Saturday, August 19, 2006

"Either Jesus is God or a blasphemous liar"

Last week, Anony wrote: "I had an interesting conversation the other day with my non-Catholic friends. I asked them if they believed in the risen Christ and they said they did. Actually they believed all the aspects of Jesus. I then asked why didn't they convert to Christianity and the answer was they believed in all prophets that came to the world whether it be Muhammed, Buddha etc. Their fundamental belief was that all religions were the same. They went on to say that all the prophets have said "Follow me and you will attain salvation." What are your thoughts on this?"

Thanks for the question, Anony, and great witness! My first reply to someone who puts other prophets on the same level as Christ is, "how many of them have risen from the dead?" Christ is the only one. That's what separates him from any other prophet or religious leader. The Resurrection of Christ shows us that he has power that no other human person has: power over death. It reveals that Christ is not just a man, like all the other prophets are. It shows that all that he taught is true, and that He is the Son of God and the Savior for whom mankind has been waiting.

St. Paul says that if Christ isn't risen from the dead, Christianity is pointless. "If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith" (1 Cor 15:14). C.S. Lewis wrote, "In the face of foolishness that contends that Jesus was a good man or a prophet or a wise moral guide, but that He was only a man, that Jesus is either God or a blasphemous liar". Msgr. Thomas Wells added, "Let us play no games of trying to make Him into a teacher of unforgettable sayings. He is either the God who will judge me or a liar".

Anony, this is a direct challenge to your friends who believe "all the aspects of Jesus" but only on a level of being a good prophet or something. Either he is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6) or he is not. Either "no one comes to the Father except through (Christ)" (Jn 14:6) or not. Either Christ is "I AM" (Jn 8:58) -the God revealed in the Old Testament - or he is not. Either he is the "living bread that came down from heaven" (Jn 6:51) or he is not.

If we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the one to follow. All of the Old Testament points to Christ, and the New Testament looks back on Christ. Christ is the Word of God. He is written about indirectly in the Old Testament and directly in the New. If someone rejects Jesus as the Christ, then they reject that the Bible is the written Word of God. Either Sacred Scripture is the Word of God or it is not.

What would Jesus say about others who claim, "follow me and you will attain salvation"?
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them" (Mt 7:15)

"If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect" (Mt 24:23-24).

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