One of our most brilliant Bible scholars in America has published a new book: Did Jesus Exist? (HarperOne, 2012). Bart Erhman debunks the idea of a mythical Christ. Yet rather than write of the Roman Catholic view, conservative-evangelical view, or Mormon view of Jesus or push for a Jesus who is a political revolutionary or a proto-Marxist, or a proto-feminist, or a countercultural hero, or a Jewish holy man, or a Jewish Cynic philosopher, or a married man with children, he maintains like the hopeless heretic of past days, Albert Schweitzer, that “Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who predicted that the end of this evil age is soon to come and that within his generation God would send a cosmic judge of the earth, the Son of Man, to destroy the forces of evil and everyone who has sided with them and to bring in his good kingdom here on earth.” It’s sad how such a prominent New Testament scholar seeks to strip Jesus of His favorite self-designation. Over and over and over again.
Daniel saw the Son of Man, and so did the apostle John. I believe them. Jesus so thorougly possesses this cosmic judge divine title because He is God.
Spending these past six weeks in Revelation 1 has done much for strengthening my faith in the Messianic Prophet-Priest-King. He is like us, because as the Son of Man, He is man. But He is unlike us. If people doubt this, let them compare themselves to the Son of Man in the opening chapter of the Apocalypse. The text produces a flood of rhetorical questions: (1) Do we wear the garments and fulfill the position of the sinless and all-sufficient high priest? (2) Did we exist before the beginning? (3) Are we the source of all creaturely life? (4) Do we have internal light that enables us to see through anything? (5) Can we put all evil under our feet? (6) Does our voice boom like the water falls on the Snake River? (7) Do we have a mouth that can cut right through the inner workings of the human soul and spirit? (7) And can people die just by looking at us?
Last time I checked, I couldn’t say yes to any of these questions.
But because of God’s grace, we are to shine like Jesus (cross reference Rev. 1:16 with Judges 5:31) in the darkness. But no one has told me that I personally have looks that could kill. (Ha, ha. It probably makes you laugh just thinking about it.)
In contrast, Jesus certainly does, for He is uniquely God. And it is this Jesus who stands among the lampstands of the I-15 Corridor, stretching from Idaho Falls, to Salt Lake City, and on down to St. George.