Is Jesus really God?
Have you ever met a man who is the center of attention wherever he goes? Some mysterious, indefinable characteristic sets him apart from all other men. Well, that’s the way it was two thousand years ago with Jesus the Christ. But it wasn’t merely Jesus’ personality that captivated those who heard him. Those who witnessed his words and life tell us that something about Jesus of Nazareth was different from all other men.
Jesus’ greatness was obvious to all those who saw and heard him. And while most great people eventually fade into history books, Jesus is still the focus of thousands of books and unparalleled media controversy. Jesus’ only credentials were himself. He never wrote a book, commanded an army, held a political office, or owned property. He mostly traveled within a hundred miles of his village, attracting crowds who were amazed at his provocative words and stunning deeds. Much of the controversy revolves around the radical claims Jesus made about himself, claims that astounded both his followers and his adversaries.
What was it about Jesus Christ that made the difference? Was he merely a great man, or something more? Jesus’ unique claims caused him to be viewed as a threat by both the Roman authorities and the Jewish hierarchy. That persecution continues to this very day. Some believe he was merely a great moral teacher; others believe he was simply the leader of the world’s greatest religion. But many believe something far more. Christians believe that God has actually visited us in human form.
In The World’s Great Religions, Huston Smith observed, “Only two people ever astounded their contemporaries so much that the question they evoked was not, ‘Who is he?’ but, ‘What is he?’ They were Jesus and Buddha.