I love History! Palm Sunday started an eight-day journey of a man who has literally changed the course of history.
On Sunday, we remember Jesus’s Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the words of Zechariah 9:9
On Monday, Jesus visits the temple and turns over money changer tables in Temple. While a few have disputed that the event occurred, many historians and scholars consider this one of the more certain details about the life of Jesus.
On Tuesday, Jesus is visiting the temple again and is questioned by Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians. The Herodians try to trick him into treason against the Roman Empire by asking him if it is lawful to pay taxes. The Sadducees question him about the idea of the resurrection on the last day. The Pharisees try to trick him into dismissing parts of God’s Law. Finally, Jesus asks them all a question that will both shut them all up and cement his claim of being the Messiah!
On Wednesday nothing was recorded in the Gospels, but most scholars have determined that this day was probably used for the preparation for Passover. They also indicate that this is the day that Judas of Iscariot agreed to betray Jesus, giving the High Council their itinerary for the celebration of Passover.
On Thursday, the Passover Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his friends. He then visits the Gethsemane to prays. It is there, in the early hours of Friday morning he is arrested.
On Friday, Jesus is tried and convicted of treason against Rome and is Crucified. Joseph of Arimathea requests the body for burial preparation before the Sabbath starts at sunset.
On Saturday, His Tomb is guarded upon request of Chief Priest, specifically in response to Jesus’s claim to rise again after three days.
On Sunday the tomb is found empty. Guards circulate story of disciples grave robbing
Eight days. Eight days of historical facts. Eight Events of the gospels that have been corroborated by outside sources like:
Josephus, a 1st-century Jewish historian who records the crucifixion, the posting of the guard and the coverup statement.
Records recorded by a Roman politician named Tacitus verify his trial and crucifixion. It’s interesting that many atheists use his words as an argument against Christianity.
Another Roman named Pliny, a governor of northern Turkey, details in a letter to Rome about the “pig-headedness” of a new cult in his province called Christians.
Then we have the testimony of twelve ordinary men who all suffered and died for what they believed in. Through torture, imprisonment, starvation, and banishment and finally execution, not a single one recanted the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In his book “Cold Case Christianity”, by J. Warner Wallace, he gives weight to the significance of the martyrdom of the eleven apostles. Wallace, a California homicide detective that specializes in solving cold cases, an unsolved criminal investigation which remains open pending the discovery of new evidence explains that most coverups of a falsehood only work when there are only three or fewer people involved and, in his experience, crumbles after the deaths of its original sources. (See Did the Disciples Lie for more on this)
There is irrefutable proof that a man named Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the early days of the first century AD, he was tried and crucified roughly three decades later. After that, sects of newly called “Christians” began appearing and telling everyone of his death, resurrection and second coming. Jesus lived on this earth! He was born, lived and died like the rest of billions of past, present and future citizens of this planet.
That is not in question. What has and continued to stump mankind since his death is the claims made by himself and his followers. The most important three statements from Jesus, recorded by his disciples were that:
- Jesus was the Son of the Living God!
- Jesus died, was buried, and came back to life Three days later.
- Jesus still lives today and will return someday to restore the balance between God and man that was destroyed by Adam and Eve.
In 1942, CS Lewis put forth an argument to humanity that still echoes loudly today. He gave us what is now called the “Trilemma”, in which he breaks down the three possibilities of Jesus. His argument is simply entitled “Lord, Lunatic, Liar”
Jesus can only be in one of those categories.
If the statement of historical Jesus were not true and he did not believe them, he is a LIAR! Jesus is a con man, trying to win favor with the masses by outrageous promises and strong rhetoric. If this were true, what was his motive? He didn’t seem to want fame, power or riches. Also, if he is a liar, were his “miracles” some form of mass hypnosis? Were his healings fake?
If they are not true and he believed them, he must be LUNATIC! Again, with the first one, what about his Miracles and Healings? Does his behavior indicate a possible mental instability? Certainly Not! The events in the New Testament show him always in control of a situation. His teachings were sound and logical arguments that even the most learned men of the age could not pick apart. Lastly, there is proof in his words that Jesus understood both his identity and his mission. He often refers to “The time not being right”. In the events of the raising of Lazarus, his friend, he comments that events have played out the way they have in order to increase the faith of his followers
The third option is simply that what Jesus said about himself is true, This means that Jesus is Lord and King and God and Savior!
In Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples an innocent question:
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Jesus is still asking us the same question today. And, like CS Lewis, we still have the same options. Is Jesus Lord, Lunatic or Liar?
WHO IS JESUS TO YOU!
My Response echoes Joshua’s in chapter 24:
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Prayer: Jesus! You came. You Saw. You Conquered! As we remember the events of this week, help us to have the faith that this is not just a piece of history, but a glorious glimpse into our future. In your name. Amen