Jesus Personified Perfection

by Robert G. Witty

#/Editor's note: In his book, The Bible: Fact or Fiction? Dr. Witty proposes a series of tests by which a doubter who is willing to set aside his biases, and judge the Bible as he would judge other books, can be convinced it is the Word of God. In this installment the author establishes Jesus' unique perfection./# No other character in human history or imaginative literature compares with the Jesus set forth in the New Testament. He differs from them in birth, life, works, death, resurrection, and ascension. While His humanity is visible, His unique perfection is inescapable. That the New Testament person named Jesus demonstrated perfection is the verdict of history. Jesus stands as the central personality in the Christian faith. Though Roman Catholics may venerate Mary and crown Peter with sainthood, they worship only Jesus. Though Paul deserves honor as the church's greatest Christian missionary statesman, that apostle crowns Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Persons, doctrines, and institutions in and out of Christendom acknowledge that Jesus stands preeminent in His perfection. Two statements by extremely opposite individuals illuminate the amazing mystery in the facts of Jesus' brief life. Napoleon declared, "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded empires; but upon what do these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love; and to this very day millions would die for Him." In striking contrast, the godly Fenelon noted: "Jesus Christ was born in a stable; He was obliged to fly into Egypt; thirty years of His life were spent in a workshop; He suffered hunger, thirst, and weariness; He was poor, despised, and miserable; He taught the doctrines of heaven, and no one would listen. The great and the wise persecuted and took Him, subjected Him to frightful torments, and put Him to death between two malefactors….Such was the life which our Lord chose…." An unknown author has given this summary of Jesus' place history: "Christ was placed midmost in the world's history; and in that central position He towers like some vast mountain to heaven-the farther slope stretching backward toward the creation, the hither slope toward the consummation of all things. The ages before look to Him with prophetic gaze; the ages since behold Him by historic faith; by both He is seen in common as the brightness of the Father's glory, and the unspeakable gift of God to the race." The fact that the New Testament writers portrayed Jesus as perfection is indisputable. And Jesus' perfection is so unique that time has produced no competitor. Horace Bushnell put it this way: "When has the world seen a phenomenon like this?-a lonely uninstructed youth, coming from amid the moral darkness of Galilee, even more distinct from His age, and from everything around Him, than a Plato would be rising up in some wild tribe in Oregon, assuming thus a position at the head of the world and maintaining it, for eighteen centuries, by the pure self-evidence of His life and doctrine." In two thousand years of literary production, no author or group of authors has been able to produce a worthy comparison to Jesus' unique perfection as portrayed in the four Gospels. A study of literature refutes a skeptic's supposition that an unknown group of editors took the simple story of a very human Jesus and created this matchless portrait. Two reasons make the supposition unacceptable: first, history has no knowledge of any single writer or group of writers capable of creating this perfection; and second, reason declares such editing to be psychologically impossible. Such supposed editors and writers could not have both the spiritual insight to create the perfect God-man and at the same time have the satanic malice to create the supreme blasphemy against God and the supreme deceit for mankind. Philip Schaff declared, "A character so original, so complete, so uniformly consistent, so perfect, so human, and yet so high above all human greatness, can be neither a fraud nor a fiction. The poet, as has been well said, would in this case be greater than the hero. It would take more than a Jesus to invent a Jesus." The explanation stands firm that the Gospel writers simply recorded what they had seen and heard as their memory was assisted by the Holy Spirit. The Gospels are true historical records of their actual memories of Jesus. This is what Jesus promised! This is what took place! The facts vindicate the Bible record. Dr. Witty founded the Luther Rice Seminary and served as its president for twenty years. In addition to a radio and Internet ministry, he is presently a semi-retired Bible teacher, church consultant, and writer. The Bible: Fact or Fiction? was published in 2001 by CLC Publications, Fort Washington, PA 19034.