It has been said that if Jesus is not God, then we should worship the man who thought Him up, because never did any man speak that way before or since.
The teachings that I that are in the bible, especially about the kingdom, have truth that is self-validating. They resonate with the experience of people throughout all the ages. When these principles are put into practice, they lead invariably to peace, harmony, victory, and love. This does not mean that the teachings of Jesus will not bring conflict. Because when someone accepts the teachings of God, there will be conflict with those who wish to continue in evil.
Jesus’ words pulsate with wisdom. For example, His concept about civil government: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). The concept of God as a Spirit: “Those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). The Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Matthew 5:44). The greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind … Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus’ understanding of the sweep of history was absolutely superb. There has never been anyone in history who has even come close to Him. Above all else, Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to people, sent His Spirit to people, and has transformed the lives of millions. Wherever you find the gospel, you find progress, freedom, liberty, and family loyalty–all the things that human beings acknowledge as the desires of their hearts. It is not coincidental that the nations that have been characterized as “Christian” have surpassed the rest of the world for centuries in almost every measure of achievement.
It is true that there have been many crimes perpetrated upon humanity in the name of Christianity, but those who did such things did not really know Christ or His teachings. Christ did not lead people to persecute and torture Jews and “heretics.” Many so-called “heretics” were actually ones who knew the Lord, and they were being persecuted by zealots who did not know Him.
What happens in religion is that one generation finds Jesus and lives for Him. The next generation learns His teaching by rote. The third generation does not really know it at all, but decides to use religion as a justification for holding on to temporal power. Such people launched the crusades and conducted the Inquisition. They were using religion, but they did not know Jesus. Wherever you find political power and worldly ambition using Christianity, you will often find the absence of New Testament truth. Then there may be sinful excesses done in the name of religion. Neither Jesus nor His teachings should be blamed for sinful excesses committed under cover of His name.
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