This book lets Jesus speak for himself, in his own words as recorded by the New Testament writers. In a sense, we’ve created an autobiography.
I, Jesus: an Autobiography is the rather bold title of a new book that Dr. Chuck Missler and I wrote earlier this year about Jesus of Nazareth. We’re happy to announce that it’s intended to be the first formal textbook published on behalf of the Koinonia Institute’s study program. We hope it will be followed by many others.
Our decision to write this apologetic work sprang from a conversation the two of us had in mid-January of 2014 about the cultural mythology that affects—or, more accurately, infects—our largely Christ-rejecting culture concerning the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
As we were talking, it occurred to us that perhaps we should address the subject of the person of Jesus himself in some depth. The result of those discussions is our new book. We hope that friends of this ministry throughout the world will find it useful.
Our intention is to release the material contained in this work as a printed book, an electronic eBook in a variety of popular formats, a DVD series, and a PowerPoint® presentation suitable for use by teachers of apologetics, which is that branch of systematic theology that deals with the defense of the Christian faith.
Frankly, we wrote I, Jesus: an Autobiography in order to set the record straight. That’s because, chances are, Jesus isn’t who most of the world thinks he is. No matter what you may have read before about this first century rabbi from Nazareth, there’s a good possibility that the average reader has been misinformed.
In fact, maybe you’ve been wrong from the start about the most amazing man who ever walked the surface of the earth.
Many people who knew Jesus understood him well enough to admire him, to respect him, and to love him. Others were terrified of him. Some of his own relatives said he was out of his mind. But the politically and religiously intolerant leaders of first century Israel hated him. So they murdered him.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Not by a long shot.
Today, more than twenty centuries later, Dr. Chuck Missler and I have brought Jesus of Nazareth to you in the most unconventional way possible… by bringing Jesus of Nazareth to talk in his very own words about himself, his purpose, his nature, and his mission.
Jesus in His Own Words
This book avoids the structure of a complex conclusion of systematic theology by letting Jesus speak for himself, in his own words as recorded by the New Testament writers. As such, we’ve taken the bold step to entitle this work I, Jesus: an Autobiography, because we’re going to let the man speak for himself, using his own statements as our guide to what he thought of himself. In a sense, we’re going to create an autobiography of this rabbi who grew up in Nazareth and changed the course of history.
In Part One of our study, we’ll demonstrate that Jesus made no less than 32 separate and astounding claims concerning himself, claims that in the cultural and theological economy of monotheistic Israel were nothing less than blasphemy.
- We’ll show that the man claimed to be the God of Israel, Yahweh Elohim, not merely divine, like a manifestation of deity.
- We’ll demonstrate how Jesus claimed to have an eternal pre-existence that antedated Abraham, the world’s first Jew, so to speak, who was the founder and progenitor of the people of Israel and lived and died about 2,000 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
- We’ll illustrate how Jesus predicted that he was going to be executed, but that afterward he would rise from the dead, and that he would be the one who would make that resurrection happen.
- We’ll show that Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem about forty years before the event occurred.
- We’ll show that the man claimed to possess a detailed knowledge about how history would run for the centuries to come until his eventual return, and that when he did return, he would conquer the world by invading it, accompanied by an invincible army whose soldiers can neither be wounded nor killed.
- We’ll establish that he claimed personal attributes which in the theological economy of ancient Israel belonged only to the uncreated, eternal, and almighty Lord God Yahweh Elohim himself.
- We’ll discuss his remarkable claims that all of the angels of heaven were his personal property.
- We’ll point out his astounding statement that everyone who has ever lived would stand before him in judgment at the end of human history.
- We’ll show how he said that he would be the person who resurrects everyone from the dead at the end of time.
- And we’ll explain how Jesus claimed that he and he alone would be the determiner of every person’s eternal destiny.
Then we’ll conclude by summarizing how the Church defined the person, nature, character, and mission of Jesus of Nazareth.
What Others Said About Him
In Part Two, we’ll conclude our analysis by undertaking a survey about what the rest of the New Testament says about Jesus in light of the astonishing claims that he made about himself. We’ll show how New Testament writers, all of whom claimed to have known the man personally and to have spoken to him, concluded from their knowledge of him that when they were speaking to Jesus, they were speaking to the same omnipotent, eternal, omniscient, and holy Being whom their ancestors Abraham, [Isaac]a9http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac), and Jacob addressed as God and before whom they bowed in worship.
The difference between them and their forefathers, however, was that this time, the God of Israel had taken on human flesh, and would carry that incarnation from the day of his birth right into eternity future.
Once he took upon himself human flesh, the God of Israel would forever be “Emmanuel,” or, as the Hebrew name means, “God with us” in human form.
We’ll examine what the Hebrew Scriptures have to say about the man. We’ll take a look at seven short letters (almost telegraphic in their brevity) that Jesus dictated, in which he makes mention of a few things about himself. We’ll also examine the various ways in which over the centuries the Church attempted to clarify what the Bible says about Jesus the Man and Jesus the Son of God made human in the person of the rabbi from Nazareth.
A Call for a Decision about Jesus
Lastly, we’ll summarize the false views about Jesus that have been promulgated to one degree or another over the last twenty centuries. Then we’ll invite the reader to meet this man, who though he described himself as lowly and humble, nevertheless made the most extraordinary claims about himself that anyone has ever made, because he described himself as equal in nature, attribute, authority, and character to God himself.
By the time you’ve finished reading I, Jesus: an Autobiography, you’ll have learned why this rabbi from Nazareth rose from literal obscurity—as well as from the grave—to change the very course of history.