July 28th 2010

Jesus Is Unique

“We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:14 (NIV)

Is the Jesus story unique or are there others like it?

Some scholars of the 19th and 20th centuries suggest that the accounts of Jesus are a collection of myths borrowed from other cultures and religions.

A well-know example, much publicized via television and the worldwide web, is the idea that the biblical Jesus is founded on the cult of Mithraism. The contention is that, among other suggested parallels, Jesus, just like Mithras, was born of a virgin, was a great teacher, sacrificed himself for the world and was resurrected. Any casual investigation would show that the first recorded texts about Mithras occurred well after the writing of the gospels, and therefore the copycat idea can be dismissed. What’s more Mithras, according to the legends, was born out of a rock, not a woman; was not a teacher who walked among the people; and did not sacrifice himself – in fact, he did not die and therefore there is no resurrection story.

There are also fables about agricultural and fertility gods that die in the winter only to rise again in the spring. Was the Jesus story based loosely on them? Again, the similarities do not stand up to close inspection. Jesus did not die in winter. He does not die and get resurrected every year on some seasonal basis. “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people” (Hebrews 9:28).

A major point to note about Jesus Christ is that he is a historically documented real person, not some mythical fabrication like Mithras or the Egyptian deity Osiris or the Greek Adonis.

And the story of Jesus is unique. Only Christianity discusses how the gracious and compassionate “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Prayer
Glorious Father, thank you that the one and only Jesus died for me in order that I may live in your fellowship forever.  In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by SEP Staff

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