1. What makes
Jesus different ...
2. But why
would God send His Son into the World?
3. How could
Jesus be God...
4. Why does
Jesus frequently refer to Himself as "the Son of
So Jesus came to tell us about God's Love?
6. Why did
the religious leaders reject Him?
7. If all of
this true, what good is it to me today?
8. But aren't
such beliefs rather bigoted and narrow-minded?
9. But can't
you just say "God" ...
10. How can
a person become a Christian, when the history of
Christianity is so darkened ...
11. How can
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt ... the way of
by D Berg
What makes Jesus different
from the other great religious teachers, prophets or
If any adjective were to describe Jesus, it would be
--His message was unique. The claims He
made regarding Himself were unique. His miracles were
unique. And the influence He has had on the World is
unsurpassed by any other.
One very outstanding and undeniably unique aspect of
Jesus' life is that literally hundreds of detailed
predictions and prophecies were made by ancient prophets
and seers, many centuries before He was born.
--Specific details regarding His birth,
life and death, that no mere mortal man could possibly
In the first books of the Bible, known as the "Old
Testament," over 300 such predictions about the
"Messiah" or "Saviour" can be found.
The discovery of hundreds of ancient Old Testament
manuscripts by archaeologists during this century has
proven without a doubt that these prophecies were indeed
written before this man called Jesus was born.
Here is a small sampling of the kind of specific
predictions we're talking about: In 750 B.C., the prophet
Isaiah made the astounding prediction that:
"The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a
virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His
name Emmanuel."--Isaiah 7:14.
7-1/2 centuries later, a young virgin girl in Israel
named Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, who
announced to her that she would bear a Son Who would be
called Emmanuel, which means "God with us."
The books of the Bible which were
written after Jesus came to Earth, the "New
Testament," tell us that, "Mary said to the
angel, `How can this be, seeing I have not lain with any
man?' And the angel answered, `The Spirit of God shall
come upon you, and the power of the Almighty shall
overshadow you! Therefore that Holy One which shall be
born of you shall be called the Son of God!'"--Luke
So even the very beginning of His life on Earth--His
conception and birth--were not only unique, but
miraculous, in that the simple and humble young girl who
became His mother had never slept with a man!
In fact, the Bible tells us that the
news of her pregnancy was so shocking to the young man to
whom she was engaged to be married, Joseph, that when he
learned about it he promptly decided to break off the
engagement and call off the wedding!
--Until the angel of the Lord appeared
to him also, and instructed him to stay with her and rear
and protect the very special child that she was carrying.
A full 800 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Micah
foretold the exact village where the Messiah would
"You, Bethlehem, though you are small among the
clans of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto
Me Who is to be ruler over Israel; Whose goings forth
have been of old, from days of Eternity."--Micah 5:2
Although His earthly parents lived in the town of
Nazareth, 100 miles to the north of Bethlehem, a decree
from Rome demanded that all families return to their
ancestral homes to register for a worldwide census. The
decree came just as Mary's child was due to be
born.--Thus God used a Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, to
help bring about the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy.
Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem, and upon their
arrival, Mary went into labour, and as the Gospels inform
us, "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea"
(Matthew 2:1), just as the prophet Micah predicted.
Micah's prophecy also tells us that the Messiah "Has
been of old, from days of Eternity." Jesus Himself
said, "Before Abraham was (around 2000 B.C.), I
AM."--John 8:58. Abraham was the forefather of the
Jews and Arabs, who lived about 2,000 years before Jesus
was born to Mary. So Jesus was referring here to His
pre-existence with God before His life on Earth in the
form of a man.
Though born in Bethlehem, Jesus grew up in Nazareth. In
His first recorded public address there, He openly
declared that He indeed was the fulfillment of the Old
Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. While
attending the local house of worship, He stood up before
the crowd and read a prophecy from the book of the
prophet Isaiah. In the passage, Isaiah predicted that the
Messiah would be anointed with the Spirit of God to
"preach Good News to the poor, to heal the broken
hearted, to give freedom to the captives, recovering of
sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are
oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the
Lord."--Isaiah 61:1,2. The New Testament tells us
that after He read this prophecy aloud to the
congregation, Jesus told them, "Today is this
Scripture fulfilled in your ears!"--Luke 4:18-21.
Another outstanding prophecy regarding the Messiah was
made by Israel's King David around the year 1000 B.C., or
over 10 centuries before Jesus was born. In his prophecy,
David gave details of a cruel and agonising death which
he himself never suffered:
"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are
out of joint. My heart is like wax, it has melted within
me...Like a pack of dogs, they have surrounded me; a
company of evil doers has encircled me. They have pierced
my hands and my feet. They divide my clothing among them
and cast lots for my garment."--Psalm 22:14-18.
King David died a peaceful, natural death, so we know he
was not talking about himself in this passage of
Scripture. But being a prophet, he predicted with
unerring accuracy the circumstances surrounding the cruel
death on the cross of the Messiah, the Christ that was to
come. Let's examine some of the details outlined in the
"I am poured out like water...my heart is melted
within me." Jesus not only poured out His life for
us spiritually, but the New Testament tells us that
shortly after He died, while He was still hanging on the
cross, "one of the soldiers pierced His side with a
spear, and immediately blood and water flowed
out."--John 19:34. Modern medical authorities have
affirmed that in the case of heart rupture--when a human
heart literally bursts open under extreme stress and
trauma--the blood collects in the pericardium, the
membranous sac that encloses the heart and the roots of
the main blood vessels. This blood then separates into a
sort of bloody clot and a watery serum, thus when the
soldier pierced His side, His life was literally,
"poured forth like water." (Unwittingly, this
Roman soldier fulfilled another prophecy, "They will
look upon Me whom they have pierced," a prophecy
given by the Prophet Zechariah around 500 B.C.--Zechariah
"All my bones are out of joint."--This is one
of the horrors of death by crucifixion; the weight of the
victim's body literally pulls his arms out of their
"Like a pack of dogs...a company of evil doers has
encircled me." The New Testament tells us that
Jesus' wicked and vengeful religious enemies, the Scribes
and the Pharisees, gathered around Him as He was nailed
on the cross, mocking and reviling Him.--Matthew
"They have pierced my hands and my feet." This
is probably the most astounding prediction within this
prophecy. Crucifixion was not practiced by the Jews of
David's time. Their religious laws demanded that
criminals be executed by stoning.
But God showed His Prophet, David, how
the Messiah would die 10 centuries later, executed at the
hands of an empire that did not even exist in David's
day, Rome, whose principal means of executing criminals
"They divide my clothing among
them and cast lots for my garment." In the Gospels
of the New Testament we find the almost incredible
fulfillment of this prophecy: "When the soldiers had
crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, and divided them
into four shares, one for each of them, with the
undergarment (a long robe-like tunic) remaining. This
garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to
bottom. So they said one to another, `Let us not tear it,
but let us cast lots to decide whose it shall
In 487 B.C., the Prophet Zechariah
predicted: "And I said unto them, if you think well,
give me my price; and if not, keep it. So they paid me 30
pieces of silver."--Zechariah 11:12.
On the night that Jesus was arrested by His enemies, the
New Testament tells us that, "One of the twelve
Apostles, Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and
said to them, `What will you give me if I deliver Him to
and they counted out for him 30 pieces
of silver."--Matthew 26:14,15.
Imagine!--Over five hundred years before the event took
place, God's Prophet, Zechariah, predicted the exact
"price" that Jesus' enemies would pay to His
traitorous disciple, Judas! In the next verse of
Zechariah's prophecy, he goes into even more astounding
"And the Lord said, `Cast it unto the Potter--the
handsome price at which they priced Me!' So the 30 pieces
of silver were taken and cast to the Potter in the house
of the Lord."--Zechariah 11:13.
The New Testament tells us that, "When Judas saw
that Jesus was condemned, he repented, and returned the
30 pieces of silver to the chief priests of the Jews, and
he cast down the pieces of silver in the Temple. Then the
chief priests picked up the silver pieces and said, `It
is against our law to put it into our treasury because it
is blood-money.' So they used the money to buy a Potter's
field, to bury foreigners in."--Matthew 27:3-6. The
30 pieces of silver were literally "cast to the
Potter in the house of the Lord"!--Just as Zechariah
predicted 500 years earlier!
In 712 B.C., the prophet Isaiah predicted that the Son of
God would "be given a grave with the wicked, and
with the rich in His death."--Isaiah 53:9.
Jesus' bitter religious enemies condemned Him as a
criminal, as a wicked man, thus as He died, the Bible
tells us "there were two robbers crucified with
Him."--Matthew 27:38. After His body was removed
from the cross, "a rich man named Joseph of
Arimathaea went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of
Jesus, and when Joseph had taken the body, he laid it in
his own new tomb."--Matthew 27:57-60.--A "grave
with the rich!"
1,000 years before Jesus was born, the Spirit of God
prophesied through King David that the Saviour would be
resurrected from the dead: "God will not leave His
soul in the grave, neither will He suffer His Holy One to
see corruption or decay."--Psa.16:10.
King David died and was buried in a grave, and his flesh
saw corruption and decay. But Jesus was raised from the
grave three days after His death!--As the Angel said to
the mourners who came to Jesus' tomb, "He is not
here, but is risen! Why do you seek the living among the
What mere human can choose his own
birthplace? Or what mortal man can--or would--cause the
officials of a foreign government to order his death by a
terribly agonising execution? How could anyone manipulate
their bitter enemies to pay a specific price for their
betrayal, mock and revile them as they are dying, much
less cause a band of soldiers to gamble for their
clothing and pierce their side after they've died, &
cause a rich man to bury their body in his own personal
tomb? Yet Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled not only these, but
over 300 more specific predictions regarding His birth,
life, ministry, death and resurrection!--Truly He
was--and is--"unique" in every sense of the
Not one of the great recognised
religious leaders--not Moses, not Buddha, not Confucius,
not Mohammed--ever claimed to be God. True, some have
been deified by their followers after they died, but none
ever personally claimed to be Deity.--That is, with the
exception of Jesus Christ. In fact, He not only claimed
to be the Son of God, God manifest in human flesh, but He
convinced a great portion of the World that He in fact is
This is probably the greatest difference between Jesus
and all of the other great philosophers, teachers,
prophets and gurus throughout the ages. Although many of
them spoke and taught about love and about God, Jesus
claimed that He was Love, that He was God's Love for the
World.--Thus He really knew what He was talking about!
Either He was right, or He was terribly wrong.--Either He
was good, and spoke the truth, or He was evil, a deceiver
and a liar!
The famous intellectual and former professor of Cambridge
University, C.S. Lewis, expressed it this way:
"There is a really foolish thing that people often
say about Him: `I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great
moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be
God.'--That is one thing that we must not say. A man who
was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus
said would not be `a great moral teacher'. He would
either be a lunatic--on a level with a man who claims he
is a poached egg--or else He would be the Devil of Hell!
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is,
the Son of God: Or else a mad man or something worse.
"You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him
and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and
call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any
patronising nonsense about His being a `great human
teacher'. He has not left that option open to us, He did
not intend to."
Another unlikely authority on such matters, the emperor
& conqueror of nations, Napoleon Bonaparte, also
rightly recognised the absolute uniqueness of Jesus,
& expressed it in these words:
"I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no
mere man. Between Him and every other person in the World
there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander,
Caesar, Charlemagne and I have founded empires. But on
what did we rest the creations of our genius?--Upon
force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon Love, and at
this hour millions of men would die for Him."