As I read Scripture it is evident that the central crux of faith is Jesus Christ. Everything we believe is based on the revelation of Him. We know Jesus is someone recognized even outside of Christianity. He made such an impact that most religions have something to say about him. Is Jesus central to their faith? Let’s look:
1) ISLAM- Isa Ibn Maryam is known as Jesus in the New Testament and is considered a messenger of God. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary according to the Qur’an. Jesus was not killed on the cross but raised up to Heaven by God. Jesus considered himself Muslim and taught the straight way. He is not the greatest prophet, that accolade going to Muhammed. Jesus is not considered God but a prophet of God.
2) HINDUISM- Ishu, who was born in a cowshed, was visited by three holy men, performed many amazing miracles, walked on water and spoke a wonderful sermon on a mountain. Ishu being Jesus in Hinduism. Jesus is seen as much more, as an Avatar, specifically a Shaktavesha Avatar or an empowered incarnation. This means that God has sent Jesus for a specific mission to fulfill God’s will on earth. They believe that Jesus was murdered but he did not resurrect but reincarnated. Jesus is not considered God but an Avatar.
3) JUDAISM- Yeshua was one of many false messiahs in Judaism. Yeshua being the Hebrew name for Jesus. They do give Jesus the distinction of being the most damaging of all false messiahs. The Jewish leaders had Jesus killed but not for claiming to be the messiah. Jesus claimed to be God (Jn 10:30; Lk 22:70; Jn 8:56-58), blasphemy to the Jews. Judaism taught that no one outside the Father could be worshiped less they commit idolatry. They condemned Jesus on the charges of blasphemy. Jesus was a false messiah and a miscreant according to Judaism.
4) BUDDHISM- Buddhism is considered a philosophical approach to life more than a religion. It has little intersection with Christianity and very little to say about Jesus. Some modern Buddhists have said that Jesus was Buddha reincarnated. There have been several Buddhists who have drawn parallels between Jesus and Buddha’s teachings. Without the need for faith or any real belief system, Buddhism recognizes Jesus as an enlightened man with great influence but not divine.
5) JEHOVAH WITNESS- JW has a lot to say about Jesus. Jesus was the firstborn of creation and not considered to be God. They reject the idea of the Trinity seeing it as polytheistic (more than one god). JWs’ teach that Jesus pre-existent form in Heaven was as Michael, the Archangel. He took on human form for the purpose of setting people free from sin and death. Only a select few are really saved by being JW and doing certain good works. Jesus has no real power to save in that he is not divine.
6) LATTER DAY SAINTS (MORMONS)- LDS church desires to be viewed as a Christian denomination. They are adamant that they fit within the Christian worldview. So what do they believe about Jesus? According to LDS, Jesus was the son of God in Heaven along with his brother, Lucifer. Lucifer went the path of the devil and Jesus stayed faithful to His Father’s calling. A precursory look of LDS belief on Jesus is comparable to Christianity’s teachings about Jesus. The problem lies in what is not said but insinuated. For example, LDS teach that all people are saved by the blood of Christ regardless of whether or not they put their trust in him. This is starkly in contrast to what the Bible teaches about salvation (Jn 14:6; Rmn 10:9-13; Mt 7:21) LDS holds to Universalism. They also teach that works and special rites as set by the LDS church determine your position in heaven. Achievement can result in LDS males being declared god over their own planet! There is no denying that there are many similarities between LDS and Christianity’s belief on Jesus but the subtle differences make these two different faiths altogether.
7) SCIENTOLOGY- Jesus is recognized by scientologists as part of its early religious heritage. Scientology teaches that man is basically good at his core and he alone can free himself from the trappings of his mind. The idea that Jesus was God is considered fiction to Scientologists and comes from unenlightened minds.
A few closing comments to ponder:
1) What we believe about Jesus will determine our eternal destiny. John 14:6- I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except by me.
2) Most other religions recognize Jesus but He must be declared as fully human and fully God or it is not the Jesus of the Bible (Col 1).
3) Religions want to play nice with Jesus but he must be made supreme or we do nothing but insult him (Phill 2:10).
4) Every religion should be boiled down to what it believes about Jesus and then be measured by that in accordance with Scripture (Acts 4:12).