Since the beginning of the year, I’ve reposted several archived articles that compare Jesus Christ to other major religious leaders, specifically Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), Krishna, Confucius, and Muhammad. My recently completed book manuscript fleshes out and expands on what these articles started. The book (working title Jesus Alongside the Spiritual Sages) still has a long way to go—through peer review, rigorous editing, and design—before hitting shelves in 2017. In the meantime, here’s a sample from the manuscript.
I have a critical question for you, the reader. If God were to make an appearance on Earth, what would you expect him to be like? Moreover, would the Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, or Muhammad have the qualities and characteristics you would expect of God? I suspect your answer, like mine, is no. These amazing men were all quite aware of their own weaknesses and brokenness in life. So, even the greatest leaders of the world’s religions, while extraordinary in many respects, seem far from divine.
But how would you go about evaluating Jesus? When you look at his life of unique moral purity, is that what you would expect from God? Jesus seems unlike all other people in his moral perfection.
Jesus taught people in a masterful style about the big questions of life. Could you see God instructing people in this manner? Most of the content of Jesus’ teaching was not original to him (except his extraordinary statements in which he called Yahweh “Abba”), but his presentation in parabolic form was deeply engaging.
Christ also engaged in an extensive series of miraculous healings from day one of his ministry. The number of people healed by Jesus is amazing. If God were to come in the flesh and live among human beings, would you expect him to engage in compassionate healing?
Jesus was crucified on the cross at Calvary. What do you think of his death? Has any man’s death been that dramatic and moving? If God were to become a man, could you imagine him dying the same way? Christ’s atoning death sets him apart from all other religious leaders.
Death stalks humanity. Dying is a matter of when, not if. The resurrection of Jesus is the great evidence for the truth of historic Christianity. If God visited the planet, would he address man’s greatest fear? If Jesus rose from the dead, then it is the most important truth for all people to hear and consider. Would God raise the dead?
So, did Jesus do the sort of things you would expect God incarnate to do? Did he say the things you would expect to hear from God? We’re putting Jesus’ résumé to the test and attempting to discover whether he has the qualities and characteristics of the divine. Does his resume stand?
The answer to these incredible questions is a resounding yes. Jesus Christ seems to be exactly what a reasonable person would expect God to be like if he were to appear among us. One of the reasons for believing that Jesus Christ was a real historical person is that no one could invent or make up such an incredible, one-of-a-kind person.