He could clean things up

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Matt Dominick and I were heading back to his house after we had driven up to Twain Harte to help my daughter get out of some snow where she was stuck. Actually, she was not stuck, but just in a place that was downhill, steep and icy. Could not blame her for not wanting to try it.

After getting her out, Matt and I headed back to his house. Near Twain Heart proper were two guys with several bags of groceries standing on the side of the road with their thumbs out. One of them, (the older of the two), was also waving a five dollar bill to entice the passing motorists. I was not surprised when Matt pulled over and told them to get in. Not because they were waving money in the air, but because Matt has a heart for helping those in need.

They piled in the back, along with their bags from the local food closet. First one in was young, late teens or early twenties. The other fellow was probably in his late forties or fifties; he did the talking. First thing out of his mouth was thanking us for the ride because he had to get to Sonora because his son was in jail. Matt pulled away and started driving. They told Matt where they wanted to go, which was only about 10 minutes away.

I asked their names and introduced myself and Matt. Turning toward the back seat, I began to ask questions about where they lived and how long. As I said before, the older fellow was doing most of the talking, sharing his opinions on a variety of topics. Most of it was on the various food closets he frequents. He held the one in Columbia in high regard, due in part to the hot showers they offer to the homeless. He was easy to talk to because he was more than happy to share his opinion.

The conversation changed to places they had lived before. The younger man shared he lived in Mexico for a couple years, and then a year in San Diego. The older fellow named several locations, but he was not happy about being back in Twain Harte. I asked if he returned to Twain Harte because of family. He said all of his family was dead, long gone. So I asked him where they went. He paused for a moment, looking at me and repeated they were all dead and had been for a long time. I asked him again, pointedly, where they went. He thought for a moment and said, “Heaven I guess.” I asked him why he thought that.

He really did not have an answer, but he was bold in sharing he did not believe in Jesus and God. He did believe in some kind of ‘force’ or mystical power that we would all end up going to, or being part of. It sounded very New Age or Hinduistic as he attempted to describe his belief. I had several openings to choose from and opted to share my thoughts on God.

I asked them if they had heard of the Big Bang. They had, and I explained that if we had a Big Bang, you need a Big Banger. I shared in greater detail that time must have had a beginning, because time can’t go back infinitely. I then shared a story I have used before in my blog that helps explain the concept of time going back forever, and why it is not possible.  

I described a scene where if we were walking along a parkway and as we approached a man sitting on a park bench, we heard him counting up from negative numbers, “…negative four, negative three, negative two, negative one, zero!” When the man reached zero, he leaped up from the bench and began jumping up and down yelling, “I did it! I did it!”

Of course we would ask, “Did what?”

The man grinning, triumphantly replied, “It took me a long time, but I finally counted up from negative infinity to zero!” 1

When I finished the example, I asked the two passengers, “What would you think?” The older fellow said nothing, but I was looking the younger man. He was engaged and listening to me. He shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. I replied for him, “You would think he is crazy.” He immediately smiled and nodded in agreement. “So would I” I said. I explained you can’t count to infinity, and you can’t count up from infinity. Every time someone said they reached infinity, (where you would start), you could just add another zero.

The younger man was taking it in, I could tell the gears were turning and he was considering something he never heard before, or if he had, at least was giving it some thought for the first time.

I went on to explain that we also have scientific evidence that also suggests our universe, and time, had a beginning. I asked them if they heard of the 2nd law of thermodynamics? They nodded and I went on explaining that our universe is moving toward equilibrium. Heat, pressure, density are in the process of breaking down. For example, our sun is burning up hydrogen, but it has not been doing so forever. Same holds for other suns in other solar systems, and other suns in other galaxies. Someone lit the match, but the match can’t keep burning; it will use up its energy. All of it, including time, had a beginning.

When I was done, the younger fellow seemed reflective, but the older man was dismissive. He asked if there was a God, then who made God? I told him that was a good question, and explained we could ask who made the God that made God. I pointed out it was an infinite regression. Just like time can’t go backwards forever, we can’t keep asking who made God.

The older man changed his tact, giving up on proving there is no God. “Well, if there is a God” he said, “he did a poor job, and better clean up this f***ing mess!” He went on to give examples of the evil in the world and how screwed up everything is.

I agreed; there is a lot of evil in the world, and asked the older man, “Could He start with you?” He replied with more examples of evil in the world – he missed my point. I asked him again if God could start with him, cleaning up the evil in the world. He hesitated and answered my question by saying that Ozzy Osbourne should be put in charge, laughing he said, “He could clean things up!”

More to the point, he could clean things up to the satisfaction of the older man. He could continue to live life the way he wanted. No hindering rules, no responsibility, no accountability, no justice, or at least justice according to his play book.

The young man looked confused for a moment and asked, “Who is Ozzy Osbourne?” The old man replied, “It does not matter.” He was right about that. No one could clean things up to the satisfaction of the older man, unless it was someone who would see every sin, every shortcoming, every fault as he did. Of course we can’t find anyone who would agree with us on every matter within our own world view. Even Christians don’t agree on issues such as the death penalty, abortion, gun control, and same sex marriage.

We had arrived at their destination and they piled out with their groceries and thanked Matt for the ride. Possibly I gave them something to think about, maybe not. But it was a good example of what you can do with apologetics in a conversation, and point unbelievers, or skeptics, toward God.

 

Sources:
1. Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God. New York, Riverhead Books, 2008. Print.

 
Creative Commons License
He could clean things up by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

Did Jesus use Scripture?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My wife and I have had some discussions on Jesus’ use of scripture in the past few weeks. So we started our own Bible study and decided to explore His use of scripture, and if He ever referenced the Old Testament. What we found came as quite a surprise, a pleasant one. Not only did Jesus use scripture, he referenced it in a number of different ways. Let me share a few with you.

It is written, have you not read, and you have heard it said:

In Matthew 4:4 and in Luke 4:4, Jesus was referencing Deuteronomy 8:3: But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Again in Matthew 4:7 and in Luke 4:12, Jesus said to Satan, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” This is referencing Deuteronomy 6:16.

Ending the exchange between Satan and Jesus,in Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8 you will find: Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ” Deuteronomy 6:13 and Deuteronomy 10:20. These are three examples from Matthew and Luke where Jesus was referencing the Old Testament.

In Chapter 19 of Matthew, the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife. This was a test by the Pharisees as they were hoping to trap him. It was also a dangerous question because the answer John the Baptist gave resulted in his being imprisoned and eventually beheaded. Jesus answered by referencing Genesis 2:24 “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” The same account can be found in Mark 10:6-8.

In chapter 5 of Matthew, arguably one of the most read chapters of the Bible, Jesus said in verse 27, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ ” He was referencing Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18.

Eleven verses later Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’” Referencing Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21.

In Mark 7:8-13, Jesus is debating again with Jewish leaders and scribes when they questioned Him about his disciples eating bread with unwashed hands. In his reply, not only does He reference Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16, His response suggests that they, (Pharisees and scribes), invalidate the word of God (Old Testament) which has been handed down.

Gary Habermas wrote, “So we have seen that Jesus based arguments on specific words of the Old Testament text. He indicated His trust of even the letters themselves, in that not even a portion could fail. Both the whole, as well as the individual sections, received His positive endorsements, as well. Jesus referred to the Old Testament not simply as a time-honored human document. Rather, He called it the very command and words of God. True, humans like Moses and David penned the text, but God still spoke through them. In citing the Scriptures, Jesus believed that He was reporting the very message of God. The Word of God was the expression of God’s truth. Seen from various angles, this is indeed a high view of inspiration. We conclude that Jesus definitely accepted the inspiration of the Old Testament. It is very difficult to do otherwise.” 1

German scholar Rainer Riesner researched the educational methods and practices in ancient Israel. He listed six good reasons we could consider the words of Jesus were carefully and accurately preserved without having memorized His sayings word for word. The first was, “Jesus followed the practice of Old Testament prophets by proclaiming the Word of the Lord with the kind of authority that would have commanded respect and concern to safeguard that which was perceived as revelation from God. Just as many parts of Old Testament prophecy are considered by even fairly skeptical scholars to have been quite well preserved, so Jesus’ words should be considered in the same light.” 2

The Son of Man

In all four Gospels, Jesus referred to himself as ‘the Son of Man’. In Matthew alone, Jesus applies this title to Himself nearly 30 times. Matthew 8:20, Matthew 9:6, Matthew 10:23, Matthew 11:19, Matthew 12:8, Matthew 12:32, and Matthew 12:40, are just a few examples. In Mark we find it 13 times, in Luke 25 times, and finally in John 13 times. The title ‘Son of Man’ originated in a vision given to the prophet Daniel by God. Daniel 7:13.3

In Chapter 14 of Mark, Jesus is on trial and the Chief priests, elders, and scribes gathered to condemn him. After listening to false witnesses, the high priest Caiaphas asked him if He was the Christ. Jesus answered in John 14:62, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Again a reference to Daniel 7:13 and to Psalm 110:1.

The New King James Bible study notes explains Daniel 7:13 this way: “Son of Man is Semitic for ‘human being.’ Daniel saw One like the ‘Son of Man,’ indicating that He is not a man in the strict sense, but rather the perfect representation of humanity. Jewish and Christian expositors have identified this individual as the Messiah.”4

Jesus used Old Testament scripture extensively throughout His ministry. Craig Blomberg wrote“…consider, for example, the first impassioned accounts from Jewish sources of the Nazi holocaust that turned out to be more accurate than the reports of ‘objective’ news media…Jews, understandably committed to preventing atrocities against their people, have more reason to chronicle carefully past attempts at genocide. Christians, believing God to have acted uniquely in the person and ministry of Jesus for the salvation of the world, had to depict at least the main contours of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection accurately in order to prove persuasive.”5

 

Sources:
1. Habermas, Gary. “Jesus and the Inspiration of Scripture” GaryHabermas.com Dr. Gary Habermas, January 2002. Web. 11 November 2015.
2. Ibid.
3. “Jesus’ Use of Scripture.” Confidence in the Word. Citw.org.uk, n.d.Web. 5 December 2015
4. “New King James Bible Study Notes.” Bible Study Tools. Biblestudytools.com 2014. Web. 5 December 2015
5. Blomberg, Craig L. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. Downers Grove: IVP Academic 2007. Print.

 

 

Creative Commons License
Did Jesus use Scripture? by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

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