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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Showing posts with label Christmas Jesus gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Jesus gifts. Show all posts

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who are Theudas and Judas of Galilee and why is Jesus Different?

There have been many teachers throughout the history of humanity whose life and teachings are supposedly word-changing—at least this is what their followers believe or have believed.  Such may be said about Jesus.  Of course, history has shown that Jesus' teachings did indeed reshape humanity. We even number our years by His coming. But have you ever thought about why? In the view of the movers and shakers of the day, Jesus of Nazareth was a backwoods preacher in a third-rate province of Roman Empire. With no army and no money or political influence, why is it that two-thousand years later people across all continents celebrate His birth with more fervor than the greatest of any of their heroes? It isn't because of Christmas; it's because of Easter!

As influential as Jesus' teachings were, they wouldn't hold nearly as much power unless there was something else accompanying it; something that proved His authority. I make such a claim because we see the same reasoning in the book of Acts. In Acts 5, the Jewish Sanhedrin was wondering what to do with this new sect of Jesus followers who won't obey their cease and desist orders.  Gamaliel, a respected teacher, comes before them and says,

"Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men.For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God."(Acts 5:35-39)

 The Sanhedrin should've understood this.  In John 2:19, when Jesus drove out the moneychangers, they asked Him what kind of authority he had to dictate what should and shouldn't happen in God's temple. Jesus replied "Destroy this temple and I will raise it up on the third day" speaking of His resurrection.

Some like to point to Jesus as being a great teacher as the explanation for His popularity.  But reducing Jesus to merely a good teacher neither explains the magnitude of His influence nor does justice to the things He actually said. Of course the teachings of Jesus were revolutionary and profound.  But Jesus was unique.  He claimed to speak with the authority of God, and backed up that claim by going to the cross, dying, and rising again. It is because of the resurrection that Jesus is held to be the source of authority on matters of God and mankind and it is because of the resurrection that we celebrate this season.
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