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Celebrating the real Jesus Christ
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When I was a kid I use to watch a game show called, "To Tell the Truth," hosted by the very charming Gary Moore. (Some of you may remember that he had another show called The Gary Moore Show on which a very up and coming comedian was a regular. Her name is Carol Burnett). Every week there would be three people each claiming to be the same person who would stand in front of a panel of judges; and would answer their questions in order to be able to ascertain the truth as to who the real person was. They would walk on to the stage and each one would say, for example, "My name is John Smith." Then the next one would say. "My name is John Smith." Then the third one would say, "My name is John Smith." After the panel had thoroughly questioned them to try and guess who the real John Smith was the announcer would say: "Will the real John Smith please stand up!" And then you'd find out who the real person was and who the impostors were.

There are many opinions and suppositions in today's world as to who the real Jesus is. If one is not well versed in Scripture it's easy to get confused and ask, "Will the real Jesus please stand up!"

Attacks on the person and historicity of Jesus Christ are not something new. Paul faced it in his day as is evident in his intriguing statement to the Corinthian church concerning "another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel." Even then there were those false teachers who were trying to reinvent and fabricate a new Jesus; one who would fit with their lifestyles.

Today the Jesus of the gospels and of history is being challenged as never before. Men like John Dominic Crossant of the infamous Jesus Seminar and Bart Ehrman, liberal scholar who has written the recent best seller, misquoting Jesus are crisscrossing the country endeavoring to dismantle the Jesus of holy Scripture and of history.

As a student of church history, and of apologetics I have always had a burning desire to know the answers to the objections to Christianity by liberal theologians and agnostics who, it seems, have made it their mission in life to ship wreck the faith of the sincere believer. And the good news is there are answers for all of their objections; you just need to know where to find them. Oddly enough, all of the objections that men like Ehrman and Crossant make were answered centuries ago by leading apologists of the Christian faith like Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome, and Origen.

We can trust the holy Scriptures, first of all, because we have manuscripts which date back nearly to the first century. Therefore, we can be certain that what we have in our modern day Bible, is what the Apostles and writers of the New Testament wrote down. Some liberal scholars are touting The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, The Gospel of Philip, and other false gospels as giving us a much different picture of Jesus than the four gospels do. However, all of these supposed gospels were written too late to be considered authentic. They were written late second century or early third century, and in a different format; obviously too late, and filled with too many cultural errors to give us a true picture of Jesus of Nazareth.

The four gospels, on the other hand, were all written in the first century within a generation of when Jesus lived, died, and rose again. In I Corinthians 15:3-7a, the Apostle Paul informs us: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: 'Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles...'

This group of Scriptures, which Paul was quoting, scholars know formed the earliest creed and beliefs of primitive Christians. Scholars estimate that it was written within five to eight years of the death and resurrection of Christ, thus precluding any chance of mythological contamination. The earliest Christians proclaimed the same Jesus as the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The Apostle Peter put it best: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses to His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain." (II Peter 1:16-18).

As we celebrate this Christmas season, let's celebrate and worship the real Jesus! Not the one reinvented by liberals or skeptics who want to create a Jesus in their own image who they're comfortable with. Remember, that same baby in the manger was He who would one day die on the cross for our sins, and raise from the dead for our new life. He is also the same Jesus who will one day return in glory and rule the nations. We as Christians, who are thankful He came the first time, also are looking forward to His second coming. And so, as the Apostle John said, "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus."