Luke 24:44-45 NIV “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
I’ve read through the Koran (Quran) and I’ve read through the Book of Mormon although it’s been a good number of years ago. I read the Koran because I wanted to read the writings of another major world religion and compare it with the writings of the Bible and especially the words of Mohammad compared with the words of Jesus. I read the Book of Mormon because one of the places I worked at in the military had a man who was a Bishop with the Mormon Church and he and I had a good number of discussions about the many differences between the Biblical Scriptures and the Book of Mormon. Once again I had the opportunity to compare the writings and words of Joseph Smith with the words of the authors of the different books in the Christian Bible and in particular, the words of Joseph Smith as compared with the words of Jesus.
Bear in mind that both books (the Koran and the Book of Mormon) were written after the books of the Christian Bible had been canonized together into the Bible that we read today although the space of time between the Koran being written and the Book of Mormon is considerable. Interestingly enough there is a similarity in both the Koran and the Book of Mormon, each have a tendency to mimic the language of the Bible in style, especially the Book of Mormon. But I’m not looking at similarities in style.
I want to establish at the onset that I’m not claiming to be any authority on the Koran or the Book of Mormon and for obvious reasons, the time that I spent studying the Koran or the Book of Mormon as compared with the Christian Bible is huge. But the observation that I want to draw your attention to is not so much the style but rather the tone of the content. And when I say content, I mean the recorded words of Jesus as compared to the recorded words of Mohammad or Joseph Smith’s written record. I’m not going to tell you the differences between these alternate sources but I will draw your attention to what is missing in the Koran and the Book of Mormons.
Imagine if you will, that you were just an ordinary man, not divine, and you wanted to start a new religion. And to make things interesting, you wanted to base the beginning of this new religion in the history and writings of Judaism. I know it can be difficult to put yourself in the mindset of an individual who would do this but just go with me if you will. If one was going to start a new religion that had it’s beginning or roots in Judaism, then one would have to be thoroughly conversant with the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Let’s just say that you are thoroughly familiar with the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Check.
And because we’re looking at the tone of the content or the words that were spoken by Jesus, lets just disregard all the miracles that are recorded as having happened. Please note that I personally believe that Jesus did all of the miracles that are recorded, but for the purposes of this post, I just want to put them aside. Check.
My favorite Gospel is the Gospel of John. For me, it’s the Gospel that speaks most clearly to our hearts but, and this is important, each Gospel, be it Matthew, Mark, Luke or John has a distinctive perspective of Jesus, coupled with unique and sometimes overlapping recordings of occurrences.
The Gospel of Matthew has been said to be the story of Jesus, written by a Jew, for Jewish people. It contains the most references to Jewish culture and the Old Testament of all the Gospels. The Gospel of Matthew also contains the fullest systematic account of Christ’s teachings.
Now if you’re still with me, we’re supposing that Jesus is just an ordinary man who is thoroughly conversant with the Old Testament and now we going to look at what Jesus actually said, what His teachings pointed to and originated from. And also please note, I’m also disregarding the linkage that Matthew, the author of the Gospel of Matthew inserts, where he ties Jesus into Old Testament prophecy (which I also subscribe to). Check.
So we see Jesus begin to give His teachings in the Jewish synagogues where He preaches the good news of the Kingdom of God (Matt 4:23 NIV).
We also see Jesus clarifying that He hasn’t come to do away with the Law or the writings of the Prophets but in fact He has come to fulfill them (Matt 5:17 NIV)
We also see Jesus giving us His insights into aspects of the Law regarding murder, adultery, divorce, false vows, the eye for an eye punishment of the Old Testament and hating your enemies, where He utters those famous words of His, “But I say unto you…” in Matthew 5:21-48 NIV.
“But I say unto you” … kind of presumptuous wouldn’t you say, unless ….
But Jesus does stop there, He goes on giving additional insight into giving to the poor, acts of kindness, praying, forgiveness, harboring anger and resentment, fasting, storing up treasures and serving two masters (Matthew 6:1-22 NIV) where he frequently gives us additional insight into our Heavenly father’s perspective.
Once again, kind of presumptuous unless ….
Jesus also addresses anxiety about our daily needs and draws our attention to the need to focus our attention of God’s Kingdom and His righteousness so that our daily needs are met, via our loving Father’s foreknowledge of our needs (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV). Do you sense the intimacy here? Are these the words of an ordinary man?
Please note that I’ve only quoted three chapters (4, 5 and 6) in the Gospel of Matthew. As we read on in the following chapters we are continually being given insight into our heavenly Father’s perspective and method of evaluating truth and righteousness. That’s personal, and totally presumptuous unless …
And the part that should strike all of us is that this connection between our heavenly Father, and Jesus and us is everywhere within the Gospels, the Epistles and Revelation. But you have to notice it, take note of it, actually see it. The linkage is continual and consistent throughout.
These are NOT the words of an ordinary individual man. This is NOT how an ordinary solitary man thinks.
One of the most compelling reasons for faith in Jesus are the truths He gave us and the manner in which He explained them. His words alone convey His divinity, His oneness with the Father, even without the miracles.
Matthew 7:28-29 NIV “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
John 14:10 NIV “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
John 5:19-23 NIV “Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.”
Matthew 11:27 NIV “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.“
Jesus taught authoritatively because He is the Son of God.
If you read the Koran or the Book of Mormon there is a distinct difference in the authoritative testimony being given (plus many other historical and doctrinal differences) and it clearly shows.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!