Listen to Him

May 27, 2021

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid." And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone (Matthew 17:5-8).

The Jesus Seminar was organized in 1985 to renew the quest of the historical Jesus and to report the results of its research to the general public, rather than just to a handful of Gospel specialists. Initially, the goal of the Seminar was to review each of the sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels and determine which of them could be considered authentic. Thirty scholars took up the challenge at the initial meeting in Berkeley, California. Eventually more than 200 professionally trained specialists, called Fellows, joined the group at various phases. As the editors of the Seminar’s 1993 book “The Five Gospels” explain in their Preface, the Fellows of the Jesus Seminar represent a wide array of Western religious traditions and academic institutions. They have been trained in the best universities in North America and Europe.

The Seminar met twice a year to debate technical papers that were prepared and circulated in advance. At the close of debate on each agenda item, Fellows voted using colored beads to indicate the degree of authenticity of the words and deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. Dropping colored beads into a box soon became a trademark of the Jesus Seminar. Among the findings is that, in the judgment of the Jesus Seminar Fellows, about 18% of the sayings and 16% of the deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are authentic.

God the Father spoke to Peter, James, and John at the transfiguration of Jesus, telling them to listen to Him (to Jesus)! It was an emphatic command that authenticated the Person, words, and work of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul further confirmed the authenticity of the Person, words, and work of Jesus Christ in 2 Timothy 3:16, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness . . . . Obviously the members of the Jesus Seminar and countless other ‘scholars’ didn’t get the memo!

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning those who have personally rejected God and His revelation to mankind, stating (Romans 1:21-22), For even though they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools . . . . Such are the days we are living in.

“Father, Your divine approval of Jesus and His words and works are clearly stated in Scripture. Furthermore, You have told us to be diligent in presenting ourselves to You as a workman who is not ashamed and who accurately handles the Word of truth. Teach and lead us by Your Holy Spirit to discern the truth of Jesus Christ from the lies of men so that we may continue to witness to others the Gospel that is authentic, powerful, and fruitful. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”


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