Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

10. About Jesus / Is Jesus God? |
Madman or God?

This is a continuation of the ninth segment (Jesus and the Blind Man) of Chapter One on Jesus of Nazareth entitled Madman or God?. It is from Volume One, The Veil is Torn, of the twelve-volume historical series: The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years. This section of the chapter shows how the consistent and flagrant implications by Jesus to be God shook the Jewish establishment to the core.

Does he not know that only God can forgive sins?

Meanwhile, the same criticism of abusive authority finally put an end to Jesus’ cousin John. After Herod Antipas’s brother died, Herod married his brother’s widow, Herodias. Since that represented a violation of the Law, John denounced him for it, and was arrested and imprisoned in the Machaerus. Herodias, by a cunning trick, forced Herod to execute him. Herod was much upset by this, because he admired John. But, like Jesus, John had simply gone too far.

Jesus, however, went a great deal farther than that. The most glaring and absolutely unspeakable element in his whole work and ministry lay in his theology. His pronouncements about his own identity rendered him absolutely unacceptable, a lunatic, a monster, or worse, perhaps the devil himself in human form.

The fact is, he consistently talked and acted—and it smacks of blasphemy to even repeat this—as though he were God Himself. Not a servant of God. Not a prophet of God. Not even a mirror of God. But literally, the “Son of God.” God, as it were, in the Person of a man, like the disgusting fables of the Romans and Greeks whose so-called gods walked the earth as humans in disguise.

The whole tradition of Jewry, the whole mission of the people, was to deny the very possibility of such an abomination. God is one, and God is other. Between God and the natural world there can exist no direct connection, only the connection of Creator to creature, artist to painting, author to story. The one is fundamentally distinct from the other.

Yet this assertion of divinity, sometimes implicit, sometimes explicit, ran through almost everything Jesus taught and said. “Your sins,” he repeatedly told those whom he cured, “are forgiven.” An obvious blasphemy. If one man cheats another, the victim can forgive the cheater. But then along comes this fellow who wasn’t there when the offense took place and who had nothing whatever to do with it, and announces that he forgives the offender. It’s as though he himself were the party chiefly offended.

Does he not know that only God can forgive sins? What does he think the whole ritual of the Temple is about? The animal is sacrificed, as God directed, to atone for the sins of the individual and of the people as a whole. He apparently substitutes himself for the whole Temple process.

To continue reading from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years, Volume One — The Veil is Torn, Chapter One on Jesus of Nazareth entitled Madman or God? and would like to proceed to the next section on the Mount of Olives.