Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Luke 4:16-30, 6:5, Ephesians 1:3-5, Luke 9:18-27, 2 Peter 1:16-18
If the claim is true, it will change the social fabric of humanity. It will affect every aspect of our lives until this earth gasps its last breath in some cosmic cataclysm. It will crumble institutions and empires as it crushes the hopes of billions.
The claim? That the tomb, or ossuary (essentially a box of bones), of Jesus of Nazareth and his family has been located in Jerusalem. In a recent report, a handful of archaeologists say that it is the burial plot of Jesus’ father Joseph, mother Mary, and brother James. The report goes on to say that Jesus eventually married Mary of Magdala and they had a son, Judah. The claimants assume that Jesus himself was buried in the box.1
The implications of this claim are tremendous. If it’s true, then Jesus is not who we Christians claim He is. One gets the image of Jesus coming home after a hard day’s work in the carpenter shop, playing with little Judah while Mary sets out dinner. We see Jesus living out his life like the rest of us—looking forward to grandchildren and retirement. In this claim we see Jesus as a man—only a man. So there goes the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and the second coming. Eternal bliss in heaven is apparently a world-wide mass delusion of wishful thinking.
Our Sabbath School lesson this week asks that essential question: Who is Jesus Christ? Was Jesus a man? Is Jesus a god? Is Jesus the God? How about God and man combined? Was Jesus only a good teacher of social mores to live by? Was he simply an example of how we can and must live our lives today? A martyr for a good cause? Our substitute? Our Savior? How we answer these questions will determine how we will live our lives today, and the degree of hope we can have for the future.
If Jesus was a really good man, a fantastic teacher, even a martyr for the cause of God, does that give you hope for eternity? If Jesus dutifully gave us an example of how we should live our lives today, does that encourage you or increase your sense of inadequacy as you struggle to reach that same standard? It appears that the archaeologists who claim to have found Jesus’ burial box are also claiming then that the Biblical narrative regarding Christ is nothing more than a fanciful elaboration on the life of a pretty good guy. Does that notion feed your soul?
Who is Jesus Christ? Do we have faith enough to live according to our answer to that question?
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