The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ
What Makes Jesus Christ so Unique Among the Religious Leaders of History?
by Pastor Ron Jones, D.D.,
© Titus Institute, 2002
In 563 B.C. Siddhartha Gautama, founder of the Buddhist religion was born. He was the son of an aristocratic Hindu chieftain and was raised in luxury and splendor, protected within three palaces his father possessed. When he grew up, he married and had a son. They lived a life of luxury and domestic happiness, but this was not enough for the sensitive Gautama. Despite his father's orders that he remain in his palaces, he rode out into the world where, for the first time he saw human suffering.
Gautama returned home profoundly troubled by the misery around him. Soon, he left his family to take up the life of a travelling religious monk. At 29, Gautama decided he would solve the puzzle of human life. For six years he sought a solution, trying various methods of meditation and fasting. Finally, he sat under a sacred tree to think and vowed he would not move until he had attained the secret of Enlightenment
After 49 days of meditation, Gautama claimed that he had achieved Enlightenment, and thereafter was known as Buddha, or the "Enlightened One." For the next 45 years Buddha traveled Northern India, preaching and making converts to his religion. One day after eating some indigestible food, Buddha became very ill and died.
Today his followers number in the millions. Was there any supernatural verification that accompanied his life that demonstrated that he was speaking the truth? No.
Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was born around 570 A.D. in the city of Mecca, which at this time was a prosperous commercial city. It was also a religious center to which Arab tribes made pilgrimages to worship Allah and other pagan deities. Mohammed was born into a reputable family of the Koreish, the tribe responsible for this religious center. Early on, Mohammed rejected polytheism in favor of the concept of one god. As he grew up, he became familiar with some of the teachings of Jews and Christians.
Mohammed would often go off by himself and meditate, sometimes for days at a time. One night he says that he received a visitation by the angel Gabriel. Thus began what Mohammed claimed were revelations from Allah establishing the doctrines of Islam and Mohammed as his prophet. These supposed revelations were made only to him and seen by no one else. He had mixed reactions by other Arabs. He set himself on a quest to become the head of a new religion preaching and proclaiming his doctrine of Allah as the one true god. He met with limited success.
After awhile Mohammed found himself in dire financial straits, he was broke. Then Mohammed claimed that he received a revelation from Allah that he was allowed to contend against those who would stand against him. Mohammed followed this "new revelation" by robbing, pillaging, and destroying the caravans and cities of those who would not accept his religion. It was from this time on that Mohammed and his followers became a force to be reckoned with. As they fought in the name of Allah, eventually those around them submitted to the new religion and it spread by military might to embrace millions of followers.
Eventually Mohammed died just like every other human being and that was the end of him.
These two men who established religions with millions of followers had no credentials to prove they were teaching divine truth. None. They both claimed that they had received some type of spiritual insight or divine revelation, but there was nothing in their lives that proved that they had. Nothing. This could be said of all the other founders of the world’s religions except one. Jesus Christ was different.
This is the time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who also claimed that he was proclaiming divine truth, but he claimed far more. He claimed that he was God come in the flesh. He claimed that He was both God and man and He proved it. He had the credentials to back up the claim. Let me give you three credentials - three ways that prove Jesus Christ, that babe in a manger was none other than the God of the universe become a man.
I. Jesus' birth proved that He was the Son of God.
Angels declared his true identity to witnesses at the time of his conception and birth. They declared that he was the Son of God born from a virgin woman.
The angel Gabriel told Mary, "You will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High…"
Mat.1:20-22 An angel also spoke to Joseph.
An angel appeared to some shepherds, proclaiming, "For to you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
If God were to become a man, this is what we would expect. We would expect some type of announcement from God that this was happening. We would not expect an announcement to one person alone that could not be verified by anyone else. The angels appeared to Mary, then Joseph, then the shepherds. All became witnesses of the true identity of Jesus Christ.
We would also expect some type of unusual birth - if God were to become a man, he would have to be different. And Jesus was. Jesus was born of a virgin woman (Matt.1:18, 23; Lu.1:27)
II. Jesus' miracles proved that he was the Son of God.
Jesus didn't go under a tree and figure it all out and then proclaim he had a revelation. He didn’t expect everyone to trust him without any evidence of his divine nature. Jesus proved that He spoke the truth, that he was God by doing miracles in front of eyewitnesses.
"Then the Jews came around him and said to him, "How long do
you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered
them, "I told you and you did not believe. The works that I do in my
Father's name, they bear witness of me." [works = miracles]
Two examples of his miracles:
Matt.9: 1-8 Jesus healed a paralyzed man
Matt.14: 25-26 Jesus walked on water
Jesus showed that he was God become a man by doing miracles which, only God could do. Buddha did no such miracles. Mohammed did no such miracles. Only Jesus did miracles.
III. Jesus' resurrection proved that he was the Son of God.
Buddha died and Mohammed died and were never heard from again. Jesus predicted that He would die and rise again and that is exactly what Jesus did.
The angel said to the women, "He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
1 Cor.15: 3-8 Paul’s list of the eyewitnesses of the resurrection
Jesus proved that he was God when He came bursting out of the grave just as He predicted. Nobody else has done that. Nobody.
Buddha and Mohammed each had a common human birth; a common human life, a common human death, and each taught a human religion. There was no evidence of any supernatural divine nature or power in them.
Jesus Christ had a supernatural birth, supernatural miracles, a supernatural resurrection, and taught supernatural truth. He was truly the Son of God.
Note: This outline originally appeared in The Titus Institute Email Newsletter Vol. 1.3.