Many people, including other belief systems are willing to acknowledge that Jesus was an outstanding ethical leader, an amazing teacher and a great man. But Jesus claimed to be more than that. He said He was the very Son of God who came down from heaven and visited earth. (John 6:38). He made direct and indirect claims about His deity, about Himself as the Son of God and the Oneness He had with God. He presented Himself as the only way to God. (John 14:6)
How could one who made such extravagant claims still be a credible ethical leader or a powerful teacher? If a person today made such outrageous claims, they would be treated socially with contempt for telling such lies or treated medically for a psychiatric condition that caused such grandiose ideas. Such claims are so far beyond human experience, anyone who made such claims would be discredited in all spheres of influence. But not Christ!
The fact that Christ, despite His claims of Deity, is still, 2000 years later, a respected figure and considered a prophet by Muslims and a great moral teacher by Hindus, even Divine, is reason for you not to dismiss Him, but to consider Him seriously.
Christ performed multiple miracles in private and in public. These miracles included healing of illnesses and disabilities where all the external symptoms completely vanished, unlike the dubious claims of faith-healing today. He stopped storms by speaking to the wind. He fed thousands by multiplying a few loaves and fishes. He gave life to those who had died and in one dramatic case, life to a man whose body was decaying in a grave. (John 11) The miracles and the proofs of His Deity were so public and so convincing, His enemies plotted to kill Him sooner rather than later to prevent any more displays of supernatural power.
The character of Christ speaks volumes. Read the first four books of the New Testament, known as the Gospels, and study the Man. Never was there one who displayed such grace. He was misunderstood , hated and despised but He never retaliated. They stripped Him of His clothes and whipped His back until it was torn up like a ploughed field. The eyes that wept for others were blindfolded as they made Him the object of their humiliating game. Their vile spit dripped from His face. A crown of thorns was pounded into His forehead. The hands that healed the sick were nailed to a Cross. He provided no resistance. He uttered no threats. Instead, from the Cross He said: “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” John Stott summed up such gracious behaviour this way: “Jesus was sinless because He was selfless. Such selflessness is love. And God is love.”
Unlike the leaders of other belief systems, Christ is alive. Christians and the Bible claim that Christ rose from the dead on the third day. His resurrection is one of the foundation blocks of Christianity. There have been several explanations for why His body has never been found, but upon examination, they are seriously flawed. Be sure that if the authorities could have produced His corpse to silence the rumors of His resurrection, they would have rushed to have done so.
Among the proofs of His resurrection, was the missing body and the grave clothes left undisturbed in their wrapped arrangement as if still wound around the body – but the body was missing. Multiple eye witness accounts of those who saw Jesus after His resurrection also lend credibility to the claim. But even more striking was the transformation in His followers. Men cowering in fear hiding behind locked doors after His death, changed into brave men who would hazard their lives for the cause of Christ. Many men will tell a lie or even support a lie but few will die for one. The disciples came out of hiding and boldly preached Christ as Saviour and as the Messiah, because they knew He was alive – they saw Him with their own eyes.