Of all the founders of the world’s major religions, none has made as a profound impact in the history of mankind, as Yeshua Jesus Christ. He was a radical in His time, changing as it were the order of things in society, somewhat even going against them and bringing all of mankind into new possibilities and hope. He is the one whose name is constantly mouthed and screeched by all and sundry, when they strike their foot against a stone, “Jesus!”
I’ve never quite fathomed why ‘the world’ does this. One thing I understand though, even as the day draws nigh unto His return, is that His tomb is empty and that He claimed to be God. Not once, not twice, but several times throughout the scripture, Yeshua was quoted as saying, “I am God,” “I and the Father are one.”
Let us examine the founders of other religions briefly.
Buddha proved himself to be a man of great intellect, but a man nonetheless. Mohammed on the other hand acknowledged that there were other great prophets before him; Moses and *Jesus* but somewhat as the “last and greatest prophet”, he said that ‘his sayings superseded their teachings.’
As for Hinduism; the religion is based on the premise of a multitude of gods and goddesses symbolizing the one abstract supreme being or Brahman. The most fundamental of Hindu dieties are the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; many other gods such as Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman and goddesses like Lakshmi, Durga, Kali and Saraswati are popular among hindus all over the world. Moreover, to a hindu, all avatars (incarnations of god) are mythical and non-historical. Which is to say, they have never declared themselves to be God.
The New Testament of the bible leaves no doubt that Jesus and His followers claimed that He was God. It’s interesting to note, that even outside of Christendom; Jewish and Roman historians, as well as writers that were anti-Christ confirmed in their discourses that Jesus and His followers claimed He was God.
Reporting on Emperor Nero’s decision to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote: “Nero fastened the guilt..on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty (crucifixion) during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of ..Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome.”
Another important source of evidence about Jesus and early Christianity can be found in the letters of Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan. Pliny was Roman governor of Birhynia in Asia Minor. In one of his letters, dated round 112 AD, he asks for Trajan’s advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians. Pliny says he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class and sex stood accused of Christianity.
At one point in his letter, Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians noting that, “They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to fasify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food-but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”
We have then to say that from both Christian and non-Christian sources, it is an undeniable fact that Jesus claimed to be God.
The claim that He was God, resulted in Him being arrested, tried and crucified on the cross, apparently for ‘blasphemy’ in claiming to be God. If we examine the life and teachings of Yeshua Jesus Christ, we observe that He was neither a lunatic or one of unsound mind, as many who have professed they were God through the times, these ones have fizzled out and have been forgotten, waved away into the anals of madmen. Yeshua Jesus Christ on the other hand, is well recognized throughout the world, through history as the ‘greatest man that ever walked the earth.’
Researcher Robert Morey stipulates, “There is more historical evidence for Jesus Christ than for any other historical person. There are literary works from his friends and foes, archeological evidence, letters correspondence and historians.”
I believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, I believe that He was God. Do you?