Uniqueness of Jesus Christ : Part 2
So what is special about Jesus Christ?
At the heart of every major religion is a leading exponent. As the exposition is studied, something very significant emerges. There comes a bifurcation, or a distinction, between the person and the teaching. Mohamed to the Koran, Buddha to the Noble path, Krishna to philosophizing, Zoroaster to his ethics.
Whatever we may make of their claims, one reality is inescapable. They are teachers who point to their teaching or show some particular way. In all of these, there emerges an instruction, a way of living. It is not Zoroaster to whom you run. It is Zoroaster to whom you listen. It is not Buddha who delivers you. It is his Noble truths that instruct you. It is not Mohammed who transforms you; it is the beauty of the Koran that woos you.
By contrast, Jesus did not only teach or expound His message. He was identical with His message. Jesus did not only teach the way, But he claimed to be the only way to GOD. Teaching is like a mirror. It can show you if your face is dirty, but the mirror will not wash your face. We are not in need merely of a superior ethic, we are in need of a transformed heart and will that seek to do the will of God.
Pope Benedict XVI once wrote, “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
In the practice of the Christian faith, God has come near, and we enjoy the indwelling of His presence in us. The contrast here from every other faith is as diametric as one can imagine.
ACID test for any religion is the test of its founder.
- Who does the person claim to be?
- In what authority he/she is speaking to me?
Jesus is the only CLAIMED to be God. No one other founders in the entire history of humanity did so. And it is here Christianity stands apart. If you take Buddha out of Buddhism, you will be left with a religious system. If you take Mohamed out of Islam, you will still have a religious system. But if you take Christ out of Christianity, You will be left with absolutely nothing. Christ is the center of a christian life.
C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity writes the following: “I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about HIM [Jesus Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”
Jesus did not challenge us to believe in his teaching, rather he challenged us to believe in HIM. Most people thing Jesus as a good philosopher or teacher. But Jesus could be quite dangerous. He didn’t say he knew a way to God. He said He is the way the God.
Unlike other philosophers or religious leaders who were at first not sure about the path and later found the path, Jesus’s unique seance of identity was found in him from his early age. Even as a boy of twelve he knew that he was God’s son, sent on a special mission.
For most religious system there is no proof for the teaching other than the teaching itself. But Jesus claimed to be the son of god and offered proof for those claims. First of all there is the moral weight of his life. Its one thing to preach and completely another to live it out. No body ever practiced as completely and as consistently as Jesus did. In fact the Bible says he is without sin. No other religious faith makes that claim for its founder.
Jesus backed up his claims with his miracles. Unlike stories of other religions where miracles take place in mythological propositions, The miracles of Jesus were recorded by eye witness as if they were historical facts. Every miracle is located at certain place and time. And each one fits into a sequence of events. The miracles of Jesus were not added later just to add effect to the story. They were essential part of his life and very often are part of his teaching.
One of the remarkable features of Jesus’s teaching was in the way he linked it to his death. In fact he talked as if his life would make no sense unless he died.And among all teaching of Christ, one stands out. That is his prophecy about his resurrection. That is he will rise from the dead after three days of his death. It is totally unique among the founders of world’s religions.
Mohamed died, Buddha died, Krishna died and all other philosophers and religious leaders died. And no one denies that. But Jesus was the only one who is claimed to be dead and resurrected. No part of Jesus body has ever been found. Why not? Because he is not dead. He is alive.
Christ: It’s WHOM you know/follow
Others: It’s WHAT you know/do
Christ: You sin; I pay
Others: You sin; you pay
Christ: Take it or lose it
Others: Take it or leave it
Christ: Follow Me
Others: Go this way
Christ: Mirror and Cleanser
Others: Only mirror
Christ: Came to save sinners
Others: Came to destroy sinners
Faith is reason gone courageous – not the opposite of reason – Thomas Graham, Dean of a theological school