What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Part 1: The Uniqueness of Jesus in Contrast to Moses

This first part of comparing Jesus with the great religious leaders, actually comes on the heels of a conversation that I had today with a fellow who thinks that Jesus was nothing more than a great teacher or a great mystic. What I want to do is open this first comparison and contrasting series with a contrasting with one who is close to the Judeo Christian faith.  That personality is Moses.  

Who was Moses?

We really need to understand first off is that Moses was not the founder of the Jewish faith.  The Jewish Nation has its beginnings with Abraham (circa 2000 BC), about 600 years before Moses.  Moses was born into a Hebrew family while they were in Egypt and reared by the daughter of Pharaoh to be a prince. After learning of his Hebrew heritage, he killed an Egyptian and then fled Egypt to become a shepherd. It was at this time that God would call him to free His people.

Moses is the author of the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch or Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and a great portion of Deuteronomy). Moses is often called the Lawgiver.  Being a Jew Himself, Jesus had no argument with Moses, the prophet who brought the Jewish Law and was faithful to YWHH in bringing the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage as an independent nation.

Moses and Jesus were prophets of the same God and Jesus even said that He did not come to destroy the Law (Moses' writings) but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17). Jesus implies that Moses' words are God's words (Matthew 19:4-5 with Genesis 2:24). At the same time, we do find that Jesus is superior to Moses in a few ways. 

How Jesus is unique to Moses.

Moses predicted Jesus’ coming:  In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Moses predicted that God would raise up a Jewish Prophet with a special message from God.  Anyone who did not believe this Prophet would be judged by God.  This passage has been traditionally interpreted as referring to Messiah.  Genesis 3:15 is also understood by many to refer to Jesus as the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent.  

Jesus had a superior position:  Moses is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, but Jesus was more than a prophet.  As the Book of Hebrews says, “Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house” (Hebrews 3:5-6, italics added).  While Moses served God, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with the right to rule over all servants.

Jesus’ miracles were superior:  Moses certainly performed great miracles of the same kind that Jesus performed, but Christ’s miracles were greater in degree.  Moses lifted up a bronze serpent to give healing to those who would look, but he never made the blind to see or the deaf to hear.  Also there is nothing in Moses’ ministry to compare with the Resurrection.

Jesus’ claims were superior to Moses:  Simply put, Moses was not God; Jesus is.  Moses never made a claim to be God and did nothing other than fulfill his role as a prophet.  Jesus did claim to be God and provided miraculous evidence to prove it.

As we can see, Moses was a great leader and prophet of Israel. While Moses was a servant of the Lord, he never got to see the promised land, but I do believe that when he died on Mount Nebo, it was God who buried him and took care of his body. Jesus shows prophesy by Moses fulfilled. Jesus ultimately made the greatest sacrifice by dying on the cross, but rising from the dead three days later.  Therefore, I must conclude that Jesus is by far superior to His servant, Moses.



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