Jesus Christ

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854
Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854 via Wikipedia

The English word Christ is derived from the Greek term, Khristós, meaning annointed or the annointed one. Christians believe that Jesus, “the anointed one” is the only Son of the Old Testament (OT) Lord, Yahweh.

Born miraculously by God’s intervention through the Virgin Mary, Jesus was raised by Mary and his foster father Joseph. According to the New Testament (NT) account, Christ fulfills OT prophecy by dying on a cross in order to redeem mankind from the original sin of Adam and Eve.

The following OT passages are said to prophesize the coming of Jesus: Psalm 132:17, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Daniel 7:13-14. The OT books of Isaiah, Hosea and Jeremiah are also regarded as blueprints for later NT ideas.

Most Christians, Catholic and Protestant, agree that Christ belongs within the Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Some thinkers see this Trinitarian aspect of Christianity as a weak or invalid type of monotheism.

Gnostic Christians, on the other hand, generally see Christ as a manifestation of the Good Light of God, something everyone can attain within oneself, despite living in an essentially evil world.

Some contemporary Hindus, those who see themselves as liberal or progressive, might see Christ as an avatar—one among many incarnations of God. Whereas traditional Hindus would tend to see him more as an, at best, partially liberated messenger. This is because traditional Hinduism clearly outlines past and future avatars, and Christ isn’t on that list.

Muslims say Christ is a prophet but not the Son of God.

Contemporary Jews often see Jesus as a good, peaceful man but not the Messiah, whom they’re still waiting for. Both Jews and Muslims take exception to the idea that a man could be equal to God.

Generally speaking, non-Christian religions tend to directly (or subtly) repudiate the claim that Christ is the unique Savior of Mankind. While it’s often regarded as not okay to criticize non-Christian religions, Christianity is quite accustomed to receiving the harshest, most severe criticisms from all corners. And the historical fact of the crusades, inquisitions, and the sexual abuse of minors (and the Catholic Church’s sheltering of those who are guilty of this crime) doesn’t help matters much.

Christ says that he doesn’t come to destroy but to “fulfill” the Ten Commandments of the OT. So, according to the NT, the two most important commandments, from which all of the others hang, are:

  1. Love God
  2. Love one another

This positive take on OT laws is found in the Gospel of Matthew:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”†


Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)


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