Jesus is the most influential human being who has ever existed; his birth-date divides the timeline of the modern world. (His impact on culture, religions, empires, art, music, literature, architecture, human relations, charity medicine, education, holidays, etc. is unparalleled. No one even comes close.)1
James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe: “Despite its humble origins, the Church has made more changes on earth for the good than any other movement of force in history. To get an overview of some of the positive contributions Christianity has made through the centuries, here are a few highlights:
• Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
• Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world's greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes.
• Literacy and education of the masses.
• Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
• The separation of political powers.
• Civil liberties.
• The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in modern times.
• Modern science.
• The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
• Benevolence and charity; the Good Samaritan ethic.
• Higher standards of justice.
• The elevation of the common man.
• The high regard for human life.
• The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
• The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world's languages.
• The greater development of art and music. • The inspiration for the greatest works of art.” [What if Jesus Had Never Been Born (Thomas Nelson, 1994), 3-4.]
The described life of Jesus brilliantly fulfills very specific Old Testament prophecies that no human is likely to accidentally fulfill.
The described life of Jesus brilliantly parallels very specific, central, and formative events in Jewish history, in a way that that no human is likely to accidentally fit.
Jesus is a moral exemplar and moral light for humanity.1
Jesus was God incarnate (he certainly claimed to be divine)1 This is relevant because if Jesus accurately claimed to be God incarnate, then naturally Jesus will stand out in a way relevant to divine favor.
So what? Couldn't it simply be that…
• …He was lying for selfish reasons.2
• …He was lying for non-selfish reasons.3
• …He wasn't lying, and he wasn't insane.4
• …He wasn't lying, but he was insane.5
• Daniel 7:13-14 -- In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.Now compare this to some of Jesus's best attested sayings:
• John 5:26-27 -- For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
• Mark 13:24-27 -- At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30) So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
• Luke 21:27 -- At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
• Matthew 26:63-66 -- The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ ‘He is worthy of death,’ they answered.
• John 3:13 -- No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.In conclusion,
• John 6:62 -- What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! >
Craig Blomberg: “Jesus may even be indicting His interrogators by this way of phrasing things, But He does not stop here. He goes on to add, "and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven: (Mark 14: 62b). This reply combines the allusions to Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1. In this context, 'Son of man' means far more than a simple human being. Jesus is describing Himself as the 'one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of Heaven' who 'approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His Presence' and given authority and power over all humanity, leading to universal worship and everlasting dominion (Daniel 7:13,14). This claim to be far more than a mere mortal is probably what elicited the verdict of blasphemy from the Jewish high court.” [Jesus and the Gospels 2nd ed. (B&H, 2009), 397.]
F.F. Bruce: “It is implied, if not expressly stated, that in Daniels vision this Being was enthroned… [Jesus] linked these two scriptures when the high priest of Israel challenged Him to declare His Identity". [The Real Jesus; Who is He? In The Jesus Library. Ed. by Green (Hodder & Stroughton, 1985), 64-65.]
Robert Stein: “On the lips of anyone else the claims of Jesus would appear to be evidence of gross egomania, for Jesus clearly implies that the entire world revolves around himself and the fate of all men is dependent on their acceptance or rejection of him.” [The Method and Message of Jesus' Teachings (Westinminster, 1978), 118.]
Jesus's life turns the formative events in Jewish history (i.e. the formation of Israel) into brilliant foreshadowing. (It looks like he completes an masterful story).