Under All That Paint – Yep That’s Jesus

 

God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  – Acts 5:31

Saul and David by Rembrandt
Rembrandt’s Saul and David

The painting above is titled Saul and David.  It hangs in The Hague Mauritshuis Museum as a work of the Dutch master-artist Rembrandt van Rijn. However the authenticity of the masterpiece has been in question since an expert raised doubt in the 1960’s.

According to a CBS news report Carol Pottasch, a restorer at the museum, understood the doubt. She was quoted, “I guess that was the biggest problem that he faced. He couldn’t see a painting by Rembrandt because there was no painting to see,” she said Tuesday. “And now we’ve taken off all these layers now you can actually see the original paint again and then there’s no doubt.”

Many attempts to restore the time-dulled original beauty caused the confusion and doubt. But painstaking work and investigation revealed the truth of the matter. A Rembrandt did actually exist underneath all that paint.

When I read this story I was happy to see hard work reveal the truth about the painting. I like truth. In my field careful, complete, and objective examination reveals it in a crime scene.

But objectivity is not the popular trend. It hasn’t been for thousands of years. People believe what they want to believe. Even if they have to alter the facts to make that possible they will do it. Then when those people find others with similar desires they become “experts.”

Many paint over the reality of who Jesus Christ is to make Him more appealing to their tastes, politics, affiliations, and even religions. Some of the first were the Gnostics.

For instance, I have read and heard many things about Jesus Christ that attempt to alter his image. Things like:

  • “Jesus died too soon. If he had lived to my age he would have repudiated his doctrine.” — Friedrich Nietzsche     
  • “There couldn’t possibly be just one way . . .” [Lady in the audience: “What about Jesus?”] “What about Jesus? . . . Does God care about your heart or does God care about if you call his son Jesus?” — Oprah Winfrey

As a personal aside, to Oprah Winfrey’s quote: If my beloved son sacrificed himself so someone else could live…I would be real, real upset if they didn’t care who he was or what his name was. 

  • And some college students think?

I have learned from investigating thousands of crime scenes that the truth can be found by only objective investigation. I myself made a thorough investigation of the authenticity of Jesus Christ. Men like Lee StrobelJ. Warner Wallace, and many others have made investigations. The same conclusion is drawn. Coincidentally the same one the people who personally knew Him  drew. His disciples and Apostles penned eyewitness accounts of the truth in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One in whom we can find salvation. Under all that confusing paint, Yep that’s Jesus!

To maintain objectivity (which is vital) in a crime scene investigation any presumptions must be tossed out. So, toss out the factor of who you want Jesus Christ to be. Then make your own investigation. Look at who He actually was by fist reading His words and about His actions in the four Gospels. Look underneath the many layers covering the original masterpiece. You just might find Jesus Christ is not exactly who you thought He was. He is Supremely more!

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So, can we crown Him King now?

RichardIIIAnd He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Luke 7: 22-23

Skeleton found under car park confirmed as Richard III – video | UK news | The Guardian.

In April 2013 I published a post about a skeleton found under a parking lot in England. Shortly after the initial discovery it was assumed the skeletal remains belonged to King Richard III. The link above relays what the investigation revealed.

Documentary and historical proofs proclaimed by the media were:

  1. William Shakespeare described the young king as a hunchback.
  2. Historical records stated Richard died in battle and was buried near a church in Leicester.

The two immediate knowns of physical evidence at the site were:

  1. The skeleton was most likely that of a young man with scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
  2. The skeleton was found in the historical area of Richard’s burial.

These are insufficient to verify identity especially a historic figure of English royalty. Identity is confirmed by a thorough investigation of multiple types of evidence. The greater number successfully examined in combination increase the probability of identification or elimination.

The English forensic experts did make a timely, and thorough investigation.

Some evidences used in conjunction with each other were:

  1. Historical records
  2. DNA analysis and comparison to known relatives
  3. Carbon dating
  4. Forensic analysis of weapon damage to the skull

99.999% Probability

Based on the investigation Dr. Turi King believes, with a conservative probability of 99.999%, the skeleton is that of King Richard III. I applaud the work in this investigation. However as much as I would like to say otherwise, examination of physical, circumstantial, and documentary evidence can only go so far. After all, the certainty of 99.999% leaves .001% uncertainty. Any investigation of evidence proves only to a degree.

I made such an investigation myself regarding Jesus Christ. I found the evidences more than enough (at least to 99.999%) to prove His claims true to myself and give Him Lordship of my life.

The Choice

Dr. King’s faith in the evidence secures her 100% belief that the skeleton is Richard’s. I have no reason to disbelieve her. The choice to believe pushes a scientist, judge, juror, or follower of Christ to 100% certainty. A determined choice to not believe will negate the reality found in any evidence.

God would not have it any other way. He gave us free will to love and follow Him, or not. We believe by choice—by faith—or we do not. The changes in my life (personal, physical, relational) that appeared after I chose to follow Him propelled my certainty far beyond 100%. Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, and the Lord of my life. He is King.

If you have made the choice to believe as I do, I would love to hear the how, why, and when of it. If you haven’t I’d like to hear from you as well.

Experiencing Godliness

Father & Son
Father & Son (Photo credit: jeroenadema)

“He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” Mark 12:27  

I often hear conversations regarding the negatives of having children. The money, time, freedom, and self-denial required to raise them seems too dear for many. Yes, sacrifice comes with parenthood but the losses prove minuscule when compared to the rewards. These fear of sacrifice claims sole responsibility for ending millions of pre-born lives. Much contentious debate has occurred over the last month regarding this matter—due in part to the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

But Jesus proclaimed His Father the God of the living—not the dead. So for now I do not desire more talk about the rights or wrongs of these 55 million plus deaths. Instead lets talk of birth and life, parenthood, and what it is like to experience Godliness. This amazing knowledge (contrasting the cheerless anniversary observed this month) comes from having children.

I certainly do not profess Godhood. And the only claim I have to righteousness came via the blood spilled for me by Jesus Christ. But I have tasted, to the degree humanly possible, what it must feel like to be God.

The first of these experiences came when I saw my wonderful son born. It astounded me how a tiny human being (hidden for nine months) seemed to magically pop into existence. I loved this little extension of myself unconditionally, simply because he came from me. His mother left us later, waving her parental rights, and he became in the truest sense my son alone. In his birth I experienced what God must have felt when he formed Adam in His image and breathed life into him.

The second occurred when I gazed through the nursery window at my firstborn son. An older man noticed my obvious adoring pride. He made eye contact with me and smiled. I simply pointed at my son and the only words I could squeeze passed my swelling heart were: “That’s my son”. I felt what it must be like when God looks upon on those who are His. I experienced what God felt when Jesus rose from the Jordan after being baptized by John.

The third happened when my son, only six weeks old, caught bacterial meningitis. He lay, too still, at death’s door on a little hospital bed. A foam coffee cup covered one tiny foot and the I.V. inserted in it. Dehydration made it too hard for placement elsewhere. There was absolutely nothing I could do for him. I could only hate his hurt and wait for the medicine’s effect. It ripped my heart watching him lie there helpless. Many times I could only look away. I yearned for his safety and prayed the illness was mine instead of his. I experienced what God must have felt as His creation sickened in sin and death. He could not watch His beloved Son suffer through the necessary cure for it. In pain God turned His face away from Christ on the cross.

The fourth occurred when God brought a woman into my and my son’s lives. She took my breath away, accepted my son as her own, and became my wife. I took her to love and cherish and accepted her son and daughter as my own, in all respects my second-born. They have since married and started families of their own. I became a grandfather of a precious little girl through my second son and his wife. Later, I danced with my new daughter at her wedding. Watching her become a beautiful woman that day brought tears to my eyes. I have experienced what God must have felt when he took the nation of Israel as His bride and vowed to watch over her children as His own.

The fifth followed when my firstborn grew into a successful, loving, and god fearing young man. He took a bride for himself and started his own family. I gave the best man speech at their reception. Pride filled my heart and his happiness thrilled me. I loved his new wife as my newest daughter, and saw the seeds of  a wonderful life ahead of them. I experienced what God must have felt when His Son rose from the tomb, took the church as His bride, and ascended in authority.

Children are well worth any “sacrifice” made for them. They are a gift from God that each day continues to unwrap. What I have encountered enhances my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I love Him more because I now understand how He feels and how He loved me first. I could not have encountered these things without my children.  I grieve the millions lost to abortion and the negated chances to grow closer to God through them.

My children and grandchildren will keep providing wondrous samples of what it must feel like being God. Some will bring joy, and some sadness, but I know in each I will continue to experience Godliness.

Note to the reader: It may be grammatically incorrect to capitalize godliness but, in context, I believe it fitting. By using the Omni-adjective—“Godliness”—I do not refer to devoutness, piousness, righteousness, or goodness (I made up “Omni-adjective” too). Each adjective is desirable, but none of us is truly good; so these are ways of action rather than ways of true nature, and each a mere shadow of God’s pure nature. Hence, I use “Godliness” to describe being God not acting as God would or wants us to.