TWO GREAT QUESTIONS
We are presenting from God’s Word two questions. The first question suggests thought. The second suggests action. The first question is found in Matthew 22:42, and was asked by the man Christ Jesus concerning Himself
“WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?”
Since the day Christ asked that question of His own nation, countless millions of many nations in every generation have put the same question to their own hearts and consciences and to their fellow-men. In order to answer such a question intelligently concerning any man, it is necessary to get acquainted with him. There is a certain acquaintance with Christ which can be experienced only by those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But there is available for any man a written record of the character and achievements of the One who asked the question. Had the question been asked by any other man concerning himself, it would have suggested the spirit of self-importance or egotism on the part of the questioner. But to any one who has made even a hasty superficial study of the written record, the question seems most proper and in order.
The most sensible decision that any sensible person can reach so far as this Man’s relation to the record is concerned, is that the historical Jesus is the “Bible Christ.” The record has existed for nearly nineteen hundred years. It has been discussed, criticized, hated and condemned by millions. It has been honored, cherished and defended, even unto martyrdom, by other millions, just as intelligent, courageous and true as those who have been its bitterest enemies. Never since this history was first written has this record been the object of such vicious and insidious assaults as at this present time, when all the forces of Satan are turned loose against it. But multitudes are still submitting the record to the test “if any man willeth to do my will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17.
No man has ever been wise enough to produce evidence to invalidate the Bible Record of Jesus Christ. Some have persuaded themselves that the Record is too unique to be true; and their verdict is, that the narratives were either written by enthusiastic religious men who were deceived, or else they discount it as a willful forgery. No one is more ignorant than the one who declares that the Scriptures are the imaginations or inventions of ignorant men. Moreover it must be admitted, that if the records concerning Christ be forgeries, they are the forgeries of very clever men.
If the writers were deceived, were they deceived by Christ? The Pharisees accused Him of deceiving the people. “Are ye also deceived?” John 7:47. Concerning Christ, “some said, He is a good man, others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people.” 7:12. Christ did not prove His goodness by deception.
If the narratives be forgeries, then what is our conclusion concerning Christ? Was He a fictitious character? Is the Christ of orthodox Christianity unreal? Did such a man as Jesus Christ ever live on earth? If so, was He a good man or a deceiver? Without a trustworthy history to study, who knows? If the Bible narratives of Jesus Christ be the untrustworthy or untrue writings of deluded or dishonest men, to whom shall we turn for reliable information that will enable us to answer intelligently the question, “what think ye of Christ?”
Some say, “we do not know what to think.” Why not forget Him altogether and decide that the question was never asked and that the Christ, who was supposed to have asked the question, never existed? Impossible for any intelligent person to do this. Christ has so found His way into every avenue of Human experience that; any thinking person must acknowledge that He is an up-to-date living reality. If unreal, truly He Has more influenced human life and thought than all the real men of all ages combined. The Jews in His day said, “And destroy Jesus”. It was impossible then. It is impossible today. No one can blot Him out of human history. But without the Bible I cannot answer the question.”
Surely the people did their very best to get rid of Jesus Christ. They have tried to forget Him. They have tried to ignore Him. They have tried to explain Him away by every argument. And in spite of their determined efforts, behold today, every thinking rabbi, whether associated with an orthodox or a liberal congregation, is now declaring that Jesus of Nazareth was the best man who ever lived on this earth and that He has exercised more influence for good upon the human race than all other men combined. Are they deciding that He was good, because of His good influence, or because they have carefully examined His written biography? Why can they not see their utter inconsistency, in either bowing to the religious authority, or acknowledging the superiority of the most extraordinary Man who ever lived on this earth, while at the same time they are discrediting and condemning the only Record that can truly establish His right to their respect and admiration?
There is only one other group of men more inconsistent than the inconsistent Jews: the so-called “Modernist” Christians. They believe virtually what the Jews believe, but they go a step further and bear the name of Christ and claim to be His disciples. They bow in His name to worship the true Deity; call Jesus Christ the fairest flower of humanity; exalt and praise Him as the highest expression of the one and only God; even claim that they believe in the Son’s revelation of the Father; and at the same time they declare that the Record containing that revelation is either the work of frauds or ignorant men, writings which no intelligent an of this enlightened age can accept to be worth more than fiction. If they have learned that Jesus Christ is the noblest, truest purest expression of the mind and heart of the true and living God, they have learned that great fact by reading narratives which they claim are false, if not fraudulent, and if their learning and thinking have been based upon that which is false, their opinions are worthless and they know not what they think they know.
Any intelligent and satisfactory answer to the question must be based upon the Scriptural Record of Christ. If on that basis, Christ is worthy of admiration. He is likewise worthy of adoration. He should be both respected and worshipped or neither respected nor worshipped. The Modernists accuse our Lord of the crime of the Antichrist who, is to sit in the temple of God and show himself as God. He is to be destroyed for this crime. Jesus Christ made this claim. If not God. He was guilty of blasphemy and worthy of death.
Christ is mentioned by noun and pronoun about seven thousand times in the New Testament Scriptures. The same supernatural story is woven into every part of those Scriptures. After studying these twenty-seven records, we should decide that the Jews of the first century who took up stones to stone Him, “because thou being a man makest thyself God,” were far more consistent than are the Modernist Jews and so-called Modernist Christians of the twentieth century who join with Judas to betray Christ with a kiss. John 10:30 to 38. Read about them in Jude 4 and II Peter 2:1—III John 7.
Without the Scriptures I know not what I think. By the Scriptures I think that Christ was, and is, Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father; that He was in the form of God and took upon Himself the form of a servant; that He was with God; that He was God. I think that all things were created by Him; that He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. I think that in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; that in Him are hid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; that in all things He should have the pre-eminence; that when the Father brought Him into the world, He said, “let all the angels of God worship Him,” and the Father said to the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” My thinking is based upon the following Scriptures Isaiah 9:6 . . . Philippians 2:5 to 9 . . . John 1:1 to 10 . . . Ephesians 3:9 . . . Colossians 1:15 to 19 . . . Colossians 2:3 to 9 . . . Hebrews 1:1 to 8 . . . . Because Christ had glory with the Father before the world was, He could truly say, “I and Father are one,” “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
Every one should either bow before Christ, with Thomas, and: say, “My Lord and My God,” and sing with men and angels, “worthy is the Lamb that Was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing,” or else discredit and reject the only written story of Jesus Christ as a fable or a forgery, and confess that there is no authentic document that can be examined for an intelligent answer to the question. John 17:5 . . . John 10:30 . . . John 14:9 . . . John 20:28 . . . Revelation 5:12.
It certainly would not be the mark of intelligence to hand the New Testament Scriptures over to the religious modern scholars of this age and tell them to separate truth from fiction; for we would find the Christ of their creation more impossible than the Christ they reject. You have only to read “The Man Nobody Knows” to be convinced of this fact.
The Christ of orthodox Christianity is truly the Christ of the Scriptures, the only true Christ, the only Christ who could communicate saving grace to the sinner. He had power to lay down His life and take it up again. Only the Holy Spirit can enable us to answer the first question aright. Only the Christ of the Bible could bring sinners to God by His shed blood. And it is by His precious blood that believing sinners are saved. Ephesians 2:13; I Peter 1:18 to 21.
Despising the grace of God, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:28 to 33.
Now for the second question:
“WHAT SHALL I DO THEN WITH JESUS WHICH IS CALLED CHRIST?” MATTHEW 7:22.
“Christ died for our sins.” He was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification.” “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Before His death, the Saviour said, “the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” The Son of man came to give His life a ransom for many. “Neither is there salvation in any other.” . . . I Corinthians 15:3 . . . Romans 4:24 . . . Isaiah 53:6 . . . John 10:11 . . . Mark 10:45 . . . Acts 4:12.
“God commandeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US.” Romans 5:8.
Are you not moved to action because of this sacrifice of love?
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him. should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Surely this should move you to act quickly. You should act, for two reasons; first, because of God’s great love. He has done something with Christ, for your sake and mine. Christ suffered an awful penalty, obediently and willingly, for us. That love is enough to constrain us to action. But secondly, we should act immediately, because of the awful penalty, the terrific judgment awaiting all who refuse to act. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Acts 16:31. “He that believeth on the Son is not condemned; but he that believeth not condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18.
I must act favorably, or be lost and condemned forever. I have acted. I have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour. Have you? If not, why not? If not up to now, why not now?
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.