I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.
Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.
…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10
Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God.
Picking on Poor Old Mark
One of the more intense opponents of Christianity is Bart Ehrman, a prolific author and scholar of the Bible. Ehrman works tirelessly to disabuse Christians of the notion that the Bible is a reliable historical record of anything that actually happened in first-century Palestine. In his critique of the four Gospels, Ehrman (along with the majority of modern scholarship) notes that the Gospel of Mark appears to be the earliest of the four. A part of this conclusion is the “underdeveloped” Christology of Mark – in other words, Mark sees a rather plain, human Jesus. Mark’s Jesus, according to Ehrman, is a man, nothing more, and perhaps had some extraordinary signs surrounding his ministry, but by the time the Gospel of John is written decades later, the plain-Jane Jesus of Mark has been morphed into a God.
For Ehrman and his ilk, the true Jesus was more like the one found in Mark than anywhere else. I have even watched as Muslim critics of Christianity have begun to take up Ehrman’s arguments against the historicity of the Gospels on this very basis.
Shabir Ally, a gentleman from Canada, in debating against Dr. James White, used Ehrman’s theory of a developing Christology from Mark through John to try and debunk any true witness to Jesus’ deity in the Gospel accounts. Never mind that if Shabir and the modern Muslim apologists used the same exact critical tools against the Quran, that it would be even more so than the Bible vulnerable to being debunked… but that’s another story.
So, are they right? Does Mark present the more authentic Jesus? I mean, being authentic is the greatest virtue of our age, and being a fake the worst sin, right?
Jesus Sets the Record Straight
Without delving into a major critical response to Ehrman/Ally, I must say that their thesis is empty. Even if we allow that Mark is the earliest account of Jesus’ life and ministry, there is no less the deity of Christ here than in the other two synoptic Gospels.
Let me give you one clear example (among many) of the witness of Jesus’ deity in Mark, and then a clear fulfillment of a key prophetic picture from the Old Testament (because it is Prophesy Friday after all).
A Clear Example of Jesus’ Godhood
A paralytic guy needed to be healed, and he knew Jesus could do it. His friends brought him out to see Jesus, but instead of just *shazam* healing the man, Jesus says “Son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2:5b NKJV).
Now, the folks in the house knew exactly what kind of claim that was, “and some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'” (Mark 2:6-7).
Got it? Every Jew knows that only God forgives sins.
Also, note that the scribes were reasoning in their hearts – not out loud. Watch this.
But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:8-12)
Jesus did not shy away from the claim to be God in flesh. He proved it.
Jesus Claims to be Fulfilling Prophecy
He isn’t done. A few years and 12 chapters later, the high priest is interrogating Jesus, who has been arrested and is facing charges of.. blasphemy. So he snarls at Jesus “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mark 14:61b).
He doesn’t really think it possible that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) – it’s a question meant to lead to execution. The answer, however, is not that of an intimidated man. He isn’t scared of death, or the authority of the high priest.
Jesus said, “I am…”
Step 1: use the designation that belongs to God alone. Exodus 3:14.
“…and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power,”
Step 2: claim to be the divine figure from Psalm 110:1 who has the rightful place of authority at the right hand of God.
“…and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Step 3: claim to be the figure from Daniel 7:13-14 who inherits the universe as His own creation and right. Claim to be the Son of Man who was prophesied over 500 years before – the One who stands above the creation as its Master. Jesus was not afraid to die for the truth.
-Cue the wrath of the little inquisitor-
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands (Mark 14:63-65).
Now that is a Man who knows His identity. He is not trembling before the opinions of His enemies. He has no hesitation to claim the divine rights He has always owned, from all eternity. He has no problem claiming that the Bible is all about Himself. Do you know Him?
Thanks for reading,