Tuesday, 02 September 2014 18:16

Why Jesus?

Written by  Matthew Jordan
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Imagine walking into a college classroom, a bar, or, for that matter, a church, and asking people the following question: When you think of Jesus Christ, what are some of the words that come to mind? What would they say? Some possibilities seem like a pretty safe bet… Good. Holy. Merciful. Righteous. Miracle-worker. God the Son. Messiah. Redeemer. Savior. Cynical members of your audience might add a few less reverent phrases to the list, but by and large, people have a very positive view of the Lord Jesus; I suspect that you’d hear all of the terms above sooner rather than later. Any Christian, of course, will be quick to endorse all of these as apt descriptions of our Lord. So far, so good.


There is, however, an important category of interrelated terms that most people don’t typically apply to Jesus. That category includes words like… Smart. Intelligent. Genius. Insightful. Think about this for a moment. It is an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? While working on this column, I did a Google search for the phrase “words associated with Jesus.” The first link that came up listed 203 words, but not one which would suggest that Jesus was particularly bright. The next link was titled “100 Words to Describe Jesus Christ,” and it made the same omission—though its author did find “smiting” worthy of inclusion!


What is especially peculiar about all of this, in my opinion, is that Jesus is generally acknowledged—even by non-Christians—to be one of the greatest teachers who ever lived. And this fact helps us to respond to one of the most common challenges raised against our faith. Many people find it objectionable when Christians insist that there is just one truth. They maintain that it is intolerant or unreasonable to assert that the Christian faith is uniquely true. Now, this objection is itself quite problematic, but let’s not worry about that for now. Instead, let’s consider the challenge raised by many of our non-Christian friends and acquaintances: with so many different religions in the world, there’s no good reason to choose yours rather than any of the others.


Is that really the case? Jesus, after all, is admired as an extraordinary person by huge numbers of thoughtful and informed people, even those who are not his followers. Buddhists often point to him as a teacher in the tradition of the Buddha. Muslims consider him a prophet. Some Hindus see Jesus as an incarnation of Krishna. Many secularists point to his moral teachings as a high-water mark of the ancient world. In short, the genius of Jesus is no secret, even if we sometimes manage to hide it under a bushel.


Jesus stands head and shoulders above the rest of the world’s great teachers and religious leaders. No one—and I mean literally no one—has ever achieved near-universal admiration in the way Jesus of Nazareth has. Think about what this means for us. If we recognize, as we must, that we need help, that we’re not equipped to figure it all out for ourselves, and that we need a guide through this life, and if we survey the available options, well… who is there other than Jesus? Even setting aside the evidence for the Resurrection and the historical reliability of the New Testament, the acknowledged brilliance of Jesus Christ gives us good reason to turn to him rather than to someone else. The world already recognizes that he’s smart. Let us not fail to do the same.




Last modified on Sunday, 14 September 2014 18:21
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