Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Twenty)

Was Jesus Without Sin?
            Jesus, we all know is without sin. Nevertheless, we note that he was baptized with the baptism of John; perhaps, then, he needed to be forgiven for sins. (Mark 1:4) This classical argument needs only be refuted in brief.
Wherein, O skeptic, do the scriptures say that Jesus openly confessed his sins when he came to John? (Mark 1:5) Further, was John’s purpose only to preach baptism in symbol of repentance? If so, why did he testify: “Someone stronger that I am is coming after me, the lace of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with holy spirit?” (Mark 1:7,8 NWT) And: “Behind me there comes a man who has advanced in front of me, for he existed before me,” and “I came baptizing in water so that he might be made manifest to Israel?” (John 1:31 NWT) Clearly, John was also to reveal the Messiah to the people who came to him to seek baptism.
John said that Jesus existed before him, so it would make sense that he, while human, was not always such, therefore, he would not have sin. (John 1:3) To that, Isaiah 53 agrees. That is why it is clear that Jesus was not baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, but to dedicate himself as God’s Anointed One.
The skeptic, though is not satisfied, for he spots “clear” sins on Jesus’ part. The Law, Jesus tells us, says to honor your father and mother. (Mark 10:19) Yet, the skeptic asserts that Jesus failed to do so. Luke 11:27,28 (NWT) reports that a woman cried out: “Happy is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nursed you,” yet Jesus said: “No, rather happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!” Apparently the skeptic somehow finds this sinful. But, all that Jesus was highlighting was that greater happiness could be found in serving God, for that is of utmost importance.
The skeptic, going on, cites Mark 10:19, where Jesus said that one must not steal, and Matthew 21:2 where Jesus steals! Mathew 21:2 (WEB) records that Jesus said: “Go into the village that is opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them, and bring them to me.” To the skeptic this is clearly theft. However, two points could be brought to bear against such a notion. First, Jesus simply arranged for the animals to be taken by his disciples for short time; we do not see that Jesus kept if indefinitely. Second, the account in Matthew 21:1-9 does not involve his disciples taking by force, but by the words ‘the Lord needs it.’ So, it is possible that Jesus simply expected the owner to give them to him since he was a prophet and teacher of some renowned – not an uncommon occurrence in those days. Therefore, the idea that Jesus stole is farfetched.
            Now, the skeptic quotes Leviticus 5:1 (NWT), which says: “If someone sins because he has heard a public call to testify and he is a witness or has seen or learned about it and he does not report it, then he will answer for his error,” from which he thinks that Jesus had to refute the charge against him. However, Matthew 27:13,14 (NWT) reports: “Then Pilate said to him: “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him, no, not a word, so that they governor was very surprised.” This, the skeptic boldly asserts, must be a sin! But, what the skeptic (intentionally) ignores is that Leviticus refers to those who have to report the sins of others. So, this does not apply to Christ, thus there was no way for him to sin against it.
            Deuteronomy 6:5 (NWT) states: “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.” The skeptic, for some reason, wants us to think Jesus broke this! Why? Because at Mark 15:34 (NWT) he states: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” His inadequate Biblical knowledge notwithstanding, we see that Jesus was literally to some extent forsaken by God, for he did die. Was Jesus, then, meaning this disrespectfully? No, nor was David when that one wrote it about a thousand years before. Psalm 22, a Messianic psalm, was not a rant against God, but a plea to God. It does not end in defeat nor in disrespect. Psalm 22:22 (NWT) states: “I will declare your name to my brothers.” By referencing it, Jesus was respectfully affirming his faith in God.
            The skeptic also goes into a tirade about how Jesus broke the Sabbath. But, he fails to understand that Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, while he breaking the extra-biblical and therefore non-binding prohibitions of the Sabbath, did nothing that was not actually permitted.
Finally, in desperation, the skeptic launches one last attempt to get the Bible to contradict itself: 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus was made sin. If he expects this to prove that Jesus himself was actually sinful, he is woefully mistaken. The verse itself (NWT) starts off: “The one who did not know sin,” leaving the skeptic dumbfounded at the harmony of the Bible.

Is Jesus the Only Mediator Between Man and God?
            1 Timothy 2:5 (NWT) declares that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.” However, Romans 8:26 (NWT) says: “the spirit joins in with help for our weakness . . . [pleading] for us with unuttered groanings.” The skeptic is satisfied that he finally found one that worked, but the reason that he fails is self-evident. 1 Timothy 2:5 does not deal with intercessions (as far as prayers is concerned). Only Jesus mediated the covenant between men and God. He alone “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all,” not the spirit, nor anyone else. – 1 Timothy 2:6 NWT

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