How is Jesus Different from Other Religious Leaders?
Many religions believe in Jesus. The Bible even says the demons believe in Jesus (James 2:29—“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder”). But what we need to determine is :
– what do they mean by “believe”?
– how do they define Jesus? There is more than one Jesus (Matthew 24:23-26 “…For false Christs…will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible…”). I can say I believe in Dave Maynard who lives in Jackson, Michigan but there are 3 Dave Maynards who live in Jackson, Michigan and they are all quite different people. You need to be more specific.
– you need to determine if their definition of Jesus is correct. Three people may give you direction to a certain destination but if two of them are wrong and you believe them, you’ll never reach your intended destination.
Now let’s look at the two different types of belief.
– one is just an acknowledgement of something. I believe the sky is blue but that doesn’t impact my life. I will not dedicate my life to proving the sky is blue. This type of belief or acknowledgement has no effect on my life. The demons believe that Jesus is Lord but they don’t allow that belief to transform them (James 2:29).
– the other belief is a transformational belief. Christians not only believe in Jesus, they have received Him into their life. He comes in and transforms our lives (John 1:12 “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”).
According to the most basic of laws, the law of non-contradiction says that “A” cannot be “non-A”. If Islam says Jesus is one thing and Christianity says He is something different, both cannot be right. Either they’re both wrong or one is wrong and one is right.
Now let’s look at how certain religions/belief systems define Jesus.
Christianity…Jesus is God in the flesh, a part of the trinity, God the Son, who came down from heaven, died for our sins, rose from the dead for our justification and will come back to set up Kingdom for all eternity.
Judaism…Jesus was just a human being, a Jew who some people mistakenly believed was the promised Jewish Messiah. He was a Jewish prophet who lived and died in 1st century Palestine. There is only one God, not a trinity, and Jesus is not Him.
Islam…Jesus was a great prophet in a line of prophets (Moses, David, Solomon, Jonah, etc.) but Mohammed was the greatest prophet of all. Jesus lived and died in 1st century Palestine. To say Jesus is God is blasphemy. Jesus was only a human being. They don’t believe in the trinity nor do hey believe he was crucified.
Hinduism…God is an impersonal force, an undefinable thing. Hinduism recognizes thousands of lesser gods but they’re all part of one big impersonal force called Brahma. Jesus may be one of these lesser gods or just a human being. They don’t believe in the trinity. He lived and died in 1st century Palestine.
Buddhism…most Buddhists are atheists. Some Buddhists believe that Buddha was a god. Jesus may have been a teacher who lived and died in 1st century Palestine. Jesus isn’t really much of a factor in Buddhism. Obviously, they don’t believe in the trinity.
Transcendental Meditation…Jesus is not God Almighty. He had the divine essence as a man. Unlike most people, He discovered His divine essence. Each part of creation makes up “God”. God is in you and me and in that tree, the mountains, sky, etc. God is not personal. God is an “it”. They don’t believe in the trinity. Jesus, as an enlightened man, lived and died in 1st century Palestine.
Unity School of Christianity…Jesus is only a man who gained a “Christ consciousness.” Jesus had been reincarnated many times and lived many lives before. Jesus didn’t die for our sins and will not return a 2nd time. God is an impersonal entity, a principle. They don’t believe in the trinity. Jesus was a human being who lived and died in 1st century Palestine.
Mormonism…God is an office that you can be elevated to. Our God was once a man with a physic al body the same as ours. If you’re a good Mormon in this life, you may become a Jesus on another world. Eventually you may become God on another world also. Jesus was created as a spirit child of God the Father and the Heavenly Mother. His earthly body was created thru a sexual union of God the Father and Mary. Mormons don’t believe in the trinity.
Jehovah’s Witnesses…There is one God called Jehovah. They do not believe in the trinity. Jesus is not God Almighty but he is a Mighty God, just lesser than God Almighty. Before He came to earth, he was Michael, the Archangel. Jesus is the first thing that Jehovah God created. Jesus’ body decayed in the grave but his spirit was resurrected. Their belief is similar to the Arian heresy of the 4th century that the early church condemned at the Council of Nicea (which is where we get the Nicene Creed from).
Christian Science…Jesus was not God. God has never been a human. He didn’t die on the cross, wasn’t resurrected and isn’t coming back again. God is an impersonal life force. God is all that exists. Anything material (like you and me) is just an illusion. Jesus was just a man who displayed the Christ consciousness. Sin, evil, sickness and death are not real, only illusions. Jesus was a man who lived and died in 1st century Palestine.
While there are many other religions, in all of them Jesus is either just a man who lived and died in 1st century Palestine or he is one of many “divine” people.
– in the Bible, Jesus claims to be God (John1:1, 8:58)
– that all other gods are false gods (Isaiah 44:6,8,9).
– He claims to be the only way to God (John 14:6)
Jesus claimed to be God and backed up those claims by fulfilling over 300 messianic prophecies, something that no one has come close to since. He also proved it by His resurrection from the dead. He left many historical proofs of this.
Either Jesus is who He claims to be or He is not. There is no middle ground. Who your definition of Jesus is, is extremely important. He only leaves you with 3 choices. Either Jesus is who He says He is or He is not. If He is not, then He is either a liar or a lunatic. But Jesus told people not to lie. How could a lunatic or a liar give the world the highest ethical teachings the world has ever known, a fact endorsed even by His critics? Not many sane people would call Jesus a lunatic or a liar. That only leaves one choice…that He is God.
To those people who say He was only a good teacher, consider these claims of His;
-He told people that if they ate His flesh and drink His blood, they would have eternal life (John 6:53,54).
-He can give life to people after they die (John 11:25,26). In other words, He told people to trust Him with their eternal destiny.
-He is God (John 10:30)
– He will raise Himself from the dead (John 2:19-21)
If your science teacher said these things about himself, I’m sure you’d run for the door and never come back. Jesus did not leave the good teacher option open for us.
All the other prophets or messiahs of other religions have died and are in the grave. Jesus is the only major religious figure to have conquered the grave. He is the only major religious figure to predict His own death….and resurrection. The bodies of all the other religious figures are in the grave. Jesus’ grave has been empty for 2,000 years. Even the Jewish religious leaders of His day didn’t disagree that His grave was empty. They only tried to explain why it was empty. Their explanations fell flat (see “The Real Easter Story” on this website for verification of the empty grave).
Jesus was so different from all the other gods, guru’s, messiahs, teachers or founders of all the other religions. He is so popular that all the other religions try to incorporate Him into their religion. While his has happened with a few other religious leaders that were put into a few other religions, Jesus has been put into almost every religion. No other religious leader comes close to His popularity.
Then there are these other milestones:
– the Bible is the best selling book of all time
– Christianity has stood the test of time despite periods of severe persecution
– the Bible is quoted more than any other book in history
– our calendar is centered around this obscure peasant born in a remote backwater village
– His short 3 years of ministry has effected the world more than any other person’s entire life has.
– more people will willingly lay down their life rather than deny belief in Him
– more people have testified that He has changed their life for the better than any other person or god in the world throughout history.
– more books have been written about Him than any other person or movement in all of history.
– more compassionate ministries (Salvation Army, soup kitchens, orphanages, food pantries, medical care, grief care, etc.) have started and existed because of His command to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, etc.
Yes, indeed, Jesus is far different from any other leader, religious or not, that world has ever known.
Who do you think Jesus is? Your eternal destiny hangs on your answer.
“Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin
“So What’s the Difference” by Fritz Ridenour
Plus many, many more that can be purchased at www.christianbook.com
For His Kingdom,