The REAL Deal: Why Christ and Christianity Are a Cut Above the Rest
Can you name one other historical figure who is worshipped by name two thousand years after they lived? I can’t. Many a celebrity hears their name chanted by adoring fans while alive but how many sing songs to honor cultural greats like Shakespeare or Galileo or Bach after their death?
Two millennia ago Jesus the Christ was a homeless, penniless man who was horrifically executed as a common criminal. He penned no book, recorded no song, held no political post and led no army, yet countless authors, musicians, kings and generals have dedicated their lives to his honor. Jesus never had more than 150 dedicated disciples. In fact, most would abandon him, deny him or betray him in his final hours, and with exception to one, still return to champion His cause and claim He was alive.
Jesus’ entire career covered less time than what it takes to get a four year diploma. He worked the fields, villages and lakes, far from the greatest cities of his day. He preached, taught, exorcised, healed and resurrected. His fame was limited to dozens of miles from Jerusalem, and yet within a quarter century after his death Rome would buzz with the “good news” of his “salvation.” Even Caesars would rage and eventually revere Him.
Christianity has protected the young, the female and the outcast. It was Christianity the led Rome to outlaw infanticide and gladiator games. Christianity freed women and girls to be citizens. Christians have long worked for movements related to human rights, poverty and justice. Northern Christians helped to free slaves in the 1860s. Southern Christians led the charge for civil rights in the 1960s. Christian women led movements for suffrage and equal rights. Today, it is Christians who spotlight injustices like human trafficking, AIDS, unsafe drinking water and education. The entire American Experiment and democracy is intricately related to the teachings of Jesus Christ that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. The United States of America, like it or not, was framed by Christian ideals from Christian men who fearlessly pointed to Jesus and his teachings for the rise of this great nation.
No, of all the great religious figures, only One stands alone: Jesus the Christ.
Skeptics will scoff. Critics will balk. Disbelievers will ignore. Historians can debate. Theologians can argue. Scientists can investigate. But NO human has made a more significant impact upon culture and history than Jesus Christ. We literally mark history by his life (BC/AD). His name is a cultural curse word. Who curses in the name of Mohammed or Buddha or Confucius?
Every Sunday, followers of this ancient Teacher gather to mark His Resurrection. Twenty centuries after he lived, billions still sing praise to his name, preach on his words and point to HIM as the one who saved them. They don’t focus on his platitudes or meditate on his essence. They proclaim a personal relationship with Jesus. A relationship!
Muslims don’t venerate Mohammed like that. Who claims a personal relationship with Buddha? Confucius made a philosophical splash but who gathers in his name weekly to speak of HIS salvation? No, these men who pioneered great religious systems are still mere mortals. They lived and died. Their followers love their legacy and practice their systems, but they don’t worship Mohammed, Buddha or Confucius as God who saves them and is now living in their heart. Only Christians do that.
No, this Galilean guru cannot be anything else but God. Some philosophers say he was just a nice teacher, but that doesn’t explain how millions have willingly died for him and refused to deny him. Some critics chide he was crazy but no lunatic has lasting influence nor inspires people to be good and better. Charles Manson had followers, but where are they today? Jim Jones had disciples, but where are they today? David Koresh enjoyed a cult following, but where are the Branch Davidians today?
I am a fan of Jesus the Christ because He was who he said he was: God. Christians serve a Risen Savior! He’s Alive. He was a historical figure–well attested even by secular historians of his day– and, yes, he died, but its only skeptics seek to keep him in the tomb. The great Truth of Christianity is Resurrection. Remove the Resurrection and the Faith collapses. Jesus was no different than Mohammed, Buddha or Confucius. But if He’s alive, he proved his own claims to resurrect from the dead. Who makes claims like that? A liar? A lunatic? Or the Lord of Life! Every attempt to discredit the Resurrection has failed. His body stolen? The oldest lie, but it fails. Not one of his first-century followers cracked and confessed such a coverup. A few can might keep a good man down, but over 500 people at one time saw Jesus Christ alive. The disciples went to the wrong tomb? Wouldn’t one of them correct that notion? What advantage did they hold to venerate a dead Messiah in face of intense persecution? None. Jesus didn’t actually die, he only was comatose and revived? This critique fails on several accounts. First, the Roman soldiers were master executioners. They never removed a body from a cross that wasn’t dead. Second, a cool tomb would kill someone in shock or a coma, not revive them. Third, even if he could revive, how did he break out of a tomb guarded by Rome’s elite and sealed. But Christ’s body wasn’t in a grave nor could it be produced by any man, friend or foe. There was no error, no miscalculation, nor mistake. The Body of Jesus the Christ was missing. And his bones have never been found. The God Man is Alive!
Yes, Jesus is the Real Deal. He’s the Lord of lords, King of kings, the Greatest of the greatest. He is the Promised Messiah, fulfilling hundreds of ancient prophecies including being born of a virgin in a town called Bethlehem. His ministry of three and a half years sparked a Faith and following that billions of people on the planet now profess. Yes, his followers can by hypocritical, selfish, greedy and profane, but these are the exceptions not the rule (and only prove we all need a Messiah). Most Christians are humble, gentle, joyful, peaceful, loving, courageous and sacrificial. They exude the best of society’s ideals. They give greater, serve farther and live longer. The sun never sets on a Christian doing good work in the name of Jesus.