Friday, January 24, 2014

Was Jesus just a prophet and a great moral teacher?

“Jesus was a great moral teacher.” - Richard Dawkins

"Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine." - C.S. Lewis

One of the most commonly held beliefs about Jesus Christ among people is the perception that Jesus was just a prophet or a good moral teacher. If this is true then Jesus, it seems, was just one one among thousands of prophets and teachers. In other words, Jesus was nothing special.

However, the Bible says otherwise. In this post I will present six points from scriptures that say Jesus was anything but just another good teacher.

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1. Exclusivity

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NIV)

No moral teacher claims that his ways are the only ways. Christ said it was either his way or the highway which by his own words led to 'destruction' (Matt. 7:13). He claimed that he has the key to salvation and he holds it alone. He also claimed that, not only does he have possession of the truth, but he is the truth.

2. Demanding Love

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37 NIV)

No moral teacher would ever teach his disciples to love him more than his parent or loved ones. Confucius taught 'filial piety' - which is living life centered on obedience towards one's parents. Christ said that such should be our love for him that our love for our loved ones would pale in comparison. He wants us to live for him alone.

3. Comparing himself to God

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:9 NIV)

Any moral teacher would teach us to obey God. Some religions, like Islam, wouldn't dare allow any type of comparison with God. But Christ... he...uh... compared himself with God and he did it routinely! He claimed to be God's Son (John 3:16). Once Philip said, "Show us the Father, Jesus." Jesus replied, "You've seen me, haven't you?"

4. Authority

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. (Mark 2:10 NIV)

No moral teacher ever claimed to have authority to forgive sins. Buddha said, 'you must meditate', Muhammad: 'you must pray', and Krishna: 'you must devote'. But Christ forgave sins, he said,"I will meditate, I will pray, and I will devote." (1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 4:15)

Christ also claimed authority to give his own life and take it up again (John 10:18). No moral teacher has ever claimed that sort of authority.

5. Promises

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24 NIV)

No moral teacher ever claimed to give promises he couldn't keep. They say, "do this and that and you may have salvation." Jesus said, "You believe in me and you will have salvation." He said, "I am going to prepare mansions for you in heaven." (John 14:2-3)

6. Sacrifice

No moral teacher ever laid down his life for others. No moral teacher would hand himself over to death so that others might come to life. The cross of crucifixion is the ultimate distinction between Jesus and other teachers/prophets. It is the cross which makes Jesus complete as the redeemer, and others incomplete.

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These things are those that make Jesus who he is. Do you still believe he was just another moral teacher? Read his story and judge for yourself.

(For more about the man who was more than just a prophet, read 'The Man from Galilee'.)

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