Many scholars such as those from the Jesus Seminar have said explicitly that they want to rescue the Bible from fundamentalism and free Americans from the 'naive' belief that the Jesus of the Bible was the 'real' Jesus. They say that the traditional Jesus did not speak to any of the ecological, nuclear, or feminist crisis. This thinking has caused them to believe and even say that we need a new picture of Jesus, one that is relevant for today. One even said, we need a new fiction.'

They say Jesus must be a naturalistic Jesus. In other words, 'He was an ordinary man like you and me.' They say, ' Maybe he was an extraordinary man, but he was not supernatural. That Jesus and his followers did not see him as God or the Messiah, and didn't view his death as having any special significance. His crucifixion was unfortunate and untimely, but stories of his resurrection was a way of trying to deal with that reality.'

They rule out the possibility of the supernatural from the beginning, that's why they get the results they do. One approach taken by naturalistic scholars has been to look for parrells between Jesus and others from ancient history in demonstrating that his claims and deeds were not completely unique. Their goal is to explain away the view that he is one of a kind. Yet, the parallels break down quickly when we look more closely.

For instance, the supernatural life and radical nature of his miracles of Jesus has no parallels in all of Jewish history. We are talking about healing blindness, deafness, leprosy and scoliosis; storms being stopped, people being raised from the dead and many other miracles. The biggest distinction is that he did the miracles on his on authority. This is far beyond any parallels He does give God the Father credit for what he does, but you never find him asking God the Father to do it. Jesus does these miracles in the power of God the Father and they are unparalleled.
History versus Faith

Many people have said that the Jesus whose story is told in the New Testament is not the historical Jesus. They say that historical research cannot possibly discover the real Jesus of faith because he is not rooted in history; therefore he does not symbolize anything. The Nicene Creed does not say, "We wish these things were true.' It does say that, 'Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and the third day he rose from the dead.'

The theological truth is based on historical truth. In Peter's sermon as recorded in the second chapter of Acts, he stands up, lifts up his voice and reminds the people of Judea and Jerusalem that they were witnesses that all the things that had taken place were not done in secret. He said, "This Jesus hath God raised up, where of we are all witnesses." Therefore the disciples proclaimed him to be the Son of God.

The Jesus that we talk about is the real Jesus; the historical Jesus as well as the Jesus of faith. This reality causes us to love him. When you love a person, your love goes beyond the facts about that person even though it is rooted in the facts of that person. You can know all the facts acim  that person and yet not be in love with them. So you see the decision goes beyond the evidence, yet is also based on the evidence. In understanding this premise we realize that having a relationship with Jesus goes far beyond the evidence contained in the historical facts that we know about him and yet it is rooted in those very same facts.

Jesus' private and public speaking

Jesus did not openly acknowledge himself as God because the Jews of that day had no concept of the Trinity. They only knew the Father, whom they called Yahweh. They did not know of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. If anyone had said to them I am God, it would have been seen clearly as blasphemy. Therefore, he was careful about what he said publicly. However, when he spoke privately with his disciples that was a different story. Let us look at the relationship he had with his disciples.

Jesus had twelve disciples, yet he was not one of the twelve. He is not part of the group; he is forming the group. In the same way God in creating Israel set up the twelve tribes of Israel, yet he was not part of the group. While Jesus' relationships one window into his self-understanding; his deeds and miracles offer other insights. He was not like other miracle workers who did amazing things and life moved on as it always had. Jesus' miracles were a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God. He said, 'If I, by the finger of God, cast out demons, then you will know that the Kingdom of God is at hand; that's what sets Jesus apart from all the rest. He does not see himself as a miracle worker. He sees himself as the one through whom and in whom the promises of God will come to pass.

Here is someone who considered himself to be and to have authority above and beyond that of the Old Testament prophets. He believed that he not only possess divine inspiration, but also the power of direct divine utterance. He introduced the phrase "Abba" when speaking of God the Father. Abba signifies an intimate relationship. It is a personal term that a child would use with a parent. The significance of the term is that Jesus uses it to initiate an intimate relationship that beforehand was unavailable. This leads to the question, "What kind of man can change the terms of relating to God and form a new covenant relationship with God?"