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What religious leader should we follow? With what religion or denomination should we affiliate? What evidence is there to follow Jesus rather than any other teacher? How important is the resurrection? Where is the founder of your faith?
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Various religious leaders have begun religions or denominations. Whom should you trust as the founder of your spiritual faith? To which group should we commit ourselves? Consider the following information about various religious leaders:
Confucius – Many people have followed the teachings of Confucius. But he died and his followers often visit the place where his body is buried.
Buddha – Buddha did not intend to begin a religion. Nevertheless, many people follow his teachings, many claim it to be a religion, and many bow before statues of Buddha. But Buddha died and his body was cremated. A temple was established where it claims to have one of his teeth.
Muhammad – Muhammad established the religion of Islam. Millions claim to be his followers. He died. A mosque was built where many go to commemorate his burial place.
Martin Luther – He never intended to begin a new denomination but sought to reform the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, his followers formed a denomination and named it after him. He died and the place where his body is buried is well known.
John Wesley – Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Church. Many claim to follow his teachings and affiliate with his church. He also died and the place of his burial is well known.
Joseph Smith – He claimed to be the head of the restored church of Jesus, though many of his teachings contradict Jesus’ gospel. Many have affiliated with his church. But he also died and the place where his body is buried is well known.
Ellen G White – Many considered her to be a prophetess. The Seventh Adventist Church is based on her teachings. She also died and the place where her body is buried is well known.
Mary Baker Eddy – She also claimed to reveal teachings from God resulting in the Christian Scientist Church. But she also died, and the place of her burial is known.
Jesus of Nazareth – Jesus claimed to reveal an entirely new religious system bearing His name today. He founded His church based on His teachings. Many today claim to be His followers.
With which of these or other religious leaders should we today claim to affiliate? We can identify many specific differences between their teachings. But one confirmed and verified fact of history separates Jesus Christ from all the others. He also died, but it is a fact of history that his tomb is empty.
Jesus Christ alone of all world religious leaders arose from the dead. His resurrection is confirmed by the testimony of many people who saw him alive after His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). They saw Him, heard Him speak, spoke to Him, touched Him, and ate with Him.
Romans 1:4 – He was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.
Ephesians 1:20-23 – When God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He seated Him at His right hand far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The resurrection sets Jesus apart from every other religious leader. Only He predicted ahead of time that He would rise from the dead. Only He fulfilled the prediction and left the tomb. Only He won the victory over death.
He built His church and purchased it with his blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Someday He will return, raise us all from the dead, and judge our lives according to whether or not we have followed His teachings. (1 Corinthians 15:20-26; Matthew 25:31-46; John 12:48)
Why should anyone follow teachings originated by any religious teacher other than Jesus or affiliate with any religious organization other than His church? Only He arose from the dead, only He can save us from our sins, and only He will judge us for our lives. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ and a part of His one true church?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2022; gospelway.com
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.