Buddy Scott of buddyscott.com © 2000 ALLON PUBLISHING
There were discrepancies and inconsistencies in The Search for Jesus that have made my evaluation difficult.
One of Peter Jennings's scholars wrote off Jesus' temptations by Satan in the wilderness as merely the hallucinations of a starving man. No other opinions were allowed, and the subject was abruptly dropped. Yet Jennings's scholars let stand--more than not--the miracles of Jesus casting out demons.
Marvin Meyer, author, Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World, said on the broadcast:
This is one of the more interesting of the issues that scholars face, and sometimes scholars who are embarrassed by televangelists and by exorcisms and healings on stage or on television might shy away from these kinds of accounts. And the fact of the matter is that we have lots of stories of healings and exorcisms in the New Testament and early Christian literature, and we've got to face those in honest and forthright kinds of fashion.
Jennings's scholars attempted to negate the miracles of Jesus that dealt with nature (walking on the water, turning water into wine, feeding the five thousand). Yet Jennings's scholars let stand--more than not--the miracles of Jesus that dealt with physical healings (healing blinded eyes, etceteras).
You'll remember that I previously quoted Paula Fredriksen's response to Jennings's question: "So did people believe Jesus particularly because of His healings?" She replied, "Oh, imagine yourself in the crowd. If somebody who had suffered from blindness could suddenly see, how would you feel about what He (Jesus) was saying?"
Jennings's scholars attempted to disallow the divinity of Jesus--Jesus as Immanuel (God with us), the Messiah (the anointed One, the supreme political and spiritual liberator for the universe for Whom the Jews are waiting), and Savior of the world (the author and finisher of salvation for all humankind). Yet Jennings's scholars let stand--more than not--the resurrection of Jesus.
About the resurrection, the Jewish historian, Paula Fredriksen, said:
I know in their own terms, what they saw was the raised Jesus. That's what they say, and then all the historic evidence we have afterwards attests to their conviction that that's what they saw. I'm not saying that they really did see the raised Jesus. I wasn't there. I don't know what they saw. But I do know as an historian, that they must have seen something.
N. T. Wright concluded, "If Jesus had died and stayed dead, they (His followers) would either have given up the movement, or they would have found another Messiah. Something extraordinary happened that convinced them that Jesus was the Messiah."
With the resurrection, we can restore to springtime all that Jennings, ABC News, and their scholars attempted to wilt with doubt...
Since Jesus rose from the dead,
Since Jesus resurrected,
Since Jesus achieved victory over the grave,
Since Jesus has proved that He has the keys to death and the grave,
John 3:16 is accurate: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
And from that old-time favorite, we can spring to other scriptures with a similar theme: Jesus resurrected, and He is the Savior of all individuals who choose Him. Notice how the resurrection of Jesus is foundational to each of the following scriptural truths:
Jesus proclaimed in Revelation, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:18).
The apostle Paul wrote, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Again, Paul wrote, "For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:21).
And Jesus said, "And this is the will of him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40).
The Bible says, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Another way to approach this is by using the well-known equation of A + B = C: Jesus proclaimed He would resurrect from the dead + Jesus resurrected from the dead = Jesus has the position, power, and integrity to speak the truth. Since Jesus can successfully interact with eternity and rise from the dead, surely He can tell the truth and protect the delivery of that truth even until our day.
Since Jesus can be trusted to protect the truth, let's hear what He has to say in the Gospel of John:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:24-29).
Jennings concluded with these words:
And even the most skeptical of scholars and historians agree on this: In His brief life, Jesus of Nazareth probably met and spoke with no more than a few thousand people, He wrote nothing, He commanded no great army, and He spent most of his time with the poor and the outcast. But He had a vision for a just world which was so vivid and moved Him so powerfully that he was willing to die for it. And after His death, His vision somehow transformed the world. Miraculous!
By the way, the majority of the information supplied to The Search for Jesus by the unconventional scholars is not new. I heard some of their views when I was in college more than 30 years ago. I wish ABC News would have presented a diversity of views from a diversity of scholars from a wider diversity of races. Then viewers could have made their own decisions based upon an objective presentation. Personally, this writer believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died for the sins of all humankind. There is more than sufficient evidence to support what I believe. As Jennings said:
"The truly faithful find a remarkable power in Him."
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