is God With Us & that is why he is sentenced to death!

How do we know this Son of Man title wasn’t sprinkled around the New Testament(NT) hundreds of years later? The first reason is the way the phrase is used in the NT. It is used around 80 times in the 4 gospels, but only once in Acts & twice in Revelations in the rest of the NT. It is more prevalent in the gospels, because Jesus used it a lot & the gospels quote Jesus. If it was a later addition it would have been sprinkled around more.
Second the text of the gospels & letters were copied & circulated many, many times. There are currently 5800 early copies or partial copies of the greek NT in existence. If we include early copies in other languages, the number climbs to 25,000 copies total. Changing all those copies is like saying Time magazine modified the 1938 Man of Year article decades later to feature someone other than Hitler & then replaced all the originals. It would just not be possible to find them all to do it.

Maybe you have a skeptic in your life on Facebook or in your own family. If it comes up, you can honestly tell your skeptic that Jesus claimed to be divine every time he called himself Son of Man. My worst critic was myself. I assumed asking anyone about my doubts would just start an argument, so I didn’t. 25+ years later a book helped me eliminate many doubts. Want more info? Skim my Doubts You Don’t Have To Have. Maybe some bother you too. Feel free to post a comment or email me at mattrhodes@skepticsquestions.com if you have questions.

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