Christianity stands apart from all the religions of the world. One important reason is that its founder, Jesus Christ, claimed to be fully God. Buddha did not claim to be God; Moses never said he was Jehovah; Muhammad did not say he was Allah; and Zoroaster never claimed to be Ahura Mazda. Yet the lowly Carpenter from Nazareth declared that whoever had truly seen Him (Jesus) had seen His Father (John 14:9). Christ said He existed before Abraham: “‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM’” (John 8:56-58), the name God called Himself (see Ex 3:14).
Christ said that He was equal to the Father: “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:17-18).
Jesus also declared, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:21-22). He not only claimed to be God, He proved Himself to be God, among other things, by raising people from the dead!
Christ said that He could forgive sins. In Mark 2:5-7, we read, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” The power to forgive sins against God is something which the Bible clearly teaches only God can do. The Hebrew prophet Isaiah records God as saying, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (43:25).
Christ’s claims are unmistakable. When He asked the religious authorities why they wanted to stone Him, they replied, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood what He was claiming for Himself even if modern skeptics do not.
The New Testament teaches that Christ is the Creator of the universe. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). He continues to hold all things together. “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). Paul says Christ was God manifest in human flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). The apostle John refers to Christ as “the Word” and says “the Word was God” (John 1:1).
The true identity of Jesus the Christ is central to Christianity. Between the person of Jesus Christ and the religions of the world and their founders there is an impassable gulf. Confucianism is a set of teachings; Confucius himself is not central. Islam is supposed to be the revelation of Allah, with Mohammed being only his prophet. Buddhism emphasizes the principles of Buddha but not Buddha himself. And in the Hindu religion, there is no known historic founder. But at the core of Christianity is Christ. He did not just teach about truth, He claimed to be the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Who Jesus Christ is—this is the important question for you. Is He the Son of God? Is He the only way to reach God? Is He who He claimed to be? Is He who He proves to be?
This is why we say that Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship. You do not become a Christian by merely knowing about Christ and His teachings; you need to know Him personally by receiving Him by personal belief: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). This knowing comes through being honest with God about what the Bible diagnoses to be your true condition as a sinner before Him, but also by being willing to receive, as a free gift, His forgiveness through Christ’s death for you. He also provides the power to live a new kind of life through His Son, made alive again through His resurrection. Yes, Christianity is Christ!