Jesus' Claims to be God Were Confirmed by His Mira

Bob Martin November 11, 2000

I. Welcome:

We’re glad you could join us for 5th session in our study of “Reasons to Believe.”

II. What is the series?

Our goal has been to show you compelling evidences to demonstrate why Christianity is the only true religion and anything that opposes it is false.  We’d like to invite you to participate in a class that covers this material in much greater detail than we will cover here.

III.  Our goal has been two-fold:

1)  To strengthen believers in the defense of our faith! – This is known as ‘apologetics”

Our theme verse has been 1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (stressing the importance of living a godly life).

2)  To reach out to the non-believers in our community and show them some compelling reasons to believe in God and His Son. 

For some of you, this is your first time in a church and you may be apprehensive. We welcome you as our friends, and we trust this evening will be helpful to you as you consider where you are spiritually.

III.  Review


1. We’ve been saying that there are two forms of belief:  Belief THAT something is true and a belief IN something. Apologetics only deals with a belief that God exists, Jesus is God, and the Bible is the Word of God.
2. However, we want to be careful to point out that bringing someone to the salvation experience of believing IN God, is first and foremost, an act of God
John 6:44 "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him”

3. As believers, God simply allows us the privilege of being involved in the process.  This is what Jesus meant when He said, in Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
I want to make sure that I make this point – if you are not living in Matthew 5:13-16 – i.e. seeking to be salt and light by your life backing up the message you proclaim, then you will never live in 1 Peter 3:15.

While all of us want to learn and grow in the knowledge of the truth, what we DO speaks much louder than what we SAY.  In this series, we are simply trying to help every person get to a better place in both of these areas – knowledge and living the life!

IV Series Overview


So far we have used several lines of argument to present some compelling reasons to believe that:

#1:  Truth exists, is knowable, absolute & exclusive.  And that the Law of Non-contradiction states: Opposites cannot both be true at the same time in the same way.

#2:  The God of the Bible exists! 
And while, as believers, we understand the bible presupposes the existence of God, the interesting thing is this, the scientific evidence points in a compelling way to the Christian worldview of the existence of God!

#3:  The New Testament is a historically reliable document.

#4:  Miracles are possible & the NT says Jesus claimed to be God.

#1: His claim to be the “I AM”!
#2: Jesus also claimed to be Jehovah by having eternal glory with the Father. 
#3: Jesus claiming to be equal with God by claiming to forgive sins.  “
#4:  Jesus claimed to be the Messiah—God -- literally, the Anointed one.  The leader appointed by God to carry out the special mission of redemption and liberation of the Jews.
#5:  Jesus claimed to be God by accepting worship
#6: Jesus claimed to have equal authority with God.
#7:  Jesus’ immediate disciples acknowledged His claim to be God.

Tonight our friend Sherlock will discover that . . . Jesus’ claims were miraculously confirmed!
Therefore:
1. Jesus is God
2. The Bible is the Word of God.

Please welcome my friend Sherlock.

Sketch [Sherlock enters]

Sherlock:  Hello, Dr. D.! 

Dr. D:  Hi Sherlock!  It’s good to see you again.  Hey, I heard from Bob . . .

Sherlock:  Who?

Dr. D.:  Your friend Bob . . . Bob Martin!

Sherlock:  Oh yeah!  Bob . . . He’s a great guy!  Man has he been patient with me!  I know I have to irritate him sometimes with all my questions and accusations, but he’s stuck with me and hasn’t given up yet!

Dr. D.:  I don’t think you irritate Bob at all – challenge him maybe, but not irritate.  Besides, none of us have a right to ‘give up’ on anybody.  Remember, I knew him when he was just like you – maybe a little worse! He really loves talking to you and trying to answer your questions. 

Sherlock:  Well, if you talk him, tell him I said hello!  By the way, I do appreciate you taking time and meeting with me and letting me ask you some questions.  I really needed to talk to somebody about all this stuff – I’ve really been thinking about what we’ve been talking about!

Dr. D.: You’ve been talking to Bob for a long time now, Sherlock.  Where are you in all this?

Sherlock:  Well, I have come to understand . . . and admit a few things:

Truth exists, is knowable, absolute & exclusive.  I still have a little trouble with the ‘exclusive’ part, but about the time I start struggling with it, I remember that law of non-contradiction and realize that opposites cannot both be true at the same time and in the same way.

Dr. D.: And what does that mean?

Sherlock:  That means several things – but one of them is that not all religions in the world can be true. 

Dr. D.:  You’re right, because Christianity says that there is only one way to heaven.

Sherlock: So, this idea of everybody is going to a better place, we’re all just getting there by different roads – that can’t possibly be true!  Right?

Dr. D.:  Correct!  It sounds like you’re getting the point Bob’s been trying to make to you.

Sherlock:  Well, I don’t know if we’re there yet, but I do understand some of what he’s been saying.

Hey, I really liked it when you and your friends came and presented your arguments for the existence of God – yours was the best – those planets colliding with each other – Venus smashing into the earth!  That was good!

Dr. D.:  Thanks, Sherlock!  But how did that help you? 

Sherlock:  Well, between you and the guy who pointed out how all this ‘stuff’ got here and the Judge who made the point about an absolute moral lawgiver, I had to admit that I have been ignoring some very compelling arguments about the existence of God.

And, while I believe now believe THAT this God exists, it would be logical to conclude that He would be capable of doing miracles – like creating the universe.  But I’m still not ready to believe IN this God.

Dr. D.:  That’s still OK, for now.  But let me ask you this – Remember when Pastor Viars talked about the reliability of the NT?

Sherlock:  Yeah, [very ‘profoundly’ and ‘professorish’] he said the NT’s TRANSMISSION was ACCURATE, that it had INTERNAL CONSISTENCY, and that it was EXTERNALLY VERIFIABLE.

Dr. D.:  You are starting to sound like Bob!

Sherlock:  Is that a good thing?

Dr. D.:  No comment! – Getting back to our discussion – what does this historically reliable document record that Jesus said about Himself?

Sherlock:  He claimed to be God!  Now, I don’t want to be disrespectful, but anybody can ‘CLAIM’ to be anything – that doesn’t necessarily make it true!

My point is:  TALK IS CHEAP!  I can stand in a garage and claim to be a Cadalic, but that doesn’t make me a car!  So, just because Jesus claimed it, doesn’t make it true!

Dr. D.:  Sherlock, I want to help you focus on 3 things tonight the show you some compelling reasons to believe that Jesus Christ truly is God:
1)  The prophecies about Jesus – I’m only going to share a few.
2)  The sinless and miraculous life of Christ – which points to the deity of Christ
3)  The greatest event in human history – the resurrection of Jesus!

Sherlock:  Oh, I’ve got some BIG questions about that!

Dr. D.:  Sherlock, there are over 300 specific prophesies about Jesus.  We don’t have time for me to share all them with you, so I’d like to show you a few of them that have already been fulfilled.  I put this together for you, because Bob told me what you’ve been discussing, and, well, I kind of thought you might question a few things about Jesus’ claims. [hands him a copy of the notes on paper]

I want to show you some of these detailed prophecies about Jesus: [comments briefly, explaining each]
1.  Born of a woman
• Genesis 3:15
• Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.
Sherlock:  That woman was Mary!
2. Born of a virgin
• Isaiah 7:14
• Matthew 1:25 and (Joseph) kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
3.  Born of the seed of Abraham
• Genesis 12:1-3
• Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.
4.  Born of the tribe of Judah (one of the tribes from the nation of Israel – God's chosen people)
• Genesis 49:10
• Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

5.  Born of the House of David
• 2 Samuel 7:12
• Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
6.  Born in Bethlehem
• Micah 5:2
• Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
7.  Would perform miracles
• Isaiah 35:5-6
• Matthew 9:35 And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
8.  Would cleanse the Temple
• Malachi 3:1
• Matthew 21:12 And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves.
9.  Rejected by the Jews
• Psalm 22; Isaiah 53
• John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
• Matthew 27:31 And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

Dr. D.:  Sherlock, what do you think about all this?

Sherlock:  That’s pretty impressive!

Dr. D.:  It’s incredible!  And remember, I only shared a few of these prophecies.  Now, either all these examples are a coincidence, or God is confirmed the message of His prophets! Sherlock, you have to ask this question:  Is the NT a historically reliable document, or isn’t it?  If it is, then these recorded prophesies are EXACTLY what happened!

Now, I realize that may not make the case for you yet!  So, I need you to think about this:  Jesus’ claim to be God was confirmed by His sinless and miraculous life.

Sherlock:  Are you saying that Jesus never one time did anything wrong – that He was perfect?

Dr. D.:  That’s right!

Sherlock:  But I read a book once that said Jesus was just like me – He understood my struggles!

Dr. D.:  He does, but you have to understand what the Bible says about that in Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Listen to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Sherlock:  [suspiciously] I bet those guys who worked with Him everyday saw some things nobody else knew about!

Dr. D.:  Well, let me tell you what one of the guys who knew Him best and spent more time with Him than many of the others – his name was Peter.

Listen to this:  1 Peter 1:18-19 Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Sherlock:  Tell me again, who is this lamb?

Dr. Dr.:  The ‘lamb’ referred to here by Peter is the same ‘Lamb” spoken of by John the Baptist.  He knew Jesus pretty well, when he said to “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.’ – that ‘Lamb’ is Jesus.

This is what Peter said in another passage:  1 Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;


Another one of Jesus’ closest disciples whose name was John, he is called the ‘beloved apostle’ and is referred to as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved,’ said this:  1 John 3:4-5  Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

My point is the guys who knew Him best gave testimony to the fact that He was SINLESS!

Sherlock:  Boy, I don’t think anybody could ay that about me!

Dr. D.:  Don’t worry, nobody can say that about any of us!

Now, in addition to claiming to be sinless, get this, His enemies could find no evil in Him. 

Sherlock:  You mean not even His enemies said anything bad about Him?

Dr. Dr.:  I didn’t say that didn’t say anything bad – in fact they made all kinds of accusations, they just simply were not true – and some of them even recognized that fact!

Look at this verse, Mark 14:55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death; and they were not finding any.

And how about Luke’s words in Luke 23:22 And he (Pilate) said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; I will therefore punish Him and release Him."

Sherlock: OK, I won’t push it on that point.  But just because nobody ‘found’ anything wrong with Him doesn’t mean there wasn’t.  Maybe He had some ‘secret sins’ or something!

Dr. D.:  Sherloooooock (warning him)

Sherlock:  OK, OK, I won’t go there.  But you still haven’t answered my question about what Jesus DID to prove He was God. 

Dr. D.:  Well, Jesus’ claim to be God was confirmed by the miracles He performed.  The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) mention these miracles over 30 times!

Can I give you a few examples?

Sherlock:  OK, go ahead!

Dr. D.:  I’ll mention just a few examples: [Dr. D. mentions these and comments briefly]

[Dr. D. hands Sherlock a cup of water and asks him to turn it into wine – he can’t because he doesn’t know how and he admits he doesn’t have the ability]
1)  The miracle at Cana when He turned the water into wine – John 2:1-11
2)  The miracle when Jesus healed the Nobleman’s son – John 4:46-54
3)  The miracle of healing the man born blind – John 9
4)  The miracle of cleansing the leper – Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-15
5)  The feeding of the 5,000 – Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14
6)  And, the raising of a dead man named Lazarus – John 11

I could go on you know!  We could talk about walking on water, healing all forms of disease at the very moment He spoke the word.  By the way, many of these miracles are recorded in the Gospel of John.  You should read it sometime!

Sherlock:  Why does John record so many of these?  What’s so special about John?

Dr. D.:  John was writing to the known world at large and was presenting Jesus as the Son of God!  So John emphasized what Jesus did in order to DEMONSTRATE that He truly was the Son of God.

Listen to this quote:[Dr. D. reads from Lockyer’s book]  “It is impossible to calculate how many miracles Christ performed.  Most of them are referred to collectively, and those are greatly in excess of the number recorded in details.  Not all He said or accomplished is recorded, . . . What a volume it would make if all the parables He uttered and all the miracles he performed could be traced!  The miracles we do have on record were specially selected by the Holy Spirit for their spiritual value and teaching.”  Lockyer, All the Miracles of the Bible, p. 154

Sherlock:  That’s interesting.  I have a friend of mine who really doesn’t like the Gospel of John – he’s told me.  I’m beginning to understand why.

Dr. D.:  And why is that?

Sherlock:  Well, I didn’t figure it out until just now.  But, it’s because if He can disclaim the Gospel of John, he can disclaim the miracles of Christ – and if he can disclaim the miracles of Christ, he can disclaim the claims Jesus made to being God – like Bob was telling me last week – and if he can disclaim the character of Christ, then my friend doesn’t have to submit to Jesus Christ as God and then . . .

Dr. D.:  . . . [finishing the sentence] your friend can live however he wants to live and do whatever he wants to do!

Sherlock:  [factually]  Doc, . . . I’m afraid I’m just like my friend!

Dr. D.:  Sherlock, you can’t keep arguing against truth forever.  And believe me, forever is long time to be wrong!  Can I share with you one more thing about the life of Christ?  Maybe this will ‘seal it for you.’

Jesus’ prediction and accomplishment of His resurrection confirmed His claim to be God.

Did you know that Jesus predicted His resurrection? 

• Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Jesus also accomplished His resurrection – but to rise from the dead, Jesus had to die!  Let me share with you some of the details about the crucifixion process and His death:

Sherlock:  [defensively, desperate for excuses] But I heard someone say that Jesus really didn’t die.  Maybe He just fainted or was unconscious.

Dr. D.:  I’ve heard that same argument – it’s called the Swoon Theory, and it’s simple impossible and unreasonable to believe.  In fact, it would take more faith to believe that than it would what the Bible presents. 

Let me share with you a few things about Christ’s death.  I would like to read through these since sometimes I have a little trouble getting overwhelmed:

1)  After no sleep the night before, Jesus was severely beaten in such a way that most men died after the beating.  Remember, Jesus was under no law that limited the number of lashes He could receive.
2)  Later, he was crowned with thorns – not like you find on a rose bush, we’re talking 1-3 inches long!
3)  Then 3 six-inch spikes were driven into his hands (at the wrist) and feet – His cross was then lifted and dropped into the ground.
-- It’s at that point that probably all his bones became ‘out of joint’ (or dislocated).
4)  Jesus experienced a heavy loss of blood from at least 6 hours on the cross.
5)  His side as pierced and blood and water came out – This is comparable to medical facts!
6)  Crucifixion required that Jesus needed to pull Himself up to breathe,   If the beating, nails, blood loss, and spear didn’t kill him, the asphyxiation certainly did.
7)  Jesus refused any drugs to help him
8)  The Romans soldiers, who were professional executioners, did not break His legs because they knew he was already dead (John 19:33).
-- You have to remember, if any one came down off that cross and wasn’t dead, the soldier in charge got to take his place!
-- And besides,
9)  Pilate confirmed the death of Jesus before allowing some people to bury Him – Mark 15:44
Sherlock, there is just too much evidence to deny the death of Christ!

Sherlock:  OK, but what about the resurrection?  If He really rose from the dead, I might believe that He truly was God.

Dr. D.:  [excited to be able to share the news]  Great!

Sherlock:  I’ve been told, and tend to agree, that someone came and stole His body out of the tomb!  In essence, they faked the resurrection – hide the body somewhere else, and see, you’ve got your supposed miracle.  The only problem, it never happened!

Dr. D.:  But wait Sherlock, you have to deal with some overwhelming evidence!

Sherlock:  Like what?

Dr. D.:  I’m glad you asked!

Dr. D.:  Here are the facts – just the facts!

1)  Jesus was laid in a tomb, blocked by a 3-4,000 pound rock, sealed by a Roman seal (certain death if you broke it), and guarded by elite Roman soldiers.

Sherlock:  What do mean ‘elite’?

Dr. D.:  These guys were not from your local Boy Scout group – each man was carefully trained and able to take on 10 or more other men in battle and kill them all!

Sherlock:  Sounds like some ‘bad boys’!

Dr. D.:  When Mary Magdalene got to the tomb, the stone had been rolled away from the gravesite and the grave clothes Jesus was wearing were left behind.

Honestly, do you think anybody could have pulled one over on those Roman soldiers?

Sherlock:  It’s possible!

Dr. D.:  Not if the Roman soldiers would be executed if they allowed anything to disturb the seal of that tomb or anything happened to the body inside!

Sherlock:  Those disciples seemed to be pretty sharp guys – maybe they put together a distraction and stole the body!

Dr. D.:  Are you kidding?  Those who would steal His body could not – the power of Rome guarded that tomb.  And those that could have stolen the body, would not steal it – because they wished above all else that His body was still in that tomb!

Sherlock:  Well, how do we know we’re looking in the right tomb?  Maybe the body is still there, we’re just looking in the wrong place?

Dr. D.:  Sherlock, it’s simply not even reasonable to think that everybody at that time went to the wrong tomb – the details about this are so specific that the NT even records WHO OWNED THE TOMB – and besides, you could be certain that the enemies of Christ knew EXACTLY what tomb His body was placed!

Let me show you a couple of more things:

2)  Twelve different physical appearances over 40 days during which Jesus:
1) He and His scars were touched (John 20:27-28)
2) He ate food (Luke 24:42-43)
3)  He was seen by over 500 witnesses – not 1 or 2 – but 500!
4)  The remaining disciples who were scared, scattered, and skeptical, suddenly became the most aggressive and effective peaceful evangelical missionary force the world has ever known!
-  Eleven of the 12 died martyrs for what they saw – despite intense persecutions of Christians.

Here’s my point:  Only an event like the resurrection could explain the rapid spread of Christianity by peaceful means – compared to some religions who spread is enhanced by the intimidation and the sword!

Dr. D.:  Sherlock, can I be honest with you?

Sherlock:  Yes.

Dr. D.:  It’s just like Pastor Viars said, your problem is not with the historical reliability of the NT; your problem is with the message of the NT – a message that says Jesus claimed to be God and those claims were miraculously confirmed!

Sherlock:  So, what are you saying?

Dr. D.:  I’m saying that you are struggling with the Lordship of Jesus Christ!

Sherlock:  I’m not ready for this!

Dr. D.:  I understand, but keep this in mind:  The Bible warns against delay – ‘behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.”

Sherlock:  Well, I (braggingly) can wait till tomorrow!

Dr. D.:  God does give you the right to chose, but Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Sherlock: [Tosses the bible on the chair; sharp tone of voice]  I think I’ll be like my other friend and take my chances.  I think about it and talk to you later!
Dr. D.:  Sherlock, you know we love you and care about you.  I know this is a hard and very important decision – I’ll be ready to talk when you are, just let me know.

[Sherlock exists]

[Dr. D closes out the session]

To the audience:

Christians:
-  You’ve heard us say before:  It’s not our responsibility to make the Gospel believable; it is our responsibility to make the Gospel AVAILABLE!
-  I wanted Sherlock to accept Christ so badly I could taste it!  But he wasn’t ready – or God wasn’t ready.  So what do we need to do?
1)  Who are reaching out to – when is the last time you shared your faith with someone?
2)  Are you cultivating relationship with the lost and looking for ways to sow the seed of the Word?
3)  Are you better able to defend your faith – with meekness and fear?
4)  Are you more confident that the ‘objections’ offer to you by the world are refutable if you think through what’s really being said AND if you will be a student of God's word?

Unbelievers:
– We are running out of time with Sherlock, but we can’t force him to become a Christian any more that God will force you to put your faith in Jesus Christ.
– Jesus is a King, not a beggar.  You will have to submit to His Lordship and put your faith in His death, burial, and resurrection if you are to have the hope of eternal life.
– Some have said, I think I understand, but I don’t know HOW – we’d be happy to show you from the Word of God how you can establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
1)  Do you know the truth, but you are simply rejecting it?
2)  Have you come to accept THAT God exists, but you have chosen at this point not to put your faith IN God – especially His Son, Jesus Christ?
3)  Have you been questioning the accuracy of the Bible when in reality, you are struggling with the message of the Bible?

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

-- Don’t do what Sherlock did – don’t walk away!

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Q:  Will you trust Christ today?

Closing Hymn:  Only Trust Him

Bob Martin

  • M.D. - Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
  • M.A. - Southern Evangelical Seminary
  • Professor of Apologetics - Faith Bible Seminary

Bob is married to Deb with five adult children and practices medicine in southern Indiana. He has been on faculty at Johns Hopkins, Case Western Reserve, Southern Illinois, Indiana Universities, and Purdue Pharmacy School.