Why Jesus? Have you ever tried sharing the Gospel with someone of another faith and been asked that question? The Muslims have Mohammed. The Buddhists have Buddha. The Hindus have their deities. What is so special about Jesus compared to other religious figures? We will attempt to answer these questions in today's Bible study.
Historian W.EH. Lecky, a known skeptic, once said the following about Jesus:
"The character of Jesus has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the longest incentive in its practice, and has exerted so deep an influence, that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the dispositions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists."
Even the most hardened atheist would admit that Jesus was a good man and moral teacher. Jesus is respected by religious leaders of other faiths. Mahatma Gandhi considered Jesus to be one of greatest teachers humanity ever had. Mohammed considered Jesus to be a prophet sent by God. However, is that all there is to Jesus?
Let's turn to John 14:6.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Truth, by its definition, is exclusive. When you make an affirmation or a statement, you are excluding the opposite. Jesus makes an absolution statement in John 14:6 with no qualifications. Jesus tells us that the only way you can have salvation is through Him.
How is this possible? Let’s turn to Mark 14:61-63.
Jesus affirms that He is the Son of God.
Let’s turn to John 10:33 and Mark 2:5-7.
The Bible gives two definitions for blasphemy:
- Claim to be God
- Claim to forgive sins
Jesus affirms that He is God and that He can forgive our sins. No other respected religious leader in the world has ever claimed to be God. Only charlatans and mad men would make such a claim, but most people would agree that Jesus is neither of those.
What made Jesus so unique? When you read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible, you will see Jesus’ accurate and specific description of the sinful human condition (Matthew 15:1-20; John 2:23-25; 3:16-19; 8:42-47).
Not only did Jesus see man trapped in the bondage of sin and completely unable to attain salvation on his own, Jesus provided a way for salvation by His sacrifice at the cross (Isaiah 53:5; Mark 10:27; John 3:16-17; 10:10; 1 John 2:2). Mankind has been continually looking for a sacrifice that would absolve them of their sins. Jesus is the only one that can give mankind that absolution.
Jesus gives us the opportunity to have a personal relationship with God (John 14:7-21). As humans, we hunger for fulfilling relationships in our lives (Luke 15:11-32). There is no more fulfilling relationship than a close intimate relationship with God.
Jesus not only lived a sinless life and practiced what He preached; He validated His claims by triumphing over the grave. The Christian church would have died in its infancy if the enemies of Jesus simply showed the world His dead body. However, they could not because His tomb was empty! (Matthew 28:1-7; John 26:20-29)
Friend, when you examine other religions, you try to reach salvation through your own deeds. In Islam, you try to have more good deeds than bad deeds. In Hinduism, you keep paying in the karmic cycle until you reach Nirvana. In Buddhism, you try to deny desires to make evil go away. Yet, Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.
Jesus gave us teachings respected by the world. But unlike any other religious leader in history, Jesus describes our sinful condition, provides a cure for our malady, demonstrates the purity of His life and gives us hope by rising again from the dead.
Will you accept that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? Will you accept that salvation can come through Jesus alone?