The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ (Part 1)

A brother, who reads my blog from Tanzania wrote to me asking about the uniqueness of Jesus when contrasted with every other religious figure, and why He is worthy to be followed. In response I have thought right to write a series of articles addressing this question. I hope this proves helpful for many. These articles will not be exhaustive, but in them I hope to will stir up serious thought, that culminates in a personal relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior.

It is a noteworthy thought that Christianity as a worldview is built on the Person and work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who lived and died about A.D 28. Of all the figures in history, none has had more impact on civilizations and individuals as Christ. Many debate about Him, and many believe Him. Some hate Him while others adore Him. He is a uniting figure as well as a divisive One, who has come, in His words, to ‘send fire on the earth’ (Luke 12:49). Because He divides, everyone eventually falls either on His side or against Him.

Born of the Virgin Mary, and of the stem of Jesse (Is 11:1), Jesus came to the world as the Lamb and the King. He is the Seed that crushes the dominion of the evil one, represented by the Serpent (Gen 3:15), and thus triumphs over the powers of darkness through the cross (Col 2:15). It is He who is the last Adam, perfect and blameless, who through perfect obedience purchased us to God through His blood (1 Cor 15:45, Acts 20:28).

When I think about some of the things that set Christ apart, (and many they are), these four come to mind quickly. In this article, I shall address two.

His Purity

Have you ever carefully thought about the truth that only Christ has ever lived without sin, infinitely pure and blameless? He asks His accusers, ‘who of you convicts me of sin?’, and none answers (John 8:46). Of all religions, Christianity is built on a purely perfect Being that has been blameless. There is nowhere else in the world that humanity can look to for perfection except in the face of Christ. His purity of life exalts Him above any other.

The world is attracted to perfection. But each one of us is weighed down by our own imperfections and sinfulness. We all like sheep have strayed from God, who alone is pure (Is 53:6, Rom 3:9-26). The best of the Saints is tainted with sin. As the great 20th century British Philosopher G. K. Chesterton once remarked, sin is at once the most empirically verifiable fact. Our quest for perfection cannot end until we encounter Christ not as an abstract idea but a Saving Person. We must all come to Christ for cleansing, or we will eternally be dirty.

The great hymn writer Elisha A. Hoffman penned poetically the answer to every sinner’s problem through the hymn ‘Are you washed in the Blood?’. He asked thus:

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

You and I better answer ‘yes I am’.

His Love

Jesus’ death is indeed another distinguishing mark. He remarks that greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends’ (John 15:13). Muhammad’s dagger cracked his enemies’ ribs, while the Greek gods demanded human sacrifice from their enemies for appeasement, and were constantly at war with each other. This world system runs on self-centeredness. Evolution and natural selection champions a survival for the fittest approach to life, where the strong murder the weak for survival.

But Christ through the cross sacrificed Himself for His enemies, as a demonstration of His love towards us, for ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Rom 5:8).

It is this pattern of self-denial that Christ has called us to, having left us an example (Luke 9:23, 1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 3:16). Knowing that His sacrifice reconciled us to God, and this is the gospel, we are called to abandon the attachment we have with the perishing world, seeking for the kingdom that cannot perish. We are called to live for Him alone, directing all our pursuits on Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are called to abandon idolatry. We are called to faith in Him for the redemption not only of our souls, but that of others, including our enemies. This is a distinctive of Christianity.

Therefore, as we are called to manifest His sacrificial love through our bodies and lives, others are reconciled to God through our self-sacrifice (2 Cor 5:17-21). Not that we can save men, only Him can. But that as we die to self and live to God in Christ, His Spirit lives through our mortal bodies, exalting Christ. Therefore, because we are followers of Christ, we pray for those who hate us. We don’t kill them, we don’t curse them, we pray for them, knowing that Christ at the cross forgave His enemies.

Those who seek the greatest demonstration of love will come to Christ. And as Christians, love is our distinguishing mark. But also, those who are weighed down by their sins can come to the cross for cleansing, for His blood washes away our sins. There is a fountain filled with blood flowing from Emmanuel’s veins.

I think Stuart Townend’s ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us’ strikes at the heart of this. Listen carefully and interestedly to these lines:

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Will you receive His love and live in His obedience, as you gaze at His holiness?