The Incomparable Jesus

Why Jesus?

When it comes to Americans, recent research shows that 52 percent believe that Islam leads to eternal life, 53 percent believe that Hinduism leads to God, and an incredible 42 percent believe that atheism leads to God!  (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2008)

What is reflected in those numbers is called “universalism”.  This is the belief that ultimately all humans will be embraced by God and experience eternal life. 

The logic goes like this:  God is a God of mercy, love, and forgiveness.  He will accept everyone into his presence, regardless of what they have done or believe.  (Somehow they think God’s mercy runs over all his other attributes, like justice and holiness.)  Some say all religions are really the same, they just have different names for the same things.  Add to this the pluralism of our nation where people of all sorts of beliefs and practices go to school, work, and live side by side--seeing one belief as better than others sounds downright arrogant.    

Jesus, without question, was offensive enough to the religious leaders to get crucified.  He thought of himself as unique and the only way to a personal relationship with God..

Let’s look at some of his words: 

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered:

The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. John 6:29

I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12.

…if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.  John 8:24

I tell you the truth…before Abraham was born, I am!  John 8:58 [Response: they picked up stones to stone him.]

I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. John 14: 6-7a.

I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  John 8:12

I and the Father are one. John 10:30-33 [Response: they picked up stones to stone him. Why? "…for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."]

In today’s postmodern mindset,  these words are offensive. It is fine to quote Jesus’ on some things such as, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Or, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  But what about these exclusive claims?

C.S. Lewis, in responding to those who want Jesus as a great moral teacher and nothing more:

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 the level with the 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 a 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. (Mere Christianity, p. 41)

Those who followed Christ believed his claims to their martyrdom.  The Apostle Peter told a crowd, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.  The Apostle Paul started out hating Christians and even having some killed.  After his conversion he said of Jesus, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Phil. 2:10-11

While some may point to the differences between Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, these three all agree that salvation is found only in the person of Jesus the Messiah. 

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say the Son of Man is?” [He was referring to himself.]  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked, “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you may man, but by my Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 16: 13 ff.)

Perhaps you have not taken a serious look at the Incomparable Jesus.  We invite you to pray this prayer, or one like it:

“Heavenly Father, I pray that you will reveal Jesus to me.  Help me to know him as he really is.  If he is truly your Son, I want to know him.  Work in my mind and heart your good work.  Amen”

We would encourage you to read the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  It is there that you will get a clear understanding of Jesus.  God bless!

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  Ellsworth Assembly of God ~ 131 Beechland Road ~ Ellsworth, ME 04605 ~ 207-667-8998