A friend of mine recently declared that “Jesus, Buddha and all those other guys were aliens.” I couldn’t believe my ears. That’s ludicrous. Jesus is emphatically NOT like those “other guys.” Oh, the alien part? That didn’t bug me so much. A being from another place comes to Earth and takes on human form to dwell among the Earthlings. Not a real accurate description of Jesus, but much closer to truth than Him being “like those other guys.”
Buddha and “those other guys” were sages whose teachings influenced generations. “Their” teachings were generally about living in harmony with nature and neighbor and that through this, enlightenment and personal growth could come to those that follow the path to which they pointed. Jesus’ teachings contained many of these aspects as well. The other guys always pointed to the path of enlightenment and never pointed to themselves; the path was the way to enlightenment and self-realization. This is where Jesus was NOTHING like the other guys.
Jesus made outrageous claims about Himself (not His teachings) unlike anything the other guys ever hinted at:
Claimed to be:
- Sent by God the creator, heard from God and spoke for God; John 8:28-29 and many others
- The ONLY way to God. (Not His teachings as a way to God, but HE was the way to God.) John 14:6
- With God from the beginning and returning to God; John 17:5
- The possessor of all things; Matthew 11:27
- Able to forgive sin; Luke 5:20-21 and others
- King of the Jews; Luke 23:1-3
- The only complete source of all truth; Luke 18:36-37
- The only source of eternal life; (again, not His teachings, but Him personally) John 10: 28-30
- Destined to die and rise again; Luke 18:31-33
- The Son of Man who will return with great glory; Matthew 24:27-30
Jesus declared His own divine authority. He didn’t encourage people to follow His teachings or His path; Instead, He said crazy things like: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28. He certainly had teachings about living in harmony with nature and neighbor but He quickly pointed out that that was useless and likely impossible apart from an abiding relationship with Him. Consider this outrageous quote from Jesus’ lips recorded in John 15:4-5:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Who says stuff like that? Certainly none of the other guys. No, Jesus is NOTHING like them.
I understand how and why some have chosen not to believe Jesus’ claims. There is some sound rational reasoning for that, although I find the rational reasoning comes down on the side of believing His claims. But to think Jesus is like those other guys is just intellectually irresponsible. No more platitudes like “Jesus was a wonderful teacher of peace and love” etc. No He wasn’t. He taught that peace and love were only possible through Him personally. That’s either crazy or true. If you don’t believe Jesus claims, then let’s call Him an ego-maniacal lunatic; it’s the only other option.
Jesus is way closer to being an alien than He is to being “like those other guys.”