Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 6:01 am | Fog/Mist 66º


D.C. Collier: Why the Bible Matters (A Lot) — Part IV

[Noozhawk’s note: Fourth in a series. Click here for previous articles.]

Most good books have a central character who carries the story along, and with whom the reader can identify. Likewise, the Bible is centered, not upon some force or omnipotent thing, but upon a person.

A person with whom we share many divinely implanted characteristics that make it possible for us to know him, communicate with him and to love him.

And, best of all, he has been speaking to us from the very beginning of time. We just need to be willing to stop long enough to listen.

Here is how Bible scholar John Phillips put it:

“A certain copy of the Constitution of the United States was once executed in superb penmanship by the hand of an artist. In some places, the words are all cramped together, while in others they are spaced far apart. Looking at the manuscript closely, there seems to be little reason for such a spacing of the words.

“Standing back, however, and looking at the production from a distance, the artist’s purpose becomes clear. He not only wrote out the Constitution but also portrayed the face of George Washington, his cramped and spaced-out words forming lights and shadows on the page.

“Thus it is with the Bible. The creation of the stars is covered in Genesis 1 in five short words, ‘He made the stars also.’ Yet the story of the tabernacle is spread over some 50 chapters of the Bible.

“All we know of the life of Jesus between His birth and His baptism is covered in a single page of scripture. Yet page after page is devoted to genealogies that perhaps appear endless and pointless to us. We ask, ‘Why such an uneven choice of subject matter?’ The answer becomes clear when we take a survey look at the Bible. Woven into all the scripture is the perfect portrait of God’s beloved Son.”​1

Even a casual reader of the Bible will observe that Jesus towered over everyone else, with each encounter. Kings, religious rulers, prostitutes and peasants were halted midstride by his piercing insights and otherworldly wisdom. No one was his equal.

Had Jesus met up with the likes of Aristotle, Plato, Einstein, Archimedes, Newton, Darwin, Hawking or Sagan, the results would have been the same — this humble carpenter from the sticks would have silenced them all.

But Jesus’ most audacious claim, the one that would eventually lead to his arrest and execution, was his claim to be God in the flesh.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. This notion of his Godhood was not a retrospective invention of his followers, nor was it a fanciful interpretation of what he said. Because in that day, in that culture, such daring assertions were likely to result in public execution or an extended stay in the Roman version of the funny farm.

Yet people today persist in discounting his claims and have reduced him to a far safer “great moral teacher” or some such politically correct diminution. C.S. Lewis, a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer and Christian apologist, would have none of it:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”2

Remember, this is the same Jesus who said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”3

So much for the Hollywood Messiah, dumbing down his message to attract screaming crowds as he uttered sappy platitudes. Jesus spoke bluntly and unapologetically, leaving little room for doubt about his identity or his message.

Next week, more on the message this enigmatic visitor from another dimension had to share with those willing to stop long enough to listen ...

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Phillips, John. “Climbing the Heights.” Exploring the Scriptures. Chicago: Moody, 1981. N. pag. Print.

2. “A Quote by C. S. Lewis.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2015.

3. Matthew 10:34–36 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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