What makes Jesus so different from other religious leaders? There are many aspects of Jesus' life which make him supremely unique when compared to other religious figures. The most important difference by far is:
Jesus of Nazareth claims he is God.
No other religious leader ever claimed to be God.
Many people who believe in God do not feel it is possible to know who God is, but God made it clear over
1,000 years beforehand he would take the form of man and live on the earth.
I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. Leviticus 26:12 written 1400 b.c.
My dwelling place will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Ezekiel 37:27 written 580 b.c.
Here is what the New Testament has to say about the fulfillment of these prophecies:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the
beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:1-2, 14
Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Colossians 1:15
What evidence is available that points to Jesus' claims of deity?
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. John 6:51, 8:23
Christ tells us plainly he is from another world and came to earth from heaven.
Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:5
Jesus says he and the Father shared glory before the world was created.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. John 17:24
Jesus states he existed with God before the earth was formed.
"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself by slipping away from the temple grounds. John 8:56-59
Even though Abraham lived 2,000 years before him, Jesus says he already existed before Abraham was born.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Genesis 1:26
God did not say "me" and "my" but "us" and "our". Who is "us"? God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and God the Son, Jesus.
Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy because you, a mere man, claim to be God." John 10:30-33
The Jewish leaders of that day even said Jesus claims to be God.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." Some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" When Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking this to themselves, he said, "Why are you thinking about these things? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you', or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? So that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins," he said to the paralytic, "I say to you, rise, take up your bed, and go home." Immediately he rose, took up the bed and went out in the presence of them all. Everyone was amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!" Mark 2:5-12
Only God has authority to forgive sins.
When Jesus arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" Some distance from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs." Matthew 8:28-31
The demons understand who Jesus is.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." Jesus replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:17-18, 20
Satan was cast out of heaven long before Jesus ever came to this world.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. A voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love. With him, I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17
This is God's voice from heaven saying Jesus is his Son.
For this reason, the Jews tried all the harder to kill him. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father making himself equal with God. John 5:18
Jesus refers to God as "my Father" not "our Father" which the Jews consider blasphemous.
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "I say to all of you: In the future, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Matthew 26:62-64
Jesus affirms he is God's Son and will return one day in the future.
Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31
Jesus promises he will be murdered and he will also rise from the dead. Only God can bring the dead back to life.
Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat, but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" Jesus replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Matthew 8:24-27
Who has authority over nature but God alone?
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language because he is a liar and the father of all lies. Yet, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? John 8:45-46
Only God is sinless and perfect. No one was ever able to prove Jesus sinned.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom and when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" Mark 15:37-39
A Roman soldier who witnessed the crucifixion proclaims Jesus was God's Son.
Is Jesus who he claims to be? Has he always existed? Is he really God?
Either Jesus is God or he is the biggest fraud who has ever lived. Either Jesus is God or he is the biggest liar to ever walk on the face of the earth.
The challenge is made to you today. Make a decision about who Jesus is. Expose him for a phony or worship him as the risen Lord, but he cannot and should not be thought of as a good man without also being thought of as God.
In the life of Jesus, we have a remarkably unique story. Jesus was arrested and executed, not on the basis of anything he had done or was alleged to have done but because of who he claimed to be.
The primary focus of his entire ministry was his identity:
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" They said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." Matthew 16:13-18
The most important question you will ever have to answer is, Who is Jesus? Your answer to this question is the only one that affects your eternal destiny.
You must no longer think Jesus was a good person and at the same time believe he was not God. How could someone be a good person if they went around claiming they were God when they really were not? How could Jesus be an upright man if he was lying to everyone about his identity? How could he be considered a great moral teacher if he deliberately misled people about the most crucial aspect of his teaching? Jesus' claims about himself were either true or they were a lie.
Consider the following carefully: Only Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. Only Jesus claims to be able to forgive your sins. Only Jesus promises you the gift of the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus performed verifiable miracles. Only Jesus claims to give you eternal life. Only Jesus' life was prophesied before his birth. Only Jesus died for your sins. Only Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Only Jesus says he will return one day. I am the bread of life. John 6:48 I am the good shepherd. John 10:11 I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6 I am the light of the world. John 8:12 I am the true vine. John 15:1 I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25 I am the Alpha and the Omega. Revelation 22:13
Who would someone who made these claims think they were?
Jesus is far superior to any religious leader in history because only Jesus is God.
How do you get to heaven?