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THE GOSPELS

 

WHAT IF GOD…

 

…had decided not to send his son as a propitiation for human sins?

…had not prophesied the coming of Christ?

…had not made Christ to be born of a virgin?

…had not given us four gospels?

…had allowed Jesus to be married?

…had not given Jesus great miraculous powers?

…had allowed Christ to reveal the exact time of his return?

…had not resurrected Christ?

 

 


 

             WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT TO SEND HIS SON AS A PROPITIATION FOR HUMAN SINS?

 

            We do not know when it became obvious to God and Christ that humanity would have required a Savior. No doubt the Father and the Son discussed and considered different options. The option that was finally chosen would have entailed great anguish for both the Son and the Father -- and both knew it.

            But what if the Father had decided not to let it happen? What if He had concluded that sending Christ was too much of a price to pay for puny humans? What if, after weighing the options, the Father had said, “It’s a no!”? What would have been the ramification of that decision?

             The thought that God the Father might have not allowed Christ to come and die for us humans is highly perturbing. If Christ had not died for us, we humans would have remained under the penalty of death, with no recourse. The end of all human life would have been a terrible eternal punishment. Life would have been nothing but a hopeless ride for all humans. Satan would have remained victorious.

             Fortunately, God the Father decided to prevent this horrendous fate for humans and made the fateful decision: His Son would have divested Himself of power and glory; He would have grown among men free from sin; He would have taken upon Himself the death penalty on humans’ behalf. The decision was probably the most difficult ever made. Yet, our great Father chose to go along with it and, thus, He put into action a plan of salvation that we all are beneficiaries to.

            It is also important to note that, had God not gone along with the decision, the intensity of His love would not have been fully demonstrated before God’s angels. Deciding to offer Christ, must have been a great confirmation to all the angelic hosts that God was, indeed, ultimate love.

            Truly, a God who would give His firstborn for a temporary, mortal creation is a God of incomprehensible love.  A Son who is willing to divest Himself of His glory, and offer himself for physical, perishable humans is a Being who overflows with love. The well-known verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” takes on new meaning, when one considers that God and Christ did not have to go ahead with their plan. They could have spared themselves the anguish and could have moved on without us.

But “God so loved the world” that He would not pass the opportunity to shower humanity with His great love and goodness. Undeniably, we humans are very special to both our magnificent Father and our wonderful Brother Jesus Christ.

 

WHAT IF GOD…

 

…had simply forgiven all of humanity without any sacrifice?

 

…had sent an angel to die for humanity instead of Christ?

 

…had made Christ appear in Israel as an adult without a human birth?

 

 

 

 

WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT PROPHECIED THE COMING OF CHRIST?

 

Jesus Christ is accepted as Lord and Savior by hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide. Most accept Him as Lord because they were born in Christian homes and were taught to do so. Many have delved into the reasons why He is believed to be the Savior, and, by so doing, they have greatly strengthened their faith.

Preachers and the New Testament writers teach us that one of the greatest proofs that Jesus Christ was the Savior are the prophecies of the Old Testament. In fact, the Old Testament abounds in prophecies that describe in advance the many aspects of Christ’s ministry on earth, including His death and resurrection.

But what if God had not inspired all the prophecies relating to Christ? What if He had just come and had simply allowed only His miracles to testify of His divinity and messiahship?

If Christ had come and declared himself to be the Messiah and had accompanied His claim with great miracles, no doubt many would have been impressed and would have followed him, as they had followed others before him (Acts 5:36-37). The foundation, though, would not have been very solid, as He, over time, might have been accused of being just another impostor who happened to deceive the masses through witchcraft.

 Although His resurrection would have astounded them, accusations of deceit and magical manipulations would have finally undone all His labors and teachings. In fact the most cherished Jewish explanation of Christ’s identity revolves around him being a sorcerer and his disciples being cunning deceivers who stole Christ’s body from the tomb and then concocted the idea that he had been resurrected.

Jesus Christ had to be confirmed as both Messiah and Son of God by something much more reliable than just miracles. He had to be confirmed by God’s Word. Christ affirmed this powerful reality in the book of John: “And the Father Himself who has sent me, has testified of Me…You search the scriptures…and these are they which testify of me” (John 5:37-39). Yes, the Scriptures spoke of Christ centuries in advance in great detail, and they were to be the greatest foundational proof that Christ was indeed the Messiah.

The Old Testament teaches us that Christ was to come and totally submit to God’s will (Psalm 40:7). He was to be born of a virgin (Psalms Isaiah 7:14), from the seed of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He was to be announced by a great prophet (Isaiah 40:3), and was to be persecuted by a mad man bent on destroying Him, even if it meant killing all other children of His age (Jeremiah 31:15); He was to have a gentle temperament (Isaiah 42:1-4); He was to go to His death in Jerusalem riding a donkey (Zech. 9:9); He was to be rejected of His own people (Ps. 118:22), and by His own disciples (Zech. 13:7); He was to be sold for thirty pieces of silver which were to be used to buy a potter’s field (Zech. 11:12); Soldiers were to cast lots over His clothing (Ps. 22:18); He was to go through a most gruesome treatment and abuse and, finally, was be killed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:1-8); Furthermore, He was to have His hands and feet pierced and his skin and flesh would have been torn off his bones (Psalm 22:16-17, Zech. 12:10, 13:6); He was to be placed in the tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9) and was to be finally resurrected (Ps. 16:10).

The abundance of specifics and their total fulfillment, together with Christ’s great miracles, were a necessary and complete package that undeniably proved Christ’s true identity. Had God not included the prophecies in the package, a powerful ingredient would have been left out, and the preaching of Christ as Messiah would have been more challenging to make credible.

God knew that Christ’s true identity was to be fully supported with undeniable evidence, and He did provide it in a most compelling way, not only through great miracles, but also through the fulfillment of many astounding Old Testament prophecies that point to Christ and His redeeming work for mankind.   

 

 

WHAT IF GOD…

 

…had not made the star appear to guide the shepherds to Christ?

 

…had not guided the Magis to Christ?

 

…had decreed that Christ be born in a comfortable home?

 

 

 

 

                      WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT DECREED THAT CHRIST BE BORN OF A VIRGIN?

 

Mary was a typical, yet very special young lady. Little did she know that she would have been chosen to bear the One who would have saved humanity from sin, and who would have ultimately ruled the nations. Amazingly the child would not be conceived by Joseph, that is of human seed, but by God Himself.  The Gospels tell us that Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, but “before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).

What if God had allowed Joseph to conceive Jesus? What if Jesus had been a totally human child who was born to fulfill the role of the Messiah?

Jesus Christ was more than simply a human being. Isaiah tells us His true divine identity by the names ascribed to Him. His name would be “Immanuel” that is, “God with Us” (Isaiah 7:14), and “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He was in existence at creation, and by Him God the Father created the universe (John 1:1-4).

He was not to be just a human sacrifice, which would have been equivalent to only one human life, but a Divine being whose life would have been worth by far greater than all of humanity. The Savior had to pay for all the sins of humanity. He died for all the human beings that ever lived or will ever live. Such a sacrifice would have had to have gigantic worth, and one human life would not have sufficed.

If Jesus, therefore, had been simply the son of Mary and Joseph, He would have been just that: the son of Mary and Joseph, but He could not have been the Savior of mankind. He was conceived by God, and had God’s divine nature in Him; He was a perfect sacrifice; but, most of all, He was a sufficient divine sacrifice for all of humanity.

 


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                                                      © Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2004