The uniqueness of Jesus
If Christianity is unique and it hinges on the person of Jesus Christ, then, logically, there must be unique features about Jesus that separate him from all other prophets and others who have founded religions. Here are six features about Jesus that set him apart from every other person who has ever existed.
(1) He is the only historical person that has ever claimed to be God. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, didn’t. Muhammad didn’t. Jesus didn’t claim to represent God, he claimed to be God! We are, of course, excluding people who have mental problems and various Indian deities whose existence is mythical rather than historical. Here are some of the claims to be God that Jesus made. John 5:18, John 8: 56-58 cf Ex 3:6 &14, John 10:33.
(2) His entrance into the world was unique. Born of a virgin. A supernatural conception. If someone claims to be God, then we would expect his entrance into the world to be unique. If it wasn’t, then it would be easy to argue that he was simply another man. No other religious leader has claimed a virgin birth.
(3) His exit from the world was unique. He rose from the dead. No other religious leader or prophet has claimed to rise from the dead. Once again, this is logically consistent with what we would expect God to do if he were to exit this world. He simply couldn’t remain dead; otherwise it would be more logical to assume that he was just another man.
(4) He was the only person whose life was completely mapped out before he arrived. The Bible not only predicted his appearing but gave details concerning where he would be born and when. These details (Daniel 9) were comprehensive enough for wise men from the East to arrive at the exact time of his birth. His death was described in so much detail in the Old Testament, in particular Isaiah 53 & Psalm 22 that it would have been impossible for anyone but Jesus to fulfill it. There are 55 prophecies regarding Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, resurrection & role in the church that were uniquely filled by Jesus. The probability of completing any eight of these prophecies is 10 to power of 17. Put another way, if the state of Texas was covered with this many silver dollars, it would cover the whole state two foot (60 cm) thick. Mark one silver dollar and send a blindfolded man into the state and he has only one chance to choose that dollar! It is a mark of authenticity that no other religious leader can claim. Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet of God is no more valid than if I declare that I, Peter Toth, am a prophet of God sent to bring the truth to the world. There is no independent external verification of Muhammad’s claim or my claim. I may even, over time, convince many people to follow me. The number of people who follow me doesn’t in any way validate my claim. Whether I knowingly or unknowingly deceive hundreds of millions into following my teaching is immaterial, my claim must have an independent stamp of truth over which I have no direct control.
(5) Jesus’ purpose in coming was to die. The high point of his life was his death.For every other prophet or religious founder, the high point of their lives was their teachings, their death being a relative non-event. Although Jesus is arguably the greatest teacher that has ever lived, his teachings would have meant nothing if it was not for his death and resurrection. Christianity is not about obedience to a set of teachings but about a person. It is about Jesus and his death and resurrection. Christianity is about a relationship, not a set of rules that other religions have.
(6)Jesus is the only person who has ever lived who was sinless. Only a sinless person can forgive sins Matthew 9:1-7. No other prophet claimed to be sinless. Muhammad never claimed to be sinless. The Buddha never claimed perfection. Jesus was perfect. Once again, this is logically consistent with his claim to be God. We would expect God to be perfect. God doesn’t make mistakes.