We Were There : Based on the Story of Jesus
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Who is the prophet Isaiah talking about?
It's very clear. He is talking about Jesus. And when was this written? More than years before Jesus Christ. From the beginning, through thousands of years, God always said that Jesus will come and he will die, just like we read from Isaiah. What would you think of God if, at the very last moment, he changed his mind?
What if, after thousands of years promising Jesus, God would change his mind and not have Jesus die for us? God does not change his mind. God is spirit. And Jesus is only God's Son in a spiritual sense, not in a physical way. If someone says, "You are the Son of the Cedars" it means that person is from Lebanon.
Or, if from Egypt, "You are the Son of the Nile. It is like a title. When the angel appeared to Mary, the angel said, "the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Christians do not believe that God had any sexual relationship with any woman. Isaiah said, "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
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The government will rest on his shoulders. He is God, who became a man, through Mary. He is God and Son at the same time, born of the virgin Mary. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, they passed on the sinful nature from one generation to another, through their own children, down to us. We are all born as sinners. We're all born with a tendency toward doing things our way, instead of God's way. We all sin. That's why the prophet David cried out, "With sin, my mother conceived me. We live as sinful people and we all need a redeemer. But for Jesus to redeem us, he needed to have a different nature.
He needed to be from the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, no sinfulness at all. Isaiah said, "No deceit was found in him. In Scripture, God took on the form of a burning bush when revealing himself to Moses. He took on the voice of heaven when speaking to Abraham. Who is to say that God is not allowed to take on the form of man in order to reveal himself to us? How did God test Abraham?
He asked Abraham to put his son on the altar. As they were going up the mountain, the son asked, "Where is the offering? He will provide the offering. Then in Exodus, we see the importance of a lamb again. In Exodus, God warns his people in Egypt that he is going to strike the Egyptians. If those who believe in God will put the blood of a lamb on their doorpost, God would have the angel of death go past them, saving them from death.
A nation of believers were saved by one lamb. Then we see a lamb again in Leviticus. Every year the priest is told to take one lamb out of the city and sacrifice it for the sins of those people who believe in God. Each year, one people saved again by one lamb. Then we hear John the Baptist addressing a crowd, saying this about Jesus: "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
What would have happened if Abraham had not listened to the voice of God, or had not believed that God was speaking to him? That's right, his son would have been killed! So now is the question. Some 2, years ago, Jesus, the Lamb of God, hung on a cross, and gave his life for you. We are clearly told, "God shows his love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. What if you said, "No, they did not crucify him. He was not killed. What if you say that he was not killed, that this Lamb of God did not die for your sin, for your forgiveness?
A great question. An illustration will help answer it. Let's say we have a vase. It has no flowers, no water in it. It is merely full of air. What is the difference between the air outside the vase and the air inside the vase? The air inside the vase has shape, right? It is the same air in composition, but the air inside the vase has shape. If we take that vase and smash it against the wall, what happens to the air inside of it?
Does it die? No, air cannot die. The vase can be in thousands of pieces, but nothing happens to the air, except lose its shape. God took on the form of man, in Jesus. He took on the shape of man, but Jesus was never only man. On the cross, Jesus paid for our sin and removed the barrier that stood between us and him. Because of his death, we can be at peace with God. Though we were guilty, the justice of God was fully met by Jesus, the Lamb of God who suffered for us.
And the love of God was fully expressed in that Jesus willingly laid down his life for us. You may say, "That's not fair. We don't deserve Jesus' dying for us. But this was God's solution for us. Do we tell God how it must be?
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Jesus paid our penalty of death, so that we would not need to die for our sins. He wants us to come into relationship with him, to know his love, and to have eternal life. There was a righteous judge who would not take bribes. He was just. A lady was caught and brought before him. The penalty she might have to pay was a life sentence or a huge sum of money which she did not have. The judge asked her, "Are you guilty or not? I cannot pay the money. Please have mercy on me. Do you confess?
Life sentence or the sum of money. She starts screaming and wailing, and they dragged her out of the courtroom to prison. The judge took off the robe, and walked out of the court. He then walked to the treasury. And right there at the treasury, he paid all the money he had and paid the ransom for that girl. Because he loved the girl very much. She was his daughter. And he redeemed his daughter himself, with everything he had. When the judge took off his robe, he became like any other man. And that's exactly what Jesus did.
He left heaven, took off the robe of glory, and became like any other man. And he died for us, so our sins would no longer condemn us and keep us eternally separated from God. All the prophets said that Jesus would come and die for the sins of the world. Jesus is the only hope for mankind to have eternal life. Back at the beginning with Adam and Eve, God told Satan that an offspring of a woman would crush Satan's head, and mankind would be redeemed.
Jesus' death and resurrection overcame the power of Satan. Jesus overcame sin, death, and our separation from God There is only one God. Here is what we know is true of God:. God is eternal - has always existed, exists now, and will always exist. God is holy - without fault, perfect.
God is truth - his word stands always, unchanging, reliably true. God is present - everywhere, at all times. God is powerful - no limit to his power.
God is all-knowing - he has full knowledge of everything, always. God is creator - nothing exists that is not created by him. And all of the above is true of him. We know this because Scripture reveals this to be true of God. He has chosen to make himself known to humankind, to reveal this about himself to us. Scripture also reveals that Jesus possesses these exact same characteristics as God.
As does the Spirit of God. For example, let's take eternal. Scripture says of Jesus, "He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. Also, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
On earth, we live in a three-dimensional world. Each person has height, width and depth. Two people might look something like each other. They might have similar interests, similar occupations. But a person cannot actually be the same as another person. They are distinct individuals. God, however, lives without the limitations of a three-dimensional universe. He is spirit. And he is infinitely more complex than we are. The Gospel of John , the latest of the four canonical gospels, possesses ideas that originated in Platonism and Greek philosophy,   where the " Logos " described in John's prologue was devised by the Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus and adapted to Judaism by the Jewish Middle Platonist Philo of Alexandria.
Davies and Finkelstein write "This primeval and universal Wisdom had, at God's command, found itself a home on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. This mediatorial figure, which in its universality can be compared with the Platonic 'world-soul' or the Stoic 'logos', is here exclusively connected with Israel, God's chosen people, and with his sanctuary. Scholars have long suspected that the Gospel of John may have also been influenced by symbolism associated with the cult of Dionysus , the Greek god of wine.
The first instance of possible Dionysian influence is Jesus's miracle of turning water into wine at the Marriage at Cana in John Mark W. Stibbe has argued that the Gospel of John also contains parallels with The Bacchae , a tragedy written by the Athenian playwright Euripides that was first performed in BC and involves Dionysus as a central character. Stibbe emphasizes that two accounts are also radically different,  but states that they share similar themes.
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a short apocryphal gospel, probably written in the second century AD, describing Jesus's childhood. Cousland argues that the Infancy Gospel may have been originally written for a primarily pagan audience,  noting that the Greeks and Romans told stories about their gods' miraculous doings as children  and that miracle stories were often instrumental in converting pagans to Christianity. Around the same time that Christianity was expanding, the cult of the god Mithras was also spreading throughout the Roman Empire.
Most of what is known about the legendary life of Mithras comes from archaeological excavation of Mithraea , underground Mithraic sanctuaries of worship, which were found all across the Roman world. In the center of every Mithraeum was a tauroctony ,    a painting or sculpture showing Mithras as a young man, usually wearing a cape and Phrygian cap, plunging a knife into the neck or shoulder of a bull as he turns its head towards him, simultaneously turning his own head away. A few Christian apologists from the second and third centuries, who had never been members of the Mithraic cult and had never spoken to its members, claimed that the practices of the Mithraic cult were copied off Christianity.
For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn. The devil is the inspirer of the heretics whose work it is to pervert the truth, who with idolatrous mysteries endeavours to imitate the realities of the divine sacraments. Some he himself sprinkles as though in token of faith and loyalty; he promises forgiveness of sins through baptism; and if my memory does not fail me marks his own soldiers with the sign of Mithra on their foreheads, commemorates an offering of bread, introduces a mock resurrection, and with the sword opens the way to the crown.
Moreover has he not forbidden a second marriage to the supreme priest? He maintains also his virgins and his celibates. According to Ehrman, these writers were ideologically motivated to portray Christianity and Mithraism as similar because they wanted to persuade pagan officials that Christianity was not so different from other religious traditions, so that these officials would realize that there was no reason to single Christians out for persecution.
In late antiquity , early Christians frequently adapted pagan iconography to suit Christian purposes. Early Christians also identified Jesus with the Greek hero Orpheus ,  who was said to have tamed wild beasts with the music of his lyre. Early Christians found it hard to criticize Asclepius because, while their usual tactics were to denounce the absurdity of believing in gods who were merely personifications of nature and to accuse pagan gods of being immoral,  neither of these could be applied to Asclepius, who was never portrayed as a personification of nature and whose stories were inscrutably moral.
In some depictions from late antiquity, Jesus was shown with the halo of the sun god Sol Invictus.
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Christians also may have adapted the iconography of the Egyptian goddess Isis nursing her son Horus and applied it to the Virgin Mary nursing her son Jesus. Byzantine mosaic of Jesus with his head surrounded by a halo c. Sixth-century AD icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with saints and angels, and the Hand of God above, from Saint Catherine's Monastery , possibly the earliest iconic image of the subject to survive. The Bible never states when Jesus was born,    but, by late antiquity, Christians had begun celebrating his birth on 25 December. Aspects of Jesus's life as recorded in the gospels bear some similarities to various other figures, both historical and mythological.
Classical mythology is filled with stories of miraculous births of various kinds,     but, in most cases of divine offspring from classical mythology, the father is a god who engages in literal sexual intercourse with the mother, a mortal woman,   causing her to give birth to a son who is literally half god and half man. Another comparable story from Greek mythology describes the conception of the hero Perseus. According to M.
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David Litwa, the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke consciously attempt to avoid portraying Jesus's conception as anything resembling pagan accounts of divine parentage;  the author of the Gospel of Luke tells a similar story about the conception of John the Baptist in effort to emphasize the Jewish character of Jesus's birth.
Folklorist Alan Dundes has argued that Jesus fits all but five of the twenty-two narrative patterns in the Rank-Raglan mythotype ,   and therefore more closely matches the archetype than many of the heroes traditionally cited to support it, such as Jason , Bellerophon , Pelops , Asclepius , Joseph , Elijah , and Siegfried.
Wills states that the "hero paradigm in some form does apply to the earliest lives of Jesus", albeit not to the extreme extent that Dundes has argued. The late nineteenth-century Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer wrote extensively about the existence of a "dying-and rising god" archetype in his monumental study of comparative religion The Golden Bough the first edition of which was published in   as well as in later works. Then, in the middle of the twentieth century, the complete, unabridged, original Sumerian text of Inanna's Descent was finally translated,   revealing that, instead of ending with Dumuzid's resurrection as had long been assumed, the text actually ended with Dumuzid's death.
Frazer and others also saw Tammuz's Greek equivalent Adonis as a "dying-and-rising god",    despite the fact that he is never described as rising from the dead in any extant Greco-Roman writings  and the only possible allusions to his supposed resurrection come from late, highly ambiguous statements made by Christian authors. In the late twentieth century, scholars began to severely criticize the designation of "dying-and-rising god" altogether.
Smith concluded in Mircea Eliade 's Encyclopedia of Religion that "The category of dying and rising gods, once a major topic of scholarly investigation, must now be understood to have been largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jesus has been compared to a broad variety of figures from various mythological traditions within the Mediterranean Basin , including in rows from left to right Dionysus , Mithras , Sol Invictus , Osiris , Asclepius , Attis , and Adonis.
Mithras rising from the rock National Museum of Romanian History. Mithras born from the rock c. Main article: Depiction of Jesus. Christian statue of Jesus as the " Good Shepherd " c. Late Roman copy of a fifth-century BC Greek statue showing Hermes , the god of travelers, carrying a ram over his shoulders in his role as Kriophoros the "Ram-Bearer". Main article: Christmas. Main article: Miraculous birth. Main articles: Rank-Raglan mythotype and Hero.
Main article: Dying-and-rising deity. Price , a former fundamentalist apologist turned atheist who says the existence of Jesus cannot be ruled out, but is less probable than non-existence, agrees that his perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.
Moreover, it has not been produced by anyone or anything with any reasonable relationship to critical scholarship. It belongs to the fantasy lives of people who used to be fundamentalist Christians. They did not believe in critical scholarship then, and they do not do so now. I cannot find any evidence that any of them have adequate professional qualifications. The point I shall argue below is that, the agreed evidentiary practices of the historians of Yeshua, despite their best efforts, have not been those of sound historical practice". In a later euhemerized retelling of the myth of Pentheus from the third century BC, however, the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus states that Dionysus crossed the Hellespont and "defeated the Thracian forces in battle.
Lycurgus, whom he took prisoner, he blinded, tortured in every conceivable way and finally crucified. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. InterVarsity Press. Sheffield Phoenix Press. Basic Books. Retrieved 17 June Ehrman 22 March The Historical Jesus: Five Views.
SPCK Publishing. Burridge; Graham Gould Jesus Now and Then. William B.