Jesus: Man, Myth, Or Messiah?
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
As Easter Sunday approaches, we begin to see television specials and news articles about discovering the real Jesus. Interestingly, very few credible historians doubt that Jesus lived. Furthermore, most of the major world religions say that Jesus was a great teacher. And even hardened secularists will concede that no one was more moral than Jesus Christ.
But here is the problem with saying that Jesus was a great moral teacher: Jesus claimed to be much more than that. If Jesus Christ was really who He claimed to be–not just a man, certainly not a myth, but the Messiah–then that has tremendous implications for you and me today. This week, we will consider why Jesus is different than any other religious leader who ever lived.
Jesus made unique claims that no other religious leader made. For example, Jesus claimed to be God. Most religious leaders claim to point people to God, but no other religious leader has claimed to be God Himself. For example, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, said, “Surely I am no more than a human apostle.” Moses, Confucius, and Buddha all said they were nothing but sinful men pointing people to God. Not Jesus. Jesus said He is God. In John 14:8, Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus responded, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (14:9). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (10:30). Jesus claimed to be God Himself.
Jesus also claimed to forgive sins. No other religious leader ever claimed the ability to forgive people’s sins. Buddha said, “In reality there are no living beings to whom the Lord Buddha can bring salvation.” Jesus said, “I can.” In Mark 2, some disciples brought their paralytic friend to Jesus to be healed. “Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’” (2:5). The religious leaders said, “He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” (2:7). In response, Jesus performed a miracle: “‘So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’–He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God” (2:10-12). Jesus said His primary purpose was to come to provide the forgiveness of sins to those who believed.
Many religions try to point people to the path of forgiveness. But Jesus said He is the path of forgiveness. In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” And in John 11:25, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” In contrast to other religious leaders, Jesus claimed to forgive sins.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus: Man, Myth, Or Messiah?” ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
John Ankerberg and John Weldon, “Handbook Of Biblical Evidences” (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2008), 51-52.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.