I was a little guy growing up in a religious atmosphere when I first heard about Jesus Christ. My Dad was an Apostolic Pastor; my Grandpa was a Baptist Deacon; my Grandmother was a devout Methodist; my Great-Aunt was a Jehovah’s Witness. These influences were the impetus for my introduction to Him. Each one had their own understanding of who He was mostly with some degree of conflict.
As an Apostolic Pastor my Dad’s presentation of Jesus was according to the Apostle Paul’s version in his letters found in the Bible. My Grandpa’s Baptist view was based on devotion to works that he believed demonstrated an allegiant commitment to Christ. Grace Mom (my Grandmother) showed me her daily walk with Him as her personal Savior. I’ll definitely talk more about her more in this blog series. Out of all of them she influenced me the most. Last but not least was my Grandmother’s sister; Louise. She was the most entertaining. Her Jehovah’s Witness view of Christ was confusing to me however; her and her older sister would get into a debate about Jesus almost every time they were in each other’s company. I used to get a kick out of that. All these views about this mysterious, religious, possibly fictitious person nobody’s ever seen impressed upon me to find out which one was the most believable?
I heard someone say, “Religious expression is a by-product of one’s environment.” In other words: If I had grown up in a Catholic environment that would shape my belief system today. Or if I was raised in a Middle Eastern culture I would be a convert to another religion like Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism etc. To some degree that might be true. Look at how it is now. Most tend to ascribe to the religion of their up-bringing. I was brought up in a Judeo-Christian society and by extension I should be a Christian.
Okay, but what does that have to do with Jesus? Someone might ask or argue: Isn’t He just a symbol of the Christian religion like other religious symbols? The Islamic belief system would say so. They believe Isa (Jesus) was a just prophet, a wise teacher and a holy man; a mere symbol of Christians and Jews hope of salvation. Hindu’s believe He was an enlightened holy man; a wise teacher who attained god-ship as they believe in many gods and goddess’. Buddhism teaches that Jesus was a wise, and good teacher who was divine, but not the only way to Heaven. Other religions such as Rama and Krishna teach that Jesus was one of many “ishtas” (forms of the divine).
After researching other religious views about Jesus the thing I find most interesting is they all have a basic view of Him. He was a good man, holy man, divine man, wise man and so on. Some believe He was an iconic figure, but not historic. Some accept Him as historic, but only a man. If the latter is true let’s start there. History says he was a Jew. What do the Jews say about him? They say he was the son of Mary and Joseph who grew up to make some very bold claims about being their long awaited Messiah (Savior).
Over multiple decades, centuries and millennia their Prophets and Scribes proclaimed they had received visions and communication from God He would one day come into the earth as the Son of God; for what? Why would He need to come here in the first place? What’s the significance (if it’s true) that He did come? Why should we care? Let’s talk about it in the next blog. I think it’s an interesting topic especially in light of the many views concerning the most talked about, written about, human being in all of history without equal. Maybe, we’ll come away with a better understanding. Until next time be blessed God willing.