Author: Ron Graham
When someone expects our trust, we look for credentials. What entitles that person to our trust? What testimony is there that this person should be believed? This applies to our faith in Jesus. He has credentials. He is not without testimony that he is truly whom he claims to be. In this lesson we look at the last three of the seven testimonies that are among the credentials of Jesus.
At the outset of his public life, Jesus underwent a lonely ordeal, in which he was tested by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13). This ordeal pushed body and spirit to the outer limits of endurance. Jesus passed through this trial the victor, and continued to pass the test throughout his life (Hebrews 4:15, 1Peter 2:21-23). . That he graduated from this test ought also to be added to his credentials.
Moreover, Satan himself has here inadvertently and indirectly testified that Jesus is the Son of God. Since he is a liar and a deceiver, himself without credentials, we would not believe any direct claim he made. However the fact that he troubled himself to try to cast doubt on the truth by saying, "If you are the Son of God..." (Matthew 4:6) shows that he knew Jesus to be the Son of God. His demons also revealed that they knew this. The legion, speaking through the man they possessed, cried out, "What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" (Mark 5:2-9, cf Acts 16:16-18, Acts 19:13-16). Satan saw Jesus as his enemy, but he knew who his enemy was, and stupidly let it out that he knew. This intelligence from the enemy's camp is obviously not disinformation. It should therefore be added to the credentials of Jesus.
If a sane man is ready to die for his cause, and is faithful to it in the face of death, then the genuineness of that man, and his total conviction about his cause, can hardly be questioned. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see such a man a man who adds to his credentials that he was prepared to die for the truth he came to tell.(Matthew 26:38-39,53-54, Philippians 2:8).
Of course, it is possible to be genuinely mistaken. But when Jesus died, the sun was darkened, and the earth quaked, and the temple veil was torn in two, and many bodies of the saints arose from the dead. (Matthew 27:45,50-54). There was a Roman centurion who witnessed these things, whose credibility we have no right to doubt. He, and those with him, could come to no other conclusion than to say, "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54).
So in the events at the cross and following his death, it became clear that Jesus had not been mistaken. On the contrary, he presented his finest credential of all when he conquered death and was seen alive "by many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3 1Corinthians 15:3-8). After that, he ascended victorious over death to God's eternal throne. (Acts 1:9-11; 2:34-36).
Finally we have the testimony of several apostles who propogated the facts about Jesus throughout the whole world. They devoted their lives to this task for no personal gain. Peter was convinced (Matthew 16:13-17, John 6:66-69). Thomas was convinced (John 20:24-29). John was convinced (1John 1:1-4). Paul was convinced (Acts 9:17-22). The records and letters that some of the apostles left behind, provide us with the sound basis for their conviction, and are a major support to the credentials of Jesus.