The Jesus of History

I personally believe that Jesus is one of the most controversial figures in history. In my opinion, Jesus of Nazareth is the only man who has a personality that is either distorted or misinterpreted by different worldviews. He has one true identity, but this has never stopped men from creating images of Him that suit their numerous ideologies and worldviews.

In certain circles, He is seen as a prophet and nothing more. In others, a great moral teacher. Some others see Him as one great man that met His demise too early. It is interesting to note that Jesus is one of the only personalities that cut across so many worldviews and religions on earth. They quote Him, respect Him, worship Him misguidedly and even await His return. Because one worships or acknowledges the ministry or life of Jesus doesn’t make one a true believer.

Truth. That’s what matters when the person of Jesus comes into any discussion. Who is He? That’s one question with an answer that matters more than anything philosophy or religion will ever teach a man. We live in an age where pluralism thrives. We are told in so many ways that there are several ways to God. Hollywood, as an industry, has succeeded in making the average Christian see Jesus as an option. But He never said He was an option.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6
We’ve been shown, in countless movies, ancient and modern gods walking among men. Some Christians even sympathize with some of these demonic characters. What is more appalling is the fact that we begin to see Jesus in light of these characters.

It’s amazing how much of the New Age teaching has crept into the Church. We have honest pastors and teachers, yes. But some of our leaders have stepped into several wrong teachings without knowing it. Jesus becomes an option. He becomes one of the many ways to God.

In one simple but direct statement, Jesus said that no other way leads to the Father. I remember an advert that was very popular while I was growing up. It was an advert created to advertise Glaxo Smith Kline’s product, Panadol. A statement was made in that advert that I might never forget: if e no be Panadol, e no fit be like Panadol. In simple English, because something looks like Panadol and even claims to do what Panadol can do doesn’t make it Panadol.

Jesus Himself said, “Those who worship must do so in truth.” I interpret that statement in a strange way. I believe that Jesus was saying that any worship ascribed to Him with distorted or inaccurate views about who He is will never be considered and accepted as true worship. I could worship Him as a great moral teacher. I could reverence Him as merely a prophet. While those titles aren’t bad in themselves, they fail woefully to describe who He really is.

Jesus claims exclusivity. You can’t worship Him and another. One mistake that I have seen believers do is to claim that we serve one God. I have often heard this when some believers discuss with Muslims. “After all, Jesus is mentioned in the Quran,” they’d say. “Abraham was called of God and gave birth to Isaac and Ishmael. We all come from the same Father and God, Jews and Arabs,” I have often been told. In doing this, we make Jesus an option and not the Way. This is very dangerous and I sincerely pray in my heart that Christians will cease from doing this.

I believe that two things that Jesus did on earth that all other worldviews will reject are these:

1. He claimed to be equal with God (Jn. 5:18).

2. He claimed to be one with God (Jn. 14:9, 10:30).
Once a man or a group fails to admit those two simple, fundamental claims of Jesus, then they worship another Jesus. There is only one Jesus, not many. There is only one way to God, not many. Let your worship be in truth. Then, and only then, will it be worship and be accepted by God.

Adiòs!
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017

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