Summary: To explore what Jesus and the Christian faith have that makes them unique in our world full of religions.
Jesus Makes Christianity Unique.
Scripture Reading: John 14:1-7
Text: John 14:6
Sermon Idea: To explore what Jesus and the Christian faith have that makes them unique in our world full of religions.
Jews, Muslims and Christians have one thing in common. They all worship one God. But that is where the similarities end.
The Christian faith is based in a large part upon the belief that God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the God-Man.
Islam sees Muhammad as the greatest prophet to ever live. They consider him to be greater than Jesus. Whom they also consider just a prophet. They don’t see Muhammad as divine. To do so would be blasphemy to them.
Buddhism however is entirely different. Their great prophet Buddha did attain divine status. They believe that anyone who becomes a serious student of Buddhism can attain this enlightened state. Buddha is not unique he has only attained what others can attain.
So how does Jesus make Christianity unique. Well one way He makes Christianity unique is that He is both fully God and fully human. He is unconventional. He tells us who He is. He came to die for us. He rose again.
It would be convenient if Jesus fit neatly into the kind of categories we construct for people and things so that we can be comfortable. But He doesn’t and that is one of the things that makes Him unique.
I. The Unique Jesus. (v. 6)
For centuries people have been confused about Jesus. How could He be both man and God? In the first few centuries of Christianity, some Christian groups tried to explain this in simplified terms. They taught that Jesus was the adopted Son of God, not fully divine as God is. The adoption took place when the voice from heaven came at Jesus’ baptism, proclaiming, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). But first we need to take a look back and see where this teaching began. It came out of the passage which is known to the Jews as Shema. It has become the Jewish creed of faith. In Deuteronomy 6:4, it says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” They understood that God is one, they could not see how Jesus could be divine. As far as they were concerned, to say Jesus was God was to contradict the Old Testament affirmation that God is one. Eventually this view of Jesus’ adoption died out.
Another group tried to resolve the problem by arguing that Jesus was truly God, but He only appeared to be human. He was actually a spirit disguised as a person with a human body. He had all the power and knowledge but chose not to reveal them except in a limited way, in order to fit in with society and the culture of His time. Again this idea was rejected by the early church.
Most scholars say that 1 John was written to combat this way of thinking. John wrote, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 Jn. 4:2-3).
John also declares, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). A little later we read, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14).
If we abandon the divine nature of Jesus, we end up rejecting the idea that God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ, He remains remote and we cannot know Him in a personal and intimate way.
On the other hand, if we abandon the humanity of Jesus, we deny the incarnation. When we make Jesus all divine but not human, He would be far removed from where we live. Far from our trials and temptations, far from our pain and suffering, far from our finite existence. We could excuse our sinfulness by saying that the reason Jesus was able to live a holy life was because He was God. We might ask, How can I be holy when I’m only human? But Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
Jesus got tired, thirsty, and hungry. John tells us He had normal limitations and emotions on His human body. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He enjoyed eating so much that He was accused of being a glutton. He experienced anger. He was bound by time and space. He lived at a particular time in history and lived according to the customs of that time. Even historians, such as Josephus of first-century Palestine, confirm that Jesus lived then there.