Saturday, December 23, 2006

Why He's Special

Last Christmas we ran the following post and thought it might be good to do it again this year with a few minor edits:

Why do the words of a 1st century Jewish rabbi carry such enormous metaphysical weight with Christians today? The answer, we believe, is that for two thousand years Christians have held that Jesus was not just a rabbi, not just some specially chosen messenger from God, not just a prophet, but that he was God Himself.

Certainly this is what the Bible teaches about Him and what He said about Himself. Consider a couple of examples from Paul writing about Jesus:

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth...all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col.1:15-17)

...our great God and savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13)

And here's John describing Christ:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (Jn 1:1-3)

And the Jews were seeking to kill Him, because He...was...making Himself equal with God. (Jn 5:18)

And Thomas:

Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28)

And here is Jesus speaking of Himself:

The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore they picked up stones (to stone Him for blasphemy since I AM was a name God assigns to Himself in the Old Testament to indicate His timelessness) (Jn 8:57-59)

"I and the Father are one" (and the same). The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them..."for which [of my works] are you stoning me?" The Jews answered Him..."for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (Jn 10:30-33)

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (Jn.14:9)

It is the belief in the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus that separates Christians from other monotheists. It is a belief unique to Christianity among modern world religions. It is also what makes Christmas so significant and special to believers. As the world turns toward Christmas eve we've resolved to keep well in mind why it is that Christians have always thought this birth, this child, to be full of mystery, wonder, awe and love. The Creator of the world, despite our rejection and betrayal of him, is born into the world as a human, to human parents, in the meanest surroundings, so that ultimately He may one day coax us back to Himself.

Christmas reminds us all of the depth of His devotion to us. It reminds us that God chose to identify Himself with us in our humanity by sharing in our suffering and enduring an awful physical death, all of which He did as an expression of purest love. It was completely gratuitous. He needn't have done it, but for reasons we can't really understand on this side of eternity, it was apparently the only way He could win us back.

Christmas reminds us that God became man and dwelt among us, but couldn't Jesus have been mistaken about who He was? Couldn't He have been lying? Couldn't He have been deranged? Yes, He could have been any of these which is why we are not just left with a record of what He said about Himself but also a record of what happened at the end of His life. It was these events which authenticated the claims that He and others made about who He was.

For more on that topic go here and scroll to Christian Belief VI. In the meantime, we wish all of our readers a wonderful Christmas filled with the love of family and friends.

Neville Baker

It can now be revealed that there was a secret meeting between James Baker and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that is believed to be behind Baker's suggestion that to bring stability to Iraq we should seek the help of the man who promises to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

David Zucker was hired to document the meeting and his video has just been released. Viewpoint readers can watch it here.

You are witnesses to history.

HT: Powerline

I Was Thirsty and You Gave Me Drink

An organization called Voice of the Martyrs sent this report through a NewsMax e-mail subscription so I can't link you to the original:

Nasir Ashraf, a Christian stone mason, was brutally attacked by radical Muslims just outside Lahore.

While working on the construction of a room at a school near Manga Mandi in Pakistan, Nasir took a break after becoming thirsty. He drew water and drank from a glass chained to a cemented public water tank next to a mosque, which was reserved for "all" poor people. Returning to the construction site, a Muslim man asked him, "Why did you drink water from this glass since you are a Christian?" The man accused Nasir of polluting the glass. The Muslim man yanked the glass off the iron chain, broke it and threw it in a garbage can. The man summoned other radical Muslims to the scene, furiously saying, "This Christian polluted our glass." Hearing this, the incensed mob began beating Nasir, yelling that a Christian dog drank water from their glass.

Nasir Ashraf

The radical Muslims encouraged bystanders to beat Nasir because it would be a "good" deed that would benefit them in heaven. The attackers pushed Nasir off a ledge onto the ground. The impact of the fall dislocated his shoulder and broke his collar bone in two places. This knocked Nasir unconscious and he did not regain his senses until he reached a clinic. A doctor told Nasir that some people had brought him there.

Nasir's father took him home and a VOM representative was alerted about the incident. VOMedical is helping with Nasir's medical treatment and is monitoring his recovery from the attack.

Nice people, those Muslims. One wonders how two monotheistic religions like Islam and Christianity can be so diametrically different in the way they are enjoined to treat "the stranger" in their midst, and what they teach about good deeds and heavenly reward. One is based on loving one's neighbor and the other is based, at least judging by how it is often practiced, on hating anyone who holds different convictions. One is based on doing justice to the poor, oppressed, and weak regardless of their theology, and the other is based, from all appearances, upon breaking their bones and slitting their throats.

One also wonders what the appeal of Islam could possibly be for anyone living in the civilized world.