Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH JESUS CHRIST?”

 

If you look through the annals of history you will never find anyone whose Christian testimony was credible in terms of the doctrines he embraced and the lifestyle he demonstrated who was sorry he became a believer in Jesus Christ. To restate without the qualifiers, there has never been a real Christian who regretted coming to faith in Christ, not even those burned at the stake for being Christians.[1] To be sure, there have been a great many with false professions who were left with a bad taste in their mouths. False hopes tend to all who have with them bad feelings of one kind or another. After all, what real benefit is derived from a cheap fraud, from a counterfeit, from an imitation of anything of value? However, such people have not really tasted to see that the LORD is good, have they, Psalm 34.8?

Think about it for a moment. Would you verify the quality of a brand new Porsche based upon the recommendation of a guy who has driven only Volkswagen Beetles his whole life? Of course not. Yet basing one’s estimation of Jesus Christ on the recommendation of someone who once falsely professed to be a Christian is much like coming to a conclusion about a brand new Porsche based upon the say-so of a guy who has only driven old Beetles. Does that make any sense at all? Even basing your appraisal of Jesus Christ on the recommendation of a professing believer in Jesus Christ should be recognized as inadequate at best. After all, just because someone recommends escargot does not mean you will enjoy the taste of cooked snails. How about calamari? Fancy eating calamari because someone you know loves calamari? Will you still fancy eating calamari when you are told calamari is another name for squid? I could go on and on with examples and illustrations of the two kinds of mistakes people make when they consider the Lord Jesus Christ. Some judge Him badly based upon the poor referral given by someone who has never met Him, while others base their entire approval of Him on a good referral given by someone who claims to know Him.

May I appeal to your wisdom and experience with other matters to show how unreliable the opinions are of someone whose criticisms is not based upon personal experience? Just as the guy who has only driven old Volkswagens should not be listened to concerning the manufacturing quality and road handling characteristics of a Porsche, so too the negative comments about Jesus Christ from anyone who is not a Christian are of zero value to anyone. On the other hand, may I surprise you a bit by pointing out that even the positive recommendation of Christ by someone who has a credible Christian profession is still at best inadequate? You should not make a decision about a Porsche based upon a recommendation found in Car and Driver magazine. A recommendation by a guy you know that has driven a Porsche is obviously a start. An article written by someone with a certain amount of expertise certainly might be a logical next step in your considerations. However, the key to arriving at the truth about just about anything, from a car to the Savior, is objective truth. To this point, from the Volkswagen driver’s opinion to the Porsche driver’s opinion, and including the opinion of the writer in Car and Driver magazine, we have been discussing subjective information, men’s opinions. At some point you have to move beyond opinions, what are called subjective considerations, to hard and cold facts, objective considerations. How much does the car cost? What does insurance coverage cost for this vehicle? How quickly can it accelerate from a stop to 60 miles per hour? What is the car’s top speed? What is the car’s gas mileage in city driving and also at freeway speeds? How quickly can it stop? How much luggage space is there in the trunk? How many passengers can it comfortably seat? What about head room and leg room?

Are you with me to this point? For most people, the real factor of significance in a car purchase should be price. However, for most people, I would guess that all objective criteria aside, the decision to purchase the car is most usually influenced by two things: What do your friends think of the car? And how does the car look? So you see, despite our claims of being logical thinkers, are not most people’s decisions based upon feelings, upon subjective criteria, upon what you think about something? Isaiah 1.18 records God’s call for us to deal with Him on the basis of rational thought, making use of logic:

 

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

 

The fact of the matter, however, is that very few people are willing to deal with spiritual matters in a rational and reasonable manner. If most people were willing to employ reason they would by now have already come to Christ. Reason tells us that since everyone who has ever lived has died we, too, will die. Reason tells us that nothing comes from nothing; therefore someone made everything we see. We call Him God. Reason also causes us to conclude from our observations of what He has created that He is immense, that He is omnipotent, that He is eternal, and that He is wise. As well, reason accepts that one intelligent being would seek to communicate with another intelligent being, so it is reasonable that God would communicate with us. That communiqué is known as the Bible. We communicate with Him by means of prayer.

Since reason tells us that we, just like everyone else, will someday die, we are not surprised that reason leads us to conclude that death does not end our existence, but drastically alters it. Reason also dictates that we prepare for existence after death, which explains the tendency of all mankind toward religion, even the religion of atheism / secular humanism. Man thinks it reasonable to prepare for existence after death, but since most men do not know how to prepare for existence after death they conjure up religious practices and do the best they can to get ready for forever, with some even preparing for forever by denying there is a forever. So you see, mankind exhibits a strange mixture of logic and irrationality, of reason and unreasonableness. God directs us to deal with Him reasonably, but most men decline. However, upon going their own way the rebellious then paradoxically seek to act in a somewhat reasonable fashion, not realizing that once you turn from God no amount of reason can help you. God then sent His Son. Most of you know a great deal about God’s Son, Jesus Christ. You know that He is the Second Person of the triune Godhead. You know He left heaven’s glory to be born of a virgin named Mary in the little town of Bethlehem. You know He was placed in a manger, lived a sinless life, worked miracles, and was then crucified for our sins on a cross atop Mount Calvary. You also know that He rose from the dead, appeared to hundreds of witnesses at a time for several weeks, and then ascended to heaven where He now sits at the Father’s right hand.[2]

Those are all objective facts, absolute truths that are well established in history and are also well beyond the dispute of informed people.[3] Being out there historically, and attested to by an inerrant Bible, these are not the feelings of the faithful or myths embraced by the ignorant. This is what the Christian philosopher Frances Schaeffer would term true truth.[4] However, since the tragic reality is that people are not typically reasonable about matters of great importance, a sinner can be well informed about the doing and dying of Jesus Christ, about the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and about the future return and judgment that will be visited upon those who are unresponsive to the demands of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and still remain lost and undone despite how unreasonable such a response happens to be.

My friends, it simply makes no sense to remain lost in the face of the facts surrounding Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ. So, how is one to explain the willingness of a sinner to fly in the face of reality, to ignore the most well-established and reasonable facts? The explanation is sin, affecting one’s judgment, because of the wickedness of the heart, Jeremiah 17.9:

 

 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

 

The sinner’s heart is so affected by sin that it is frequently not logical, typically being inclined to that which is irrational in the spiritual realm. How else do you explain one’s refusal to embrace Christ on the basis of the facts? Therefore, this morning I will attempt another approach. I will challenge those of you who think there is something wrong with the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, you must think there is something wrong with Him, or you would come to Him.

At present, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is enthroned at His Father’s right hand on high, waiting while His Father subdues all His Son’s enemies by figuratively making them His footstool.[5] When that is accomplished He will rise from His throne and return to this wicked old world in power and great glory, Revelation 19.11. Thus, it is safe to say that our glorified Lord is majestic and glorious beyond our ability to comprehend at present. However, there was a time when His glory was not on display, when His appearance did not manifest His majesty. That time was when He walked among us as a man, when He humbled Himself. If ever there was a time when someone might conceive of something being wrong with Jesus Christ it would have been during that time. Therefore, I suggest we consider Him during His earthly ministry, during His condescension, and subject Him to serious scrutiny, so we can find out why you think there is something wrong with Jesus Christ. We want to discover why you refuse to consider embracing Him as your savior.

Since there is nothing theologically or doctrinally wrong with Jesus Christ, and there was nothing theologically or doctrinally wrong with Him during His earthly ministry, I would like to explore other considerations to find out what you might hold against Him. I have come up with seven possibilities:

 

First, THERE WAS NOTHING LEGALLY WRONG WITH HIM

 

During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus was subject to two jurisdictions of law, the Law of Moses and the laws of Imperial Rome. What can be said about His legal standing and compliance, especially leading up to His crucifixion?

First, with respect to the Law of Moses. To be sure, scribes and Pharisees were enraged by things He did that seemed to them to be violations of the Law, such as healing and raising the dead on the Sabbath. However, those miracles were not violations of Law, but violations of the traditions of men.[6] In fact, concerning the Law of Moses, our Lord said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”[7] Read through the gospel accounts and three things become very clear. First, Jesus Christ knew the Law of Moses far better than any of His adversaries.[8] Second, it was His adversaries who violated the Law of Moses, while He fulfilled the Law of Moses.[9] Third, His crucifixion was both a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and also in violation of the Law of Moses, since He had committed no sins at any time. Indeed, for Jesus Christ to be the proper sacrifice for sins as the Lamb of God, He had to be sinless. In fact, He was sinless, Hebrews 4.15 and 9.28.

What about Roman law? Was the Lord Jesus guiltless under Roman law? You may remember that His enemies tried to entrap Him into violating Roman laws when it came to the matter of taxation. However, He said,

 

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”[10]

 

It was not the Romans who had issue with Him. He was so clear of any violation of Roman law that the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, both privately and publicly stated concerning Him, “I find no fault in this man.”[11] In fact, Jesus Christ was crucified for political expediency and not because He had broken a single Roman law.

 

Second, THERE WAS NOTHING MORALLY WRONG WITH HIM

 

It is entirely possible for someone to be in the wrong without actually violating any law. Therefore, while Jesus Christ violated no aspect of the Law of Moses or Imperial Rome’s laws, it is well that we consider the possibility of some moral lapse on His part.

The closest that His enemies came to accusing Him of any moral defect was in relation to His mother, Mary, who was obviously unmarried at the time of His conception. His enemies certainly researched His background and childhood. They knew when He was born and when His mother and Joseph married. They no doubt talked to all the gossip mongers in Nazareth. This is why, in John 8.41, they said, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” They were attempting to indict Him for what they claimed was the moral lapse of His mother, insinuating that she had committed sexual sin prior to her marriage to Joseph. However, the Lord Jesus challenged their accusation, saying, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” verse 46.

Thus, just as Jesus Christ was legally guiltless, so was He also morally spotless. Even if Mary had done something wrong, no child is guilty of any of his parents’ offenses. Legally and morally there is nothing wrong with Jesus Christ.

 

Third, THERE WAS NOTHING ETHICALLY WRONG WITH HIM

 

Is there a record anywhere of Him lying to anyone? It is a problem with many preachers these days to shade the truth, to equivocate, to insinuate, and to employ subtlety. I remember the case of a pastor leading a man attending his church to believe that if he replaced a bus engine he would be handsomely paid. However, the pastor never actually promised the man, though he allowed the man’s expectation to persist so he could get a new engine for the church bus. My friend, that kind of thing is unethical, as the rage of the mechanic for being made a fool of suggested.

Pastors engage in that kind of nonsense far too frequently, leaving the gospel ministry open to accusations of unethical conduct. I have never knowingly done that. That is one reason why I am very careful not to traffic in favors from people who sometimes think they get a better standing before God by doing the preacher favors. While I appreciate kindness and blessings, I do not curry favor in that way precisely so that the appearance of bad ethical practices is minimized.

More important than any preacher, of course, is the Savior. Is there any indication in scripture that He was guilty of ethical violations? Did He ever do anything in a sneaky or sly fashion? Did He ever mislead people or insinuate so as to cause people to draw false conclusions? Not at all. As a matter of fact, whenever crowds of people began to draw erroneous conclusions about Him as the Messiah, He corrected them.

Of course, the essence of ethical violations is twisting and distorting the truth. Ethical violations are part of a pattern of deception whereby the truth is not strictly adhered to or highly prized. However, Jesus Christ not only told the truth at all times, He is full of grace and truth (John 1.14) and He is the truth (John 14.6). Thus, He was guilty of no ethical violations, and anyone who thinks He was unethical is mistaken.

 

Fourth, THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS PERSONALITY

 

Every one of us has known someone that we just did not like. Not that there was anything much that you could put your finger on, you just did not like him. It may be that you did not trust him. It may be that you were a bit suspicious of him. It may be that there was just something about him that did not sit right with you. Could that be said about the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry? To be sure, Isaiah 53.3 predicted that He would be despised and rejected of men. However, did sinners despise Him and reject Him because of His personality? Was He a mean man? Was He an unkind man? Was He a harsh man? Was He a judgmental man? Did folks feel like He was always scrutinizing them? Did His men live in fear of His temper or of His scathing rebukes?

Consider those men who became His inner circle of disciples and were chosen to be His apostles. They were fairly successful men in their own right, with Matthew being a tax collector and a number of the others having a fishing business. The point I seek to make is that those men had options. They did not have to hang around Jesus Christ if they did not want to, but they wanted to. I would suggest to you that Jesus Christ did not have an off putting personality, with those men being evidence of what I say. Indeed, His personality was such that Pharisees would invite Him to their home on the Sabbath after attending the synagogue.[12] Zacchaeus invited Him to his home when He was passing through Jericho.[13] Then, of course, there were those occasions when He stayed with Simon the leper and with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany.[14] Evidently, He was a nice man to be around and well liked.

 

Fifth, THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS DEPENDABILITY

 

Can you think of anyone the Lord Jesus Christ ever let down or disappointed? Mary and Martha come immediately come to my mind as two women who were very devoted to Him. You will remember how profoundly disappointed they were when their brother Lazarus fell seriously ill and the Lord Jesus did not immediately come when summoned. Then Lazarus died and was buried, but still no Lord Jesus Christ. Did that show Him to be less than dependable?

Dependability is important to me. It bothers me when someone says he will be somewhere at 4:00 only to show up at 4:15, or not to show up at all. I get quite upset when someone says he is going to do something and then does not do it. Perhaps the thing you think is wrong with our Lord is that He is not dependable. It would certainly bother me if He was not dependable. I am sure Mary and Martha began to doubt His dependability when Lazarus died, and more so when their brother died and was buried.

They clearly expressed their disappointment to Him when He finally arrived.[15] However, He made up for their concerns by raising their brother from the dead, and that in front of a large audience of unbelievers. Like Mary and Martha, we oftentimes arrive at hasty conclusions about the Lord Jesus Christ not being dependable, when the problem lies with us arriving at hasty conclusions before all the facts are in that show the Savior to be the most dependable man who ever lived.

 

Sixth, THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS FRIENDLINESS

 

Friendliness seriously overlaps personality, does it not? However, I have chosen to make a distinction between the Lord’s personality and His friendliness so I can distinguish between His likeability to adults and His likeability to children. Why so? Because children and adults evaluate by different criteria. There are adults that adults like but children do not like and there are adults that children like that adults do not like. Jesus Christ was an adult who was well liked by both adults and children.

This is easily established by the rebuke directed to His disciples who hindered children’s access to Him, in Mark 10.13-16. It is in Mark 10.14 that our Lord said,

 

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.”

 

I think it reflects poorly on the gospel when pastors and other adults in the congregation are impatient, intolerant, and otherwise distant from young children. Kids know who does not like them, and there is something wrong with any adult who does not like kids. The Lord Jesus Christ did not have that problem.

 

Finally, THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS MOTIVES

 

Why did Jesus Christ do what He did? Why did He leave heaven’s glory and come to this wicked place? Why did He suffer the indignities associated with life amongst the sinful? Why did He allow men to take Him captive, to torture Him, and then to crucify Him? We know this all happened because of God’s love for the world, John 3.16, but what expressions of Christ’s motives are we given? In Matthew 9.36 we are told that He was moved with compassion because the multitudes “fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Everyone is familiar with His reaction to His friend Lazarus’ death. John 11.35 tells us “Jesus wept.” Why did He weep? “Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”[16]

However, keep in mind that Jesus Christ did not love and have compassion only for His intimates and followers. Remember the rich young ruler who ran up to Him, knelt before Him, and asked Him what he could do to inherit eternal life? Though he showed that he loved his money more than he loved his own soul, and left Christ as lost as he had approached the Savior, we read these words concerning our Lord’s motivation as He looked at the young man kneeling before Him: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him,” Mark 10.21.

Finally, who can ignore one of His final remarks while hanging on the cross of Calvary?

 

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”[17]

 

What is wrong with Jesus Christ that you still refuse Him, that you still reject Him, that you still will not come to Him that you might have life? Is He not flawless with respect to His power, His prestige, His knowledge, His wisdom, His grace, His mercy, and all the other attributes related to the greatness of His glory? Furthermore, did He not shed His blood for the remission of sins? No one can have an issue with Him on those counts. However, it is possible some sinners would have an issue with Him regarding His humanity, which is why I have set before you seven considerations related to His humanity and His earthly ministry.

We have seen that there is nothing wrong with Jesus Christ legally, either with respect to the Law of Moses or Imperial Roman law. The scribes and Pharisees would have proven Him guilty of violating the Law of Moses if they could have, and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate pronounced Him faultless with respect to Roman law.

What about moral or ethical shortcomings? Did Jesus Christ ever do anyone wrong, ever leave anyone short, ever mislead or misguide anyone? Was He devious or was He honest? Was He secretive or was He open in His dealings?[18] Did He conceal or did He reveal? What could be wrong with Him morally or ethically? Yet some of you, by your actions and friends, obviously prefer the company of a known cheat and liar, a swindler or a thief, to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, some of you are liars and thieves if truth be told. Is that it? Do you hold His moral and ethical purity against Him?

How about His personality, His dependability, and His friendliness? Do you hold it against Him that He is kind, gracious, merciful, tender, compassionate, forgiving, dependable, and also loves both the unlovely and children? Would you rather a savior who was harsh and ferocious toward you, unfeeling and without compassion?

His motives are clearly open for all to see. He did not have to leave heaven and come to this earth. Had His motives not been loving and gracious He could more easily have stayed where He was. That He came, and that He was crucified, shows His motives aplenty. What we see during the course of His earthly ministry is icing on the cake.

I make no claim that men are all that logical or reasonable. However, just as the goodness of God leads to repentance, perhaps these traits that we have considered will cause you to want Jesus Christ to be your savior. After all, there is nothing wrong with Him, and there is everything right with Him. Therefore, why not trust Him as your savior now?



[1] See Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

[2] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

[3] Gary Robert Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus: A Rational Inquiry, A Dissertation Submitted to Michigan State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Arts and Letters, 1976, Gary R. Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984), Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003), Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case For The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2004), N. T. Wright, The Resurrection Of The Son Of God, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003).

[4] Francis August Schaeffer (1/30/1912-5/15/1984) was an American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is most famous for his writings and his establishment of the L'Abri community in Switzerland.

[5] Psalm 110.1; Matthew 22.44; Mark 12.36; Luke 20.43; Acts 2.35; Hebrews 1.13; 10.13

[6] Matthew 12.1-21

[7] Matthew 5.17

[8] Matthew 22.29; Mark 12.24, 27

[9] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah: New Updated Version, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993), pages 851-857 and Alfred Edersheim, The Temple - Its Ministry and Services: Updated Edition, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994), page 201.

[10] Mark 12.17

[11] Luke 23.4, 14; John 18.38; 19.4, 6

[12] Luke 7.36

[13] Luke 19.6

[14] Matthew 21.17; 26.6; Mark 11.11-12; 14.3

[15] John 11.21, 32

[16] John 11.36

[17] Luke 23.34

[18] John 18.20


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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org