Month 10:25, Week 4:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year 5935:283 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 18 January 2012
The Testimony of Sceptics and Admirers
Every now and then I invite our readers to submit topics of interest or questions they would like answers and try to give some inspirational insights. Yesterday a reader asked me to speak about the humanity of Messiah and how He demonstrated it with people He met. Since this question could potential occupy the space of a whole book, and I am limited in time, I thought the best people who could answer this question would be humanists - those who don't believe Yah'shua (Jesus) was Elohim (God) but who were impressed by Him as a human being. I may include one or two others who were convinced too. Of necessity I must keep this general but hopefully this will go some way in answering today's question.
What is truly amazing, in my view, is that many of the greatest tributes to the personality of Yah'shua (Jesus) have come from some of His most outspoken critics. Take the German humanist philosopher Goethe, for instance, who wrote:
David Friedrich Strauss, liberal German theologian from Tübingen who considered most of the Bible to be myth, and who was strongly influenced by the atheist Hegel, for all his scepticism, concluded that:
"I esteem the Gospels to be thoroughly genuine, for there shines forth from them the reflected splendour of a sublimity, proceeding from the person of Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah), and of as Divine a kind as was ever manifested upon earth" .
French linguist, theologian and philosopher Ernest Renan, who came to doubt the truths of Christianity and denied that Yah'shua (Jesus) was Elohim (God), had this to say:
"With reference to all that bears upon the love of God (Elohim) and of our neighbour, upon purity of heart and upon the individual life, nothing can be added to the moral intuition which Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah) has left us" .
Swiss Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose humanist writings influenced the French revolution, testified:
"Jesus (Yah'shua) is in every respect unique, and nothing can be compared with him. Be the unlooked for phenomena of the future what they may, Jesus (Yah'shua) will not be surpassed" .
Irish historian, rationalist and philosopher William Lecky wrote:
"Can the Person whose history the Gospels relate be himself a man? What sweetness, what purity in his manners! What affecting goodness in his instructions! What sublimity in his maxims!...Yes, if the life and death of Socrates are those of a philosopher, the life and death of Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah) are those of a God" .
In his Bampton lectures of 1866, Henry Liddon records that Napoléon, conversing with Count Montholon whilst a prisoner on the rock of St.Helena about the great figures of the ancient world and his own place among them, said:
"I have reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassionaed love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue but the strongest incentive to its practice; and has exercised so deep an influence that it may truly be said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers, and all the exhortations or moralists" .
I could quote more but I think this will suffice for today. In short, in His humanity, Yah'shua (Jesus) was unsurpassed as far as moral character is concerned. On this basis alone I could, and do, recommend Him. However, as Napoléon rightly discerned, this perfect man, who never sinned, was also more than man. He was, and is, Divine. I met Him personally in 1977, and accepted Him as my Master and Deliverer, and I have never been the same since. He is my Elohim (God), I live to serve Him, and I pray that you will accept Him as yours too.
"Alexander [the Great], [Julius] Caesar, Charlemagne, and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus (Yah'shua) alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for Him... I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him; Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah) was more than man...I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me...but to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, of my words, of my voice...Christ (Messiah) alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man to the Unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah) makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy...He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ (Messiah)...This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man's creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neigher exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to be quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah)" .
 J.W. von Goethe, Conversations with Eckerman iii, p.371
 D.F.Strauß, Life of Jesus (People's Edition), p.625ff.
 J.E.Renan, Étude d'historie religieuse, p.175
 J-J. Rousseau, Émile IV, ii, p.110
 W.E.H.Lecky, History of European Morals, Vol.11, p.88
 H.P.Liddon, The Divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Rivington, London: 1889), p.150
 Sir Norman Anderson, Jesus Christ: The Witness of History (Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England: 1985