Day Sixteen: St. Justin Martyr: First Apology, Chaps. 48-59

Who: Justin Martyr was a Philosopher who converted to Christianity and became a tireless evangelist and apologist. Justin wrote more Christianity than any other person prior to his time. He is classified herein as Eastern, since he a native of Samaria and his thought patterns were Eastern. However, he spent the last years of his life in Rome, where he was executed as a martyr (c. 165).

What: An apologetic (defence) essay to explain what Christians believe and do.

Why: Justin is demanding the Emperor to investigate accusations and unjust persecution against Christians so that they at least may face a fair trial.


When: Around 156 AD

Each chapter or so in this apology deals with a different area of Christian doctrine, with somewhat compact arguments for the reality of what is believed and accepted. I’m going to try and summarise as much as I can and pull out any points which stand out, though not necessarily cover everything written in each chapter.

You can find today’s reading on page 77 here: lentfatherscomplete.pdf

In these chapters today, Justin is continuing with his long exposition of the prophecies concerning Christ, covering every aspect of the life, ministry and death of Jesus. He quotes Scripture at length in order to fully prove his points in order to show the Emperor, to whom he writes, and indeed any of us reading his works today, the undeniable reality that Jesus was the expected and long-awaited Messiah.


I won’t quote massive amounts of these chapters, since it would be redundant, so I’ll just highlight each prophecy and give the Scriptural references which are used in Apology as proofs for Jesus's Messiahship. Finding the actual quotes is sometimes difficult because Justin has a habit of combining various verses from different chapter of the same prophet into one sentence!

Christ’s Life and Death Foretold

Jesus’ life and ministry foretold from a combination of Isa 35:5-6, Isa 32:4 and Isa 26:19

“At His coming the lame shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerer shall be clear speaking: the blind shall see, and the lepers shall be cleansed; and the dead shall rise, and walk about.”

And his death from Isaiah 57:1

“Behold now the righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and just men are taken away, and no man considereth. From the presence of wickedness is the righteous man taken, and his burial shall be in peace: he is taken from our midst.”

His Rejection by the Jews Foretold

Isaiah 65:1-3

And the words are spoken as from the person of Christ; and they are these "I was manifest to them that asked not for Me; I was found of them that sought Me not: I said, Behold Me, to a nation that called not on My name. I spread out My hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people, to those who walked in a way that is not good, but follow after their own sins; a people that provoketh Me to anger to My face." For the Jews having the prophecies, and being always in expectation of the Christ to come, did not recognise Him; and not only so, but even treated Him shamefully.

His Humiliation Predicted

Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53:1-8

Because they delivered His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, He has borne the sin of many, and shall make intercession for the transgressors. For, behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, and shall be exalted, and shall be greatly extolled. As many were astonished at Thee, so marred shall Thy form be before men, and so hidden from them Thy glory; so shall many nations wonder, and the kings shall shut their mouths at Him. For they to whom it was not told concerning Him, and they who have not heard, shall understand. O Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared before Him as a child, as a root in a dry ground. He had no form, nor glory; and we saw Him, and there was no form nor comeliness: but His form was dishonoured and marred more than the sons of men. A man under the stroke, and knowing how to bear infirmity, because His face was turned away: He was despised, and of no reputation. It is He who bears our sins, and is afflicted for us; yet we did esteem Him smitten, stricken, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of peace was upon Him, by His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; every man has wandered in his own way. And He delivered Him for our sins; and He opened not His mouth for all His affliction. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation, His judgment was taken away.

The Majesty of Christ

Isaiah 53:8-12

His generation who shall declare? Because His life is cut off from the earth: for their transgressions He comes to death. And I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death; because He did no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. And the Lord is pleased to cleanse Him from the stripe. If He be given for sin, your soul shall see His seed prolonged in days. And the Lord is pleased to deliver His soul from grief, to show Him light, and to form Him with knowledge, to justify the righteous who richly serves many. And He shall bear our iniquities. Therefore He shall inherit many, and He shall divide the spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered to death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sins of many, and He was delivered up for their transgressions.

The Ascension of Christ

Psalm 24:7-10

Lift up the gates of heaven; be opened, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty.


From this point on, Justin argues that since he has proven that the prophecies of old have come to pass, then it follows that those which “are yet to come to pass, shall certainly happen”.

The General Resurrection and Punishments

Ezekiel 37:7-8; Isaiah 45:24

Joint shall be joined to joint, and bone to bone, and flesh shall grow again; and every knee shall bow to the Lord, and every tongue shall confess Him.

Isaiah 66:24

Their worm shall not rest, and their fire shall not b quenched



The closing chapters of this section deal mostly with an argument against the Roman god Jupiter and how that even though it is related to the people that some are called “sons of Jupiter” by the poets, this is done without any such proof as has been presented about Jesus, yet people believe.

“For with what reason should we believe of a crucified man”, Justin argues, “unless we had found testimonies concerning Him published before He came and was born as man” and had seen those things fulfilled.

Using the argument that these other gods were inspired by demons, but not simply to randomness, but using the ancient prophecies about Christ as a source to include a seed of truth within. This was done in order to deceive, though the demons, misunderstanding the symbolism of the cross, never made any of their false gods die from crucifixion; and people like Plato who alluded to a divine entity being placed “crosswise” at the centre of the universe didn't understand it either and was in fact borrowing from Moses who wrote these things long before any of the Greek or Roman gods and prophets came along.

There is a lot of doctrine and theology contained in these chapters, a lot which is still very relevant for apologetics today, some which might serve as a starting point. I’d recommend everyone take some time to read these, and the preceding, chapters carefully.

Contribute on Patreon

Enjoying this? Consider contributing regular gifts for this content on Patreon.
* Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator's community and pay them for making the stuff you love. You can simply pay a few pounds per month or per post that a creator makes, and in return receive some perks!

Subscribe to Updates
Order my new book today from Amazon or

Subscribe to:

Have something to say? Leave a comment below.

Leave a comment   Like   Back to Top   Seen 233 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Order my new book today from Amazon or

Subscribe to Blog updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to Blog

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

What did Jesus actually sacrifice?

| 5 days ago | Lent

Sometimes the question, or accusation/criticism maybe, is posed by atheists and critics of Christianity that Jesus didn’t really sacrifice anything because he is God and also because he got his life back three days later. So where’s the sacrifice if you know that what you give up will be given back, and given back even better than you previously had it? It’s an interesting question, and one that should cause us to stop and think about what we, as Christians, say to non-believers in case the question is ever given to us. Most people will say Jesus  gave up his life for us – but is that such a big deal if he knew he’d have it back in three days; and then to be taken up to heaven and resume his Godly-divine status he had before the incarnation? Well, yes. Obviously all the pain and suffering that Jesus had to endure before his death was a big deal, and it showed, as we can see from the Gospels when Jesus says to his disciples that he is “deeply grieved, even to death” (Matt 26:38). Luke 22:42-44‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. We can see from the quote above that Jesus really wasn’t looking forward to this, despite knowing its purpose. He even needed an angel to come to physically come to him to give him the strength to go on with this plan! Suggesting that this was a walk in the park for Jesus and making light of what he was about to go through is just ignorance of the reality of the situation. There’s also a significant detail in the Luke passage above which gives us a medical insight into what Jesus was going through in these moments: the sweat of blood. This is actually a rare condition known as Hematidrosis, and in certain conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress and/or mental anxiety, the blood vessels that feed the sweat glands break and result in actual blood seeping through. This in itself shows just how much stress Jesus was under in the lead up to his execution to cause such a thing to happen. Modern day research also shows that this condition still manifests in people awaiting execution today. So even if you knew that you would be resurrected in a few days time, I am sure that you wouldn’t really want to go through a Roman flogging and crucifixion –  some of the most brutal ways to be tortured and executed in human history! There’s lots of atheist memes on the internet making digs at this idea of what it means that Jesus sacrificed himself. “Jesus came back to life, so he basically sacrificed his weekend for you”, or similar types of jabs, totally missing the point. Typical atheist meme So what did Jesus sacrifice if he only lost his life temporarily? Everything about his pre-incarnate self. Where once a spirit, now a glorified body. Where once only divine, now fully God and fully man. The incarnation had eternal consequences for the Godhead. Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t just about dying, it was about taking on our humanity eternally. The eternal God now united forever with humanity. Jesus wasn’t only the “visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) whilst on earth, no; he is forever that now. Like John says in his opening chapter about the coming of the Word into our world: he became flesh (John 1:14) and has stayed that way. This is the “mystery of godliness” (as some translations have it) that Paul talks about in 1 Tim 3:16, where he states that Jesus was “revealed” or “manifested in flesh” and later taken up in glory. Look at when Jesus was taken up into heaven in Acts 1:11, the angels say to the disciples watching that they will see Jesus “come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” – ie., bodily. But we know from the accounts in the Gospels that Jesus’ body was no lon...

The Temptations of Jesus: Complacency

| 11th March 2018 | Lent

So now we are at the end of the temptations that Jesus endured in the desert, and I wanted to look at what happens at the end. So often I think this aspect is overlooked when we read of this time in Scripture. Let’s take a look at the text: Matthew 4:11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. Luke 4:13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. The two Gospel accounts both give us a varying perspective with different details. Afterwards, the devil leaves and angels “suddenly” come. This is almost a temptation in itself; one to think we are all good and safe now we've won the battles. But look: the devil left him “until an opportune time”. We are never beyond being tempted, or far from that tempter who ‘prowls around like a roaring lion’ (1 Peter 5:8). Christ withstood his temptations, and as a model for us, so can we. But it's a constant battle. 1 Corinthians 10:12So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. As Paul writes in the quote above, we must watch ourselves and not get too confident that we think we're strong enough not to get tripped up. Temptation can strike at any time, and if we're not prepared it could lead us into sin (James 1:14-15). James 1:12A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. This is why we mustn't get complacent in our situations just when it seems, or feels, like we have it all together. We must always “put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) and make as little “opportune” times as possible for the enemy to strike at us. Remember, Jesus lived as a human to know what it was like to be a human; he went through these temptations, and others no doubt, as he lived out his life. That is why the writer of Hebrews says that he is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” and has “in every respect has been tested as we are” — yet Jesus didn't sin (Heb 4:15). When we do get get tempted, or if we do fall into sin, we can always turn to Jesus in our moments of weakness knowing that he understands what it's like. 1 Corinthians 10:13No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. Everything we experience as humans, Jesus knows also. Although we don’t angels physically coming and waiting on us after we go through hard times, we have the Holy Spirit in us – the comforter! God’s very own Spirit is here with us through it all, helping us and convicting us to lead us back out of our complacency to the narrow path, focusing our minds back on Christ and his example. And while the devil may come and go, and wait on those “opportune times” to get at us, we shouldn’t fret or worry because God has said he will never leave nor abandon us – no matter what, God loves us and is daily conforming us into the image and mind of Christ (Rom 8:29; 12:2; Deut 31:6; Heb 13:5). Keep running the race, working out your salvation with fear and trembling and go with the love of God. Amen....

The Temptations of Jesus: Testing God

| 04th March 2018 | Lent

Here we are at the final temptation that the devil directly attacks Jesus with (I say directly, because next week I’m going to look at the more subtle attacks and temptations we can face). Let’s begin with the text: Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’    and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (cf. Luke 4:9-12) There’s quite a few things wrapped up in these few short verses. For a start, the devil took Jesus to the “holy city” (ie. Jerusalem) – but whether this was in body or in spirit, we just don’t know and can’t say for certain; maybe it was in a similar way to how Philip was transported in Acts 8:39. Intrigued by this though, I decided to look up a few details to see just how far they travelled (however it happened). Jesus was baptised by John in the river Jordan, and according to Mark, the Spirit “immediately” drove Jesus into the wilderness from there (Mark 1:9, 12). According to Google maps (and more likely, Church tradition), the spot where he was baptised is close to Jericho. Directly next to this area is the Judaean Desert, which would be the wilderness where Jesus spent his time. On the other side of this desert is Jerusalem, which is about 27 miles away from the spot by the Jordan where the baptism took place. I’ve put together a quick map so you can get a better idea of locations: Approx. locations of events Anyway, I digress slightly. The point being, is that where Jesus was and where he was taken was not exactly just around the corner! Coupled with the fact that the devil took Jesus up to the pinnacle of the Temple, this was quite a journey. Now the other thing to pull out of this passage is that the word “pinnacle” here doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as we might think of today: the top most point of something. Otherwise Jesus would be standing on the spikes of the roof! No, in this case the pinnacle means a specific wing on the top most side of the temple, most likely being Herod's royal portico which was overhanging the ravine of Kedron, at the valley of Hinnom. Now this point was so high up, and the drop below so deep, that even the first century historian Josephus makes mention of this. He wrote that, “if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy”! Other commentaries say that this wing or porch was about 350 feet above the valley – so that ought to give some context about what the devil was asking of Jesus. So by this point, Satan has really amped up his game. Jesus has refuted him twice now with Scripture, and so instead, the devil takes him somewhere dangerous and then uses Scripture as part of his temptation as though to try and use Jesus’ weapon against him. This is similar to what Paul writes about the devil in 2 Cor 11:14 when he says that even Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light”. We must be ever vigilant and discerning so that we may not get tricked by misapplied and twisted Scripture. Paul again, in his wisdom, when writing to Timothy also instructed him in these things when he said to study and know the Word of God to “rightly [explain] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If we are immersed in the Scriptures and know them inside and out, then when things get misquoted or twisted to be applied in situations where the original context doesn’t allow, we will know it and not be led astray. This is exactly what the devil tries with Jesus. He may be quoting Scripture, but he’s using it wrong. In this passage we see that the devil quotes from Psalm 91:11-12 but with one main difference – he misses out...

The Temptations of Jesus: Worship and Glory

| 25th February 2018 | Lent

Here we are on the second Sunday of Lent, and this week I am looking at the next temptation Jesus faced in the desert against the devil, the one of worship and glory. Let's take a look at the text: Luke 4:5-8 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God,    and serve only him.’” (cf. Matthew 4:8-10) Last week we saw how Satan tempts Jesus through his hunger and used his physical weakness as a way in to try and trip him up. This week we are looking at misplaced worship and the temptation to look to things other than God. As we begin to look through these temptations of Jesus, we begin to see that they weren't entirely random but are in fact another way in which Jesus reverses the sin that first began in the Garden. It is yet another proof that Jesus is the second Adam who has overcome sin! Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden for a moment: Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Contrast that with what John writes in his first epistle: 1 John 2:15-16 The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of life (or in riches) comes not from the Father but from the world.   The sin that separated Adam and Eve from God in the beginning is the same in essence as what John says comes from the world and not the Father. These are the same areas of sin and temptation that the devil was using on Jesus in the desert too — and no wonder since Satan is the god/prince of this world, that he would use the same tricks and things that are of this world against us. In the passage from Luke which details the temptation Jesus faced, we get another glimpse of this power over the world that Satan had when he says that authority “has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please”. Here he tries to use this authority to give Jesus anything he wants – with one small catch: he must bow and worship Satan! This is another example of how focusing on this life and our own power and influence can take our eyes off God and place worship and glory elsewhere — either on ourselves or on other people/things. In this case the devil tried to get Jesus to worship him in exchange for the glory of all the nations of the earth, but once again Jesus lays the smackdown on the devil with the written word of God. Worship God. Serve only Him. What can we learn from this? To keep our focus on God, no matter the cost. Don’t exchange your integrity and morals for the fleeting and temporary power of this world. Like Jesus said to Peter when he rebuked him, “ are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things”; we also much fight daily to keep our minds focused on God so that we may stay humble and remember where the glory belongs. “He must increase, but I must decrease” as John the Baptist said (John 3:30). The devil offered Jesus the world (as if he needed it given to him), hoping to get him to compromise and place his devotion elsewhere. Jesus obviously knew better, but we sometimes need to be reminded. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” as Paul wrote to the Colossians (3:1-4). That still rings true for us today. If you are tempted by this world and its fleeting glory, and you start to place your worship in places other than God, just remember the words of Jesus: Mark 8:34-36 If any want to become my followers, let...