Sunday, 31 March 2013

Who was Jesus Christ? Join the Debate:

Two Christians, a Muslim and a Hindu try to finally resolve the 2,013 year argument this Easter weekend.

Golgotha, by James Hunter
Jesus is God by Sam Driver
The Christian view of Jesus' nature is based entirely on Biblical scripture. For example, the prophesies of the Old Testament which deal with the coming of the messiah explicitly state he will be God himself, as when Isaiah foretells the birth of a child whose name would be 'Mighty God, Everlasting Father' (Isaiah 9:6). 

Again, according to the Bible, shortly before Jesus began preaching, John the Baptist declared himself to be preparing the way for 'God' (John 1:23) and later, seeing Jesus, declared him the purpose of his ministry (John 1:31). Perhaps the clearest indication that Jesus' contemporaries thought he was God, however, is in Thomas’s response to Jesus’s appearance after his crucifixion (John 20:28).

The Biblical writings of the early church repeatedly refer to Jesus as divine (Colossians 2:9, 2 Peter 1:1, Hebrews 1:8-9) and one statement of Paul's is a particularly good example of this: "Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Perhaps the most unequivocal statement of Jesus’s divinity is his own : "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). 

Jesus isn't God, he's His son by Shaun Ingledew
To say Jesus means many things to many people would be an understatement. Whether he got you that bike you’d always wanted for Christmas, had his name used to justify bloodshed and warfare on a global scale or indeed died for your sins his impact on modern life is unparalleled.

But what is the Bible's view on Jesus? The Bible indicates that Jesus is the son of God who was sent down to the earth to atone for the sins of Adam (John 3:16). The Bible does not however, suggest that Jesus is God Himself, a common mistake made by the majority of Christianity. The word 'trinity' appears in the Bible zero times and Jesus on many occasions refutes the idea (John 8:42, John 20:17). 

Jesus’ importance lies in the message that he preached which he received from God (John 5:19) and Christian or not, few would disagree that if everyone were to follow the teaching of Jesus, the world would be a much more harmonious place. And, if you disagree with that fact then I for one am still very thankful for the four day Easter weekend.

Jesus is a prophet by Monsura Sirajee
We may not be decorating Easter eggs in my house during the holiday season, but make no mistake, as Muslims my family and I are celebrating the life of Jesus - and we do so all year round. 

© 2013 All rights reserved. New Religion
Muslims highly regard Jesus, whose name is mentioned in the the Quran - Islam's holiest scripture - more often than even the prophet Muhammad. However, the Quran denies Jesus' divinity (Quran, 112:1-4) and points to the fact Adam, according to the Bible, was born without parents (Quran, 3:59). The implication being, if Jesus is the son of God because he had no father then what must be the status of Adam?

Even from the Bible the divinity of Jesus can be disputed. Jesus himself says God is one (Mark 12:29) and also describes himself as the 'son of man' (Matthew 19:28), while the Bible's very first mention of Jesus introduces him as the 'son of David' (Matthew 1:1). Where Jesus does call himself the son of God it can be interpreted metaphorically, as it has been when the same term has been used elsewhere for others including  Adam (Luke 3:38), Moses (Exodus 7:1), the disciples of Jesus (Matthew 5:44-45), and the Isrealites (Exodus 4:22).

Jesus? I'm not really sure. by N. R. Patel
While Jesus isn't commonly associated with Hinduism, I know of several Hindu friends who do believe him to have a divine status. Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, represented the view of many Hindus when he said: "Jesus occupies in my heart the place of one of the greatest teachers who has had a considerable influence in my life." The fact is that while Jesus' status might well be uncertain within the Hindu faith, what is certain - according to strong historical evidence - is that a great teacher, philosopher and peace-lover was born around 2,000 years ago and the teaching he spread has had a profound impact on human history. Whether we believe in Christianity or not, we can all admire and benefit from Jesus' teachings, such as 'Love thy neighbour'.

In the end, I think differences in opinion are healthy and people should respect one another's beliefs.

What do you think? Are the Christians right when they say Jesus was God/the son of God, or are the Muslims right in thinking he was a prophet or perhaps taking the attitude he was a great teacher and philosopher best?

Leave your thoughts below.


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