We know that Jesus was more than just a spiritual leader like Krishna, Buddha, or Muhammad, but in a world of the spiritually confused, how do we present the truth of who Jesus really is?
Apologist Kenneth Richard Samples offers biblical and historical support on what sets Jesus apart from other religious leaders, starting with His claims to divinity.
“Jesus makes divine claims and this is not true of the historic Buddha. The original form of Buddhism is called Theravada Buddhism. The Mahayana variety evolved a couple of hundred years later. They worship the Buddha and various other deities, but the original Buddha never claimed to be God.”
This is also true for leaders including Confucius, Mohammad, and a major Hindu deity, Krishna.
“Confucius said very little about religion and God. There are some scholars who think he might have been a theist, but he doesn’t make any claims to divinity, and neither does Mohammad. Even the claims of the divinity within Krishna; Krishna scholars are not sure whether the Krishna ever lived. He may have been purely mythological figure, or our ideas about him may encompass several different individuals along with mythology.”
“Jesus is clearly the only one who saw Himself in divine terms.”
Kenneth points out that our knowledge of Jesus surpasses what we know about other religious leaders. This is especially true as it relates to our understanding of His time on earth.
“Christians are criticized sometimes because we debate the exact year of Jesus’ birth. Was it 5 or 4 B.C.? Did He die in 30 or 33 A.D.? Buddhist scholars don’t know what century Buddha was born in. Was he born in the 6th century B.C.? Was he born in the 4th century B.C.?”
Unlike any other religious leader, Jesus lived a perfect life.
“Buddha, Confucius, and Mohamed are imperfect, broken, fallen individuals. Krishna doesn’t represent a Holy figure, even the depictions of him, but nobody can find fault with Jesus.”
He refers to Scripture for further understanding,
“Jesus says to his family, ‘which of you can point out sin in my life?’ I mean try it out with your family and see how that goes over. Even Pontius Pilate says, ‘I can find no fault in this man.’ Jesus is the only faultless human being apparently to ever live on this earth.”
“His divine claims, His moral life, His compassion and healing, that separates Jesus. It’s not just you and I that don’t compare all that well with Jesus, but even the greatest thinkers in the history of the world pale in comparison to this Jewish teacher from Nazareth, who Christians think is both God and man.”
We have good reason to believe that Jesus was more than just a spiritual leader. He is the Son of God and savior of the world, in which nothing and no one can compare.
Kenneth Richard Samples is a philosopher and theologian who has a great passion to help people understand the reasonableness and relevance of Christianity’s truth claims. Through his writing and speaking as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe, he encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical worldview level.
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