CLP Talk 2 Who is Jesus Christ
MODULE 1: THE BASIC TRUTHS OF CHRISTIANITY
OVERVIEW OF THE SESSION
“Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ They said in reply, ‘John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said to him in reply, ‘You are the Messiah.’ Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.” Mark 8:27-30 (NABRE)
To provide a better understanding of Jesus Christ and draw participants into a friendship with Him
“Who do people say that I am?” This was the question that Jesus posed to Peter. It is the same question that Jesus asks us today. Who is He in our lives? Is He our savior, forgiver of our sins, or our friend? He is our Lord, who by the Father’s extravagant love was sent so that we might be reconciled with God and know His love. Jesus is our model of holiness so we might grow in faith, hope and love as His Christian followers.
1. 2 Truths and 1 Lie Activity – The guide is attached at the end of this document.
2. Opening video: “I Am Statements of Christ”
3. Talk proper
5. Reflection (with song)
6. Group discussion
A CFC leader (brother or sister) who can share on his/her personal journey of an ongoing personal, life-giving and loving relationship with Jesus; S/he considers her/himself as a friend of Jesus who can relate facts and stories about Him.
A CFC leader or member (brother or sister) who can share about how her/his life changed for the better when s/he committed her/his life to Jesus as her/his savior and friend
SESSION 2: WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
THE EXPANDED TALK OUTLINE
FOR THE USE OF THE SPEAKER
“Who do people say that I am?” This was the question that Jesus posed to Peter.
Who is this Jesus, whom millions claim to be following, for whom countless men and women have given their lives and been martyred for their faith in Him, who won for us our salvation, who restored us to a relationship with God where we can experience a full and new life?
I. JESUS OF HISTORY AND THE CHRIST OF FAITH
Jesus of History
a. History is full of men and women who claimed that they came from God.1 Jesus is the only person in history ever pre-announced. The prophecies made in the Old Testament centuries before Jesus was born converge towards the person of Jesus. (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:5, Numbers 24:17) Jesus, an absolutely unique figure in human history. He struck history with such impact that he split it in two: BC and AD. 1 Fulton Sheen, The Life of Christ, p. 218 Kindle Edition
b. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of a virgin named Mary. (Luke 2:1-20) He grew up as a young carpenter in Nazareth. For three years, he became an itinerant preacher. He was never more than 150 kilometers from his home. He had never been to cities with populations larger than 50,000. He did not have a school like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. His foster father, Joseph, was a mere carpenter. His short ministry attracted only a modest number of disciples, mainly uneducated fishermen and their relatives. He showed tenderness, compassion and personal concern; expressed anger and grief as well. Yet He was an impressive person who has an influential personality. He was a magnetic leader and a man of extraordinary authority.
Christ of Faith
c. What did Jesus say and do about himself that, despite his humble and short human life, created such an impact on history?
i. Jesus forgave sins. (Mk. 2:5-7) – He claimed that he could forgive sin, something only God can do. (See Annex 2)
ii. Jesus claimed to possess all power in heaven and on earth. (Mt. 28:18-19) – He proclaimed with great conviction that he had power not just on earth but also in heaven.
iii. Jesus claimed straightforwardly to be God. (John. 8:56-58, John. 10:30, 37-38) – His contemporaries came to the realization that he was God: Simon Peter (Mt. 16:13-16), Martha (Jn. 11:27), Nathanael (John. 1:49), Thomas (John. 20:27-28), the centurion (Mathew. 27:54), even the evil spirits (Mt. 8:29, Mk. 1:24, Mk. 3:11, Luke. 4:41).
II. LIAR, LUNATIC or LORD
- a. Jesus’ claim to be God must be either true or false. If false, then we only have two alternatives. Either he knew it was false, in which case he would be a liar, or he did not know it was false, in which case he would be a lunatic.
- b. Could Jesus have lied? If he lied, then he would have been deliberately deceiving his followers. But we need only look at his person, his words and his work to deduce that he could not have been a liar. Look at his moral purity, dignity, sound intellect and air of truth. Consider his character that is so original, consistent, perfect and high above human greatness. He carried out a plan of unparalleled beneficence, moral magnitude and greatness, and sacrificed his own life for it. Would he die for a lie? The results of his life and teachings were lives changed for the better, thieves made honest and spiteful individuals becoming channels of love.
- c. Could Jesus have been a lunatic? In Jesus we do not see any abnormalities or imbalances that usually go along with being deranged. In fact, his composure and thought process were amazing to have spoken some of the most profound sayings ever recorded. Such a man cannot be a lunatic.
If not a liar or a lunatic, the only alternative left to us is that Jesus did speak the truth. He was, and is, the Son of God as he claimed—He is Lord!
III. KNOWING JESUS AND BECOMING CHRISTIAN
a. Jesus’ entire life is salvific. It is his suffering and death on the cross that makes Him our Savior and Redeemer. It is through the cross that He reveals his true identity, more than
the miracles, healings and teachings when he was in ministry. The cross is the means by which we can truly know Jesus. It is the central point of our knowing and understanding Jesus Christ. Only when we start to fully realize the magnitude of this sacrifice that we can begin to truly know Jesus. And the cross is meaningless without the resurrection, the most conclusive proof that Jesus is Lord and God. Even the doubting Thomas finally believed when he saw the glorified body of the risen Christ. (Jn. 20:26-29)
- b. Jesus Christ, true God and true man, invites us to love, repent, forgive and celebrate, confident that he is involved in our daily struggles. When we truly know Jesus, when we take him as our Lord and God, when we develop a personal relationship with him, then we become truly Christian.
- “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.” – St. John Paul II
c. What does it mean to be a Christian?
i. For some people, Christianity is a mere religious system, a mere moral, social or humanitarian system, or an escape from the realities of life. But the truth is that Christianity is a relationship initiated by God out of his mercy and love for us.
ii. To be a Christian means having a loving personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Since we are followers of Christ we become a new creation by taking on a new nature. We participate in the very life of Christ and consequently become his disciple.
iii. Being Christ’s disciple means living in faith, hope and charity, of which are “infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life”. (CCC 1813)
o A Christian is a person of faith. (Heb. 11:1) Faith means acceptance and commitment. A true Christian is one who freely and boldly expresses his faith to other people so that they may also be brought further into faith.
- o A Christian is a person of hopes. (Romans. 8:24-25) Hope is an attitude of confident expectation. A true Christian is one who lives full of hope, confident that the will of God will happen and his plan will come to completion.
- o A Christian is a person of love. (John. 13:35) Love for one another is what distinguishes the disciples of Jesus. A true Christian is one who loves as Christ loves.
Jesus now raises the same question to you: “Who do you say that I am?”
He is inviting you to be his friend, and to build a close and loving relationship with Him. Will you accept Him as your Lord and Savior? Will you take him as your dear friend and brother?
“The Lord knows those who are His.” (2 Timothy 2:19a) He is waiting for you to embrace Him with all your heart, and for you to be called His, an authentic Christian.
- 1. Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
- 2. Will you take Him as your dear friend and brother?
PRE-TALK DYNAMICS –2 TRUTHS and 1 LIE ABOUT JESUS
FOR THE USE OF THE SPEAKER
REFER TO THE MS POWERPOINT OF SESSION 2
1. Choices: Born in Nazareth, Son of a Carpenter, Born in a manger
Jesus was born in Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth, that’s what people call him, but Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod. His birth was foretold, even the wise men from the East came to Bethlehem to give him homage. (Matthew 2:1-2)
Son of a Carpenter. Jesus was raised by His adoptive father, Joseph, who was a ‘tekton’, a hebrew word for an artisan, a stone mason or a builder, in modern day we refer to as a carpenter. In Jewish Culture, the father trains his child into his profession. Jesus learned this trade during their private life in Egypt. (Matthew 2:14)
Born in a manger. She gave birth to her first born son, She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
They were in Bethlehem to register in a census. Why Bethlehem? Because Joseph was of the house and family of David, and Bethlehem is the City of David. While they were there, it was time for Mary to give birth. (Luke 2:3-6)
2. CHOICES: He forgive sins, He never gets angry, He performs miracles
He never gets angry. Did you ever wondered if Jesus also got angry? Yes He did, but His was a righteous anger. In Matthew 21:12-13, Jesus entered the temple area and saw people turned the temple into a market place. He overturned the table of the money changers and seats of those selling doves. He said to them, “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’, but you are making it a den of thieves”. He was quoting Isaiah 56:7, He did not get angry for no reason.
He forgive sins. One classic example is the Healing of a paralytic at Capernaum. One of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels in Matthew 9:1–8, Mark 2:1–12, and Luke 5:17–26. … When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” “… know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
He performs miracles. The first public miracle of Jesus was during the wedding feast in Cana. They ran out of wine and with the intercession of Mary, Jesus turned water into wine. (John 2:1-11). He performed many signs and miracles, he restored the sight of the blind man(Mark 10:46-52), cleansed the leper(Mark 1:40), Healed the paralytic (Mark 2:1), cure of a demoniac (Mark 1:21), Cure of Simon’s mother in law (Mark 1:29), He calmed the storm at sea(Mark 4:35), these are just some of the miracles that Jesus performed during His public ministry.
3. CHOICES: He died on the cross, He resurrected after 3 days, He will never come again
He will never come again. He (Jesus) will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. That’s what we believe, as professed by the first Apostles of Jesus. Jesus will come back soon. But no one knows the exact time when Jesus is coming again, not even the angels in heaven except the Father. (Mark 13:23)
He died on the cross. All the four Gospels agreed on the account of Jesus’ crucifixion that led to his death on the cross. Jesus cried in a loud voice, “Father into your hand I commend my spirit” and breathe his last. (Matthew 27:50, Mark 16:37, Luke 24:46, John 19:30,
He resurrected after 3 days.. In the Nicene Creed (the summary of our Catholic Faith) we recite, “Jesus was crucified, died and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the scripture”. Again, all four Gospel spoke of Jesus’ resurrection. (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-10)
4. CHOICES: Jesus is the of God, Jesus is Man, Jesus decides on His own
Jesus is Half God and Half Man.
Jesus is 100% God, Fully Divine. In the Nicene Creed, we recite, I believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus is 100% Man, Fully Human. He walked where we walked, He felt what we felt, he was tempted in every way like us, yet He was without sin (Hebrew 4:15)
Jesus is the Son of God
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”
When Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan River, God the Father confirms Jesus as His Son. As Jesus came out of the water, the Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested upon Him then a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. “Matthew 3:17
Jesus is fully man, fully God
Jesus is 100% God, Fully Divine. In the Nicene Creed, we recite, I believe in Jesus Christ ..True God and True Man. Begotten not made, Consubstantial with the Father”. In Luke 1:35 Jesus is called as the Son of God, in Matthew 3:17, a voice came from heaven and said, this is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”
Jesus is 100% Man, Fully Human. He walked where we walked, He felt what we felt, he was tempted in every way like us, yet He was without sin (Hebrew 4:15)
5. CHOICES: Jesus is our Savior, Jesus is Risen, Jesus is just an ordinary prophet
Jesus is just an ordinary prophet. Jesus is no ordinary prophet. Even at a young age of 12, even the scholars of the laws and the High Priests listened to him and were amazed of his wisdom. ‘He grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him’ Luke 2:40
Jesus is our Savior. The infancy narrative of Jesus in Matthew 1:21 narrates that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said the Mary will bear a son trough the Holy Spirit, and he shall name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
Jesus is Risen. We all heard of the resurrection of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
6. CHOICES: He is a lunatic, He raise people from the dead, He performs miracles
He is a lunatic. Jesus is not a lunatic, instead he healed a lunatic in Matthew 17: 14-16
He raise people from the dead. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44), Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (Matthew 9:25), Jesus raised back to life the only son of a widow in Nain (Luke 7:14-16)
He performs miracles. Another great miracle Jesus did is the feeding of the five thousand men, not including women and children. It is also known as the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. (John 6:1-14)
ADDITIONAL REFERENCES FOR STUDY
FOR THE USE OF THE SPEAKER
1. In reference to “Jesus forgave sins”
C.S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity”, gives the most compelling commentary on these verses:
“Jesus’ claim to forgive sins, any sin, is really so preposterous or comic unless he is God himself. One can understand how a man can forgive offenses against himself. You step on my toe and I forgive you. You steal my money and I forgive you. But what do you make of a man, himself unrobed and unhurt, who announces that he forgives you for stepping on somebody else’s toes and stealing somebody else’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we can make of such a man. He forgives sin without consulting the people adversely affected by the offenses. This makes sense only if he really is God whose very laws were violated by the offenses.”
On Christ’s Divinity and Humanity
2. Pope Leo I stated it very clearly, “It is as dangerous an evil to deny the truth of the human nature of Christ as to refuse to believe that his glory is equal to that of the Father.
3. Father Raymond Brown states it very elegantly in his book An Introduction to New Testament Christology that the issue of the full identity of Jesus is ultimately a question of the love of God for human beings. He says: If Jesus is not “true God of true God”, then we do not know God in human terms. Even if Jesus were the most perfect creature far above all others, he could tell us only at second hand about God who really remains almost as distant as the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle. Only if Jesus is truly God do we know what God is like, for in Jesus we see God translated into terms that we can understand. A God who sent a marvelous creature as our Savior could be described a loving, but that love would have cost God nothing in a personal way. Only if Jesus is truly God do we know that God’s love was so real that it reached the point of personal self-giving.
Unless we understand that Jesus was also truly human with no exception but sin, we cannot comprehend the depth of God’s love. If Jesus’ knowledge is limited, as indicated prima facie in the biblical evidence, then one understands that God loved us to the point of self-subjection to our most agonizing infirmities. A Jesus who walked through the world with unlimited knowledge, knowing exactly what the morrow would bring, knowing with certainty that three days after his death his Father would raise him up, would be a Jesus who could arouse our admiration, but a Jesus still far from us. He would be a Jesus far from a humankind that can only hope in the future that must face the supreme uncertainty of death with faith but without knowledge of what is beyond. On the other hand, a Jesus for whom the detailed future had elements of mystery, dread, and hope as it has for us and yet, at the same time, a Jesus who would say, “Not my will but yours” – this would be a Jesus who could effectively teach us how to live, for this Jesus would have gone through life’s trials. Then his saying, “No one can have greater love than this: to lay down his life for those he loves” (Jn 15:13), would be truly persuasive, for we would know that he laid down his life with all the agony with which we lay ours down. We would know that for him the loss of life was, as it is for us, the loss of a great possession, a possession that is outranked only by love.
Jesus Christ is true God and true man. Being God, we can pray to him and ask him to heal us, to bless us, to protect us, to forgive us, and to provide for all our needs. But being also human, we can have a very personal relationship with him. Having walked on earth and suffered, Jesus is acutely conscious of the difficulties, frustrations, uncertainties, and fears that we all experience. Being human, he feels our feelings, he suffers our pains and he understands our loneliness. Being human, he can be passionately involved in our lives.