More than Human?
Christmas cards and nativity scenes depict Jesus as a harmless child lying in a manger in a Bethlehem stable surrounded by animals and adoring worshipers.
However, the real story of Christmas only begins in Bethlehem; it doesn’t end there. Nor does it end tragically on a Roman cross thirty years later. The real Jesus Christ wasn’t just a harmless baby. In fact, he infuriated his enemies so much that they were obsessed with getting rid of him. And that effort goes on today.
In an aggressive move to take Christ out of Christmas, the American Atheists placed a billboard in New York’s Times Square urging us to, “Keep the Merry. Dump the Myth.” The billboard speaks of Jesus as mythical, but no leading scholar, Christian or secular, believes Jesus didn’t exist. In fact his life has influenced our planet more than any other person (see: “Was Jesus a Real Person?” )
This billboard is only one of many assaults on the identity of Jesus Christ. Hundreds of books, documentaries and articles have attempted to “dump” or alter the identity of Jesus Christ as depicted in the New Testament.
Although such attacks on Jesus have increased dramatically in the past few decades, they are really not new. Both the Jews and Romans of Jesus’ time attempted to marginalize him because they were threatened by his claims. He claimed to be from God. He claimed to be the only way to God. He claimed that eternal life was through him—alone.
Such radical claims incensed his enemies to the point that they wanted Jesus killed. He was making claims that only God could make (see “Did Jesus Claim to be God?”). Jesus certainly wasn’t merely a harmless baby to them.
His followers didn’t see him that way either. At first they wondered who he was. The more time they spent with him, the more they came to understand that he was the unique fulfillment of numerous messianic prophecies. God had promised through the prophets that he would one day visit Planet Earth.
Continue reading page 2 of 3 of “Who is the Jesus of Christmas?”