The lives of Jesus in history depict different faces in which he was even identified to some of such identities. Foremost of such identification was associated with some of his radical teachings such as in Matthew 10: 34-35 where Jesus bravely stated “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace but sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mother-in-law; your worst enemies will be members of your household. ”
Another identity of Jesus lives in history was associated to his teaching on the social realities that that were oppressive the social condition of the poor and ordinary people. Citing the works of Reimarus (1694-1768) Powel (1998) cited that Reimarus believed Jesus “was an unsuccessful political claimant who thought it was his destiny to be established by God as king of the restored people of Israel” (p. 13). As Powel noted, for Reimarus, Jesus, believed he was the Messiah (or the Christ).
He thought that that God was going to deliver the people of Israel from bondage to the Romans and create a new and powerful kingdom on earth where Jesus himself would rule as king. The life of Jesus that Reimarus had come to see based on the passages of the New Testament was a kind life that was miserably failure in terms of his political ambition. He sees Jesus as an ambitious Jew whose hope had been “misplaced” and one whom God has failed. In his work on the life of Jesus, Reimarus claimed that Jesus was executed on account of his claim to be the King of the Jews.
Another scholar who published a worked on the life of Jesus was Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus (1761-1851). Despite of the many miracles and wonders that Jesus had done during his lifetime on earth, Paulus sees the life of Jesus nothing more than an ordinary person. According to Powell, “Paulus accepted the miracle stories as reports of historical events”, but argued that “a primitive knowledge of the laws of nature led people in biblical times to regard as supernatural occurrences what the advancement of knowledge has rendered understandable.
In other words, he sees the life of Jesus as very ordinary. Mohammed, Just like Jesus Christ was able to draw a large throng of followers. In the same way Jesus was adored and worship by his followers, so is Mohammed. Malik (2000) citing the work of Muir, pointed out that in the Meccan stage, “he portrayed a man of many admirable personal qualities pursuing a genuine spiritual quest, marked by moments of crises brought on by a congenital depressive temperament” (p. 206). According to Muir (as cited by Malik) Mohammed’s life was also laden with weaknesses and selfish ambition.
Malik stated, “Thereafter, according to Muir, Mohammed used, especially at medina, the worldly power his false claims drew to him in order to fulfill his own material ambitions” (p. 206). Compare what impact the death of each person had on his respective religion. Apparently, the impact of the deaths of both Jesus and Mohammed leaves no doubt not only lasting impact on their followers but a transforming power among their followers. Although they died of different causes, Mohammed died of sickness and Jesus who died on the cross, yet the impact of their lives and deaths today remains as vibrant as it was before.
The differences however was that, the impact of Christ’s death among his followers thought them to be humble, to live in peace and righteousness, and preach the words of Jesus regardless of its consequence on their own personal lives. They were Mohammed spread his words through conquest and holy war. Outhwaite (2003) stated that the growth of Islam religion has been much disputed as critics “emphasize the importance of holy war (Jihad) and the economic benefits of either conversion or protection” (p. 309).
The difference was that while the growth of Christianity was through martyrdom, persecution and devotion to the teachings of Christ, the growth of Islam never experience the same thing. Describe the ways each individual was/is worshipped. Both Jesus and Mohammed were worshipped by their followers. However, there was an obvious difference in the manner these spiritual masters were recognized by their followers. Jesus was recognized by his followers as Lord, savior, and even as God, a belief or perhaps faith that was uniquely and deservingly ascribed to Jesus.
Unlike Mohammed, Jesus was worship by those who believe him even when he was but a child as recorded in Matthew 2:11. The people, who worship him according to Lakin (2005), worship as king (p. 86). When Jesus started picking disciples and training them, they worshipped him as God, Mohammed on the other hand, was never worshipped by his followers during his lifetime. On the contrary, Mohammed exhibited cruelty on his enemies, subjugated various peoples and violated all right of decency, as he took numerous wives and indulge in several transient amours (The Popular Encyclopedia, p.
11). Although followers of Islam highly venerate Mohammed, their worship was not really addressed to him but to Allah. Mohammed was simply recognized as prophet rather messiah. Jesus Christ on the other hand, although was identified as radical because of his extreme teaching, yet he recognized as messiah, Savior and Lord. Thus, the worship attributed to him by his disciples was divine and as Lord. Explain how their messages are being carried out in the world today.
The message that Jesus Christ leaves his disciples was stated in the book of Matthew 28: 19-20 which was the so called “The Great Commission” in which every believers were commanded to go and make disciples. This message was carried by the early disciples in their personal capacity. The book of Acts has enough references that the Jewish in Diaspora preached the gospel wherever they went. Today however, this message has been carried by the church. The church sends missionaries to different places and even to different countries to preach the gospel and to make disciples.
The church also initiates evangelism activities designed to preach the word of God and hold various programs to that cater to the need of making disciples. But the main instrument by which the message of Christ is carried in the world today is by using the media. Although it seems that Mohammed has not left message to his disciples just as Jesus did, his followers carried out the message of Islam. Today Islam carried the message of Quran much in the same way the Christians carried Christ message.
Both religions carried out a message that brings to people to back to God, to pursue peace, to live righteously, and above all to fear God. This is timely amidst the worsening condition of the society in view of all the crises confronting the society’s morality. Reference Larkin, C. (2005) Dispensational Truth or God’s Plan and Purpose in the Ages Kissinger Publishing Outhwaite, W. (2003) The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought UK: Wiley-Blackwell Powell, M. A. (1998) Jesus as a Figure in History USA: John Knox Press The Popular Encyclopedia (1841) Blackie & Son
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