I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
In what ways is Christianity unique? First, no religious leader other than Jesus claimed to forgive people of their sins and grant them eternal life. Yet Jesus consistently taught that His purpose in coming to the world was not just to point people to forgiveness from God but through His death to be the means by which people can be forgiven by God:
“The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25).
Jesus also claimed to conquer death. Jesus prophesied that He would be killed by His enemies and then rise from the dead three days later (Matthew 16:21; Mark 14:27-28). Furthermore, Jesus taught that His resurrection would prove He was the Son of God (Matthew 12:38-40). Jesus’ resurrection differentiates Him from all other religious leaders. No other religious leader died in public, was buried in a guarded tomb, and rose from the dead.
Jesus claimed He would return to judge the world. Jesus taught that He would one day return to the earth to reward the righteous and judge the unrighteous. No other religious leader made such a grandiose claim. But Jesus did—frequently (Matthew 25:31-33; John 5:28-29).
Another notable distinction between Jesus and other religious leaders is that other faiths teach a person’s eternal destination is determined by worshiping the founder’s god or obeying the founder’s edicts. But Jesus taught that peoples’ eternal destiny depended upon their acceptance or rejection of Himself as the Son of God (John 3:17-18; 8:24).
Finally, the founders of other religions went through a period of uncertainty of their identity or searching for spiritual light. But at age 12, Jesus evidenced a clear understanding of His identity and life mission. Instead of searching for spiritual light like other leaders, Jesus claimed to be the Light of the world (John 8:12).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know Christianity Is the Right Religion?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.