For centuries we human beings have been living everyday life as if we happened here by chance and have to make the best of it. This has produced in us a restless drive to survive by getting from the natural world around us whatever food and shelter we need. It has also produced in us a dreadful need to prove our worth to the rest of mankind so that we will feel some sense of self-esteem in a world full of others like ourselves. The result of such pressures has been a radical perversion of our natures which were created to depend on our loving Father Creator for all that we needed.
So, instead of a world full of relaxed, kindly people free to use their abilities to develop the world as their Creator guided them, the world is full of groups of selfish, anxious, driving people trying to survive. For two thousand years the Creator revealed to the Jewish people the ways he intended us to live. His purpose was to show them that we needed to depend on him and listen to him, but they took his descriptions of life with him as laws and tried to obey them. This brought great guilt into their consciences because they couldn’t live as he wanted unless they depended on him. So until about two thousand years ago, they and the rest of mankind lived in frustration and guilt because they could not live the way they were intended.
A Unique Human Being Was Born
Finally, after human beings had tried living as if there was no God for two thousand years, the Creator of the world put a unique man on the earth. The Roman historian, Tacitus, recorded his existence in these words: “The author of that name (Christian) was Christ who in the reign of Tiberius suffered punishment under his Procurator Pontius Pilate.” However, this man was more than a man. Early on in his life he talked as if the Maker of the universe was his own father. When his mother found him in the temple discussing truth with the old scholars, he said he thought she would know he would be about his father’s business–but his earthly father was Joseph, the carpenter! On other occasions as a public preacher, he pointed out that anyone that had seen him had seen his father also. When some religious leaders asked him if he was the Son of the Blessed (meaning the Son of God), he told them that they were right. He talked often of the fact that he existed with his father before the world was created and assured his disciples that he would come back to earth just before the world ended.
Was He Mad?
Our immediate reaction is to class this kind of talk with the insane boasts of others who have claimed to be God. The difference between this man and megalomaniacs is that he is universally regarded as the best man that has ever lived. Far from being regarded as a charlatan or con-man, he is respected as the model of honesty and love in human history. He shows none of the emotional imbalance or mental instability that we see in those who inhabit hospitals for the insane. On the contrary, his behaviour evidences a balance that all men try to emulate. In him, exaltation never passed into ecstasy, zeal never into rashness or one-sidedness; sympathy never into sentimentality, determination never into casuistry. A wonderful tenderness of heart left him stern and uncompromising, and an energy which rejoiced in work, and shrank from nothing, never led him to be exacting towards others or inconsiderate of their weakness.
Was He Perfect?
Here is a man that is regarded as the foremost ethical teacher the world has ever seen. But he is the only one whose life excels his teaching. Even the official who legally condemned him to death protested that he could find no fault in him, while hostile critics were silent when he asked them to point out his sins. This man only talked as if he were the son of the maker of the universe–he lived as we would expect the son of the maker of the universe to live. He is the only man that is regarded as sinless and perfect in his behaviour here on earth. He refused to be driven into legalism by the legalists or into license by the lawless. He lived in purity himself yet showed kindly love to a prostitute. He rebuked hypocrites but was fatherly and loving to little children. His life is utterly different from religious leaders like Mohammed and Buddha both of whom evidenced excesses of asceticism and militancy. But his life is utterly different also from that of the greatest saints. Part of their saintliness is their consciousness of sin and falling short of their ideals. This man expressed no such consciousness of sin and falling short of God’s standards–and his life substantiates this as do the opinions of men then and now.
Who Was This Man?
Who or what was this unique human being that began to live on our earth after our forefathers had spent two thousand years trying to imitate the life that God described to them? Why did he appear when people were getting utterly lost and frustrated in their inability to live up to what they knew to be right? Did he come from outer space? Let’s talk about this in the next article.