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Why Follow Jesus?

Chapter 11: The Person of Jesus

You have already learnt a number of things about Jesus that were probably new to you. You also saw how Muslims and Christians share the belief that Jesus is the prophet of God; He is the Word and Spirit of God. Now let us consider the person of Jesus in greater depth.

In Jewish history before Jesus, miracles had been mostly associated with prophets. The Qur'an ascribes to Moses similar miracles to those mentioned in the Bible. Moses had performed miracles, and so had other prophets. Now as people saw Jesus performing miracles, their natural response was to think that He was a prophet. On other occasions they exclaimed that a great prophet had appeared among them.[1]

The Bible states that after Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of more than 5,000 people, using five loaves of bread and two small fish, the people said, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."[2]

The Prophet they were referring to was someone that Moses had said would come. Jesus certainly claimed that He was 'The Prophet'. He told the unbelieving Jews, "If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me."[3] The question that remains is, "Was He more than a prophet?"

Jesus' sinless life

From the time of His birth He remained innocent and pure. In the Bible and in the Qur'an several prophets like Abraham, Moses and David asked God for forgiveness, but there is no verse which says that Jesus ever asked for forgiveness. He challenged His enemies openly: "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?"[4] No one was able to point out any fault in Him. Even at His trial before the Roman governor, Pilate was compelled to admit, "I find no basis for a charge against Him" [5].

It is very easy to claim that one is sinless, but the proof must surely come from the testimony of others. Jesus' friends who lived with Him, have the greatest testimony of all. Peter quotes a verse from the Old Testament with reference to Jesus: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth."[6] It says elsewhere that Jesus was "tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin". [7]

What Jesus taught others, he lived out completely. Jesus' teaching in "The Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew chapters 5 to 7) is a reflection of the pure life He led. His extraordinary claim was that He fulfilled the law of the Old Testament.

His authority over sin

It is believed that only God can forgive sins. We see that Jesus had the same authority. One day Jesus was teaching in a house. Some people came carrying a paralysed man on a mat. They tried to take him into the house but because it was very crowded they could not find a way in. So they went up and removed some of the roof to let the man down to where Jesus was.

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralysed man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The man must have been shocked to hear this. The Jewish leaders who were also present said to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and asked them, "Which is easier? to say, 'Your sins are forgiven', or to say, 'Get up and walk?'". To show them that He had the authority to forgive sins, He said to the paralysed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took his mat and went home praising God. [8]

Another time Jesus said to a woman, "Your sins are forgiven ... Go in peace." [9] She also was healed as a sign to confirm her being forgiven. Not only had He authority to forgive sin, but Jesus had control over the normal workings of nature as well. People were amazed at His power and exclaimed, "Even the winds and the waves obey Him!" [10]

When we think about Jesus' works, we see the unlimited authority He has: He healed the sick by a word, or by His touch. He also gave this authority to His apostles and they performed miracles in His name. Jesus Himself once said, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."[11]

Jesus, the lord of resurrection

There was a man called Lazarus who had died, and had been buried for four days. Jesus came up to his grave and shouted: "Lazarus, come out!", and the dead Lazarus came out alive and well![12]

Jesus claimed: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."[13] In other places the extraordinary claim is made that it is only through Jesus that we can be forgiven and saved from eternal destruction.[14] We therefore see that His deeds proved His claims. He was more than a prophet. What do you think?


References

  1. Luke 7:11-17
  2. John 6:14
  3. John 5:46 (cf Deut. 18:15-22)
  4. John 8:46; Qur'an 38:23-24; 28:15-16; 26:82
  5. John 18:38;19:4,6
  6. I Peter 2:22 (cf Isaiah 53:9)
  7. Hebrews 4:15
  8. Luke 5:17-26
  9. Luke 7:36-50
  10. Matthew 8:23-27
  11. John 14:14
  12. John 11: 1-44
  13. John 11:25
  14. John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Hebrews 7:25

 

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