“Can Jesus help me be more spiritual?”
“What’s so special about Jesus? Can’t I learn how to live a fulfilling life by studying other great people of wisdom from ancient times?”
“Jesus was a great teacher, but was he really divine?”
“Does it matter if I believe Jesus is the Son of God?”
These are fair and very good questions that deserve good answers. It’s a multicultural world and there are many legitimate questions. The search to find depth in our lives is compelling. We seem to innately know that deep inside we are spirit beings who long for growth and development.
May I suggest Jesus?
Why Jesus? Because Jesus offers truth
There’s plenty of fantasy in the world but that is not what you are looking for is it? You know that fables and fantasy do little to empower your life. You seek reality. You seek truth.
First, Jesus claims to speak truth. In John 17:17 Jesus said of his father, “thy word is truth.” It’s interesting that John uses the same word describing Jesus in John 1:1-18, Jesus is the word. Paul, the great apostle of Jesus wrote that Scripture is “inspired,” meaning that it is truth from God. Jesus does not arrive at some formulation of truth by experience; his time on the earth was only about three years. Jesus knows and speaks truth because it is his nature. Truth is a necessary part of who Jesus is. Any deviation from truth would destroy his divine nature.
It is very easy to declare something true. Remember? “Talk is cheap.” Just making a claim does not make it so. Modern man is rightly skeptical of any claim, especially a claim to absolute truth. So how does Jesus back up his claim?
The single greatest proof of Jesus’ truth is seen in his resurrection. A full discussion of the resurrection is for another article but let me lay out seven reasons I find the resurrection believable.
Jesus was executed publically.
Jesus appeared to many people publically after the resurrection including 500 at once.
The beginning and incredible growth of the church began less than two months after Jesus was crucified.
The beginning and incredible growth of the church began in the same city where he was both crucified and where he walked after his resurrection.
The resurrection was predicted centuries before it happened.
Stalwart opponents to Jesus became Christians
The resurrection could easily be proven false if it did not happen.
For me, the resurrection settles the truth question for God would never have given such approval to a false teacher. This leads directly to our next point.
Why Jesus? Because Jesus lives
In the last 50 years, there has been increasing curiosity about so-called Eastern religions. These include faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism, and Sikhism. These groups all originated on the Indian subcontinent or in regions of Far East Asia. Generally, though not always, these religions are polytheistic, that is, they adhere to the concept of multiple gods. They have become attractive to the Western mind because of their emphasis on calm, peace, meditation, and the prospect of a better life.
Reincarnation is a common teaching of each of these religions: a continuous cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. According to their teachings, their founders have discovered a way out of the reincarnation cycle. For example, in the case of Buddha, he discovered the path to enlightenment and left behind his teachings for his followers.
Jesus is unique. Like these founders, Jesus left teaching for his disciples to follow. But unlike these instructors, Jesus died a physical death and was resurrected (not reincarnated) to a visible life before men (John 20, 21 especially 24:24 – 29). A few weeks later, Jesus ascended back into heaven (Luke 24:50 – 53). Jesus did not ascend into heaven and leave his disciples to fend for themselves. Jesus remains intimately involved in the daily life of his people. Perhaps most importantly, Jesus mediates between mankind and God (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus remains the high priest for his church (Hebrews 8:1 – 7).
Even though they may not believe that Jesus is God (John 1:1 – 4), many do believe that a great teacher, known as Jesus of Nazareth, walked the earth in the 1st century. But Jesus is not simply an ancient guru. He is a living teacher! We must shout from the rooftops that Jesus lives! This was Paul’s message to the skeptical Greeks in Athens in Acts 17:29 – 34. The resurrection of Jesus was a common theme in the preaching of the early church. One might even say that the Christians were obsessed with the idea that Jesus was alive.
Why Jesus? Because Jesus Loves
Love the foundational teaching of Jesus Christ. According to Jesus, the two greatest commandments revolve around love. Man must love God, and a man must love his neighbor (Matthew 22:34 – 40). The parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25 – 37, expands the understanding of neighbor to all people. We must love all people not just those with whom we are comfortable with but everyone.
Can you imagine a more needful teaching in our world today? The late Jerry Clower, famed country comedian from Mississippi, once observed that people always told him what the world needed most. While Clower appreciated their observations, he disagreed. In his thinking, what the world needed more than anything else was love. We agree.
The emphasis on loving others, as taught by Jesus, appeals to the people of our world. People need to be loved. People want to see others being loved. The Christian needs to show love in his own life while promoting love among others.
With all their mysteries and rituals, Eastern religions cannot come close to the message of Jesus Christ. Those who seek peace and solace in this world can find it in Jesus, not in idol gods.