In “More than a Carpenter,” McDowell (2009) explores the life of Jesus as it was depicted in the Holy Bible. McDowell, who was once a skeptic – an unbeliever – however, in the book, the author closely analyzes the life of Jesus by presenting criticisms or arguments against the existence and true nature of Jesus Christ alongside evidences that prove otherwise. It is important to note that knowing McDowell’s background is significant in understanding the message of the book, because it was written from the perspective of a man who used to question Christianity, the Holy Bible, and the existence of Jesus Christ, and then eventually renewed his faith and became a Christian.
In “More than a Carpenter”, McDowell aimed to prove Jesus Christ’s existence and the truthfulness of the gospel by studying strong evidences and answering valid questions with equally valid answers that skeptics or unbelievers may ask. Therefore, McDowell is widely known as a Christian apologist through extensive analysis and research of the Holy Bible; therefore, he illustrates the truth in Jesus Christ, the gospel, and Christianity (Alters & Alters, 2001; Kurian & Smith, 2010).
Jesus as the Son of God
In the first part of the book, McDowell (2009) explored the claims of Jesus as the Son of God, and in other instances, the God Himself. In the New Testament, for instance, Jesus is referred to directly as God and called several terms that reflect His power, sovereignty, and invincibility. In the Book of John, for instance, Jesus is referred to as “life” and as the path that leads to “the Father”. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him”, John 14:6-7 (KJV). It would be easy for non-believers to question why Jesus Christ would claim or why others would refer to Him as the Son of God or God Himself. Nevertheless, McDowell argues in the latter part of the first chapter that other people saw who Jesus Christ really is. Jesus Christ did not simply claim himself to be the Son of God or God, because He also proved it through His actions.
Life of Jesus in the New Testament
Exploring Jesus Christ’s life in the New Testament is important in discerning who He was and understanding His power and His greatness. Jesus Christ’s miracles are a proof of His wondrousness and His kindness and ability to sacrifice His life for people sets Him apart from the common man. One has to marvel at what Jesus Christ did for people during his time. Jesus Christ turned water into wine, healed the sick, helped the poor, cast out evil spirits, calmed a storm, raised the dead, walked on water, and risen from the dead. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the word itself could not contain the books that should be written. A-men”, John 21:25 (KJV).
Jesus Christ’s miracles make him admirable, not only because He can do things that the ordinary man cannot, but also because He does them to help other people. Aside from Jesus Christ’s miracles, He was willing to die for the truth. McDowell (2009) argued that no man would be willing to die for a lie, but Jesus Christ was willing, because He knew the truth. Jesus Christ’s miracles and sacrifices make Him deserving of respect, acknowledgment, and trust.
After reading McDowell’s (2009) arguments and focusing on Jesus Christ’s life in the New Testament, I came to understand what arguments would make others believe in God, the truth in the Holy Bible, and Christianity. Jesus Christ accomplished what he did out of the goodness of his heart. No one forced Him to perform them, except His desire to help other people and make them to believe in God the Father, and we have all the apostles, who would not have gained anything from lying in the gospel, attesting to Jesus Christ’s power. Furthermore, McDowell (2009) emphasized the importance of following Jesus Christ’s trial and persecution to grasp the validity of the Holy Bible. During those days, Jesus Christ was criticized and mocked by many. After His trial, He was persecuted, nailed on the cross, and left there to die. Thus, people would have been afraid to express their love and belief in Jesus Christ but the apostles and His disciples wrote about Him in the Gospels, regardless. “I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled” Mark 14:49 (KJV). The New Testament illustrates firsthand accounts and interactions with Jesus Christ, making it a primary source. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses”, Acts 2:32 (KJV). Hence, it is foolish to discount the Holy Bible’s authenticity.
Although, the Holy Bible presents a strong argument for the existence of Jesus Christ and the foundations of Christianity, non-believers would argue against the validity of the Scriptures. McDowell (2009) addresses this question by comparing the Holy Bible with other classic literature, such as The Iliad by Homer. According to McDowell (2009), scholars and researchers found more authentic copies of the New Testament, than Homer’s works, which more people read and believe in than the Holy Bible. Moreover, McDowell (2009) emphasized that the New Testament can be synchronized to historical texts recovered during those days. Overall, the evidences presented by McDowell (2009) proves why the Holy Bible is truthful and why Jesus Christ deserves to be acknowledged as God or the Son of God who came down to earth to show man the power of His Father and sacrifice His life so others may believe.