Jesus Christ is superior to all religious founders, teachers, philosophers, and ideologies. The American Heritage Dictionary defines Superior as, “Higher than another in rank, station, or authority, or a higher nature or kind, of great value, excellence, extraordinary.”
Beginning with this common and well accepted definition, examining the world’s most significant religious and philosophical figures, and comparing them to Jesus Christ, we see that Christ is eminently superior in every category.
- His Birth
- His Life
- His Death
- His Resurrection
- His Morality
- His Behavior/Expressions
- His Knowledge
- His Humanity
- His Servanthood
- His Kingship
- His Deity
In every way, Jesus Christ is superior to Buddha, Mohammad, Moses, Karl Marx, and all other religious and philosophical teachers. In every category Jesus Christ surpasses each of these significant but much less important figures of history.
Jesus birth is superior because unlike others, it was prophesied hundreds of years in advance (Isaiah 9:6-7, Micah 5:2). His birth is superior because it was miraculous – Jesus was virgin-born (Luke 1:30-38). His life was superior because it was lived without sin (John 8:46, II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, I Peter 2:22). His death was superior because it was done on our behalf – to wash away sin (John 1:29, Romans 5:6-8). Jesus’ resurrection is not only unique, but also superior because it was permanent and it saves the person who trusts in Him (Romans 5:10, I Corinthians 15:3-4, Hebrews 7:25).
None of these things are true for any other religious leader or philosopher. The births of Buddha, Mohammad, Moses, and Marx, along with all other such leaders, were ordinary births, without foretelling. But Jesus’ prophetic virgin birth pointed to a unique quality of character and identity not shared with any other person.
Jesus Christ was sinless in nature, thought, and behavior (John 8:46, II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15). Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines sin as, Lawlessness or transgression of God’s will, either by omitting to do what God’s law requires, or doing what it forbids.”
The founder of Islam, Mohammad, confessed that he was a sinner who transgressed God’s laws and needed forgiveness (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, #335, #379, #407, #408). Buddha and Karl Marx rejected the concept of sin or a sin nature, as we are familiar with it in the Bible – but both accepted the idea of wrongful deeds, which is another way to refer to sin. Moses confessed his sin before God, acknowledging his need for a Savior.
Unlike all of these, Jesus needed no forgiveness and needed no Savior because He was sinless. He declared his own sinlessness to the religious leaders of His day. His morality was perfect, without failure. While Buddha taught a form of enlightenment that he himself had to attain, Jesus was different. Jesus needed no enlightenment. The Bible declares Jesus to be the one who gives enlightenment (John 1:5,9, I John 1:6-10). Jesus even warned against so-called enlightenment that does not take sin into account: “Beware that the light that is within you is not darkness” (Luke 11:35).
As a sinless person all of Jesus’ thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and behaviors were without moral failing. No religious leader or philosopher can claim this other than Jesus Christ. In fact, none of the leaders mentioned here ever made such a claim, except for Jesus. Jesus was perfect in these things because His knowledge was perfect. Unlike Buddha, Mohammad, Moses, and Marx, Jesus was pre-existent (John 1:15, 8:42, 56-58). His teachings about morality and right living came from His perfect character, His perfect experience, and His foreknowledge (John 5:19).
Compared to other religious leaders Jesus’ identity is unique and superior. As already mentioned, His humanity was sinless. But there are three other traits that make Jesus superior to all others – His servanthood, His kingship, and His Deity.
While Buddha taught religious principles to others, he first sought enlightenment for himself, for his own benefit. Mohammad founded Islam on a principle that the prophet of Allah was to be served by those he taught. A prophet could even receive benefits from his religious service that ordinary people could not receive – like multiple wives. Karl Marx taught service to the State. Jesus was different from all of these.
Jesus Christ is above all rulers, authorities, and nations (Ephesians 1:19-23, Colossians 2:9-10). Though He was already God, He emptied Himself to become a servant (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus said He came to serve (Matthew 20:28). While all other religious leaders sought to raise their spiritual standing, to achieve a higher plane of spirituality or consciousness, only Jesus Christ sought to lower and humble himself. Prior to His birth He was omniscient. Yet He sought in becoming a man to limit Himself – including His consciousness, to that of a man. Only Jesus sought to humble Himself from that position which was already His by Divine right.
Though Jesus was the ultimate servant (Mark 10:45), He is also a king. He is the King of Israel (Jeremiah 2:3-5, Ezekiel 37:21-28, John 1:49, 12:13). He is the King of the Earth (Psalm 42:2,7, Zechariah 14:9, John 18:37). Jesus is of higher authority than all earthly rulers (Ephesians 1:19-23, Colossians 1:9-10). He is king because of His kingly decent (II Samuel 7:12-13). He is king because He has moral authority to reign. He is king because of His Divine right as Deity (Colossians 1:13-17).
Mohammed ruled Arabia as a king – but only after slaughtering many opponents and shedding much innocent blood. Buddha was born into royalty, but he renounced it. Moses governed, but rejected kingship for himself. Karl Marx’s philosophies have reorganized many states, but like all others, he did not possess the moral authority to lead.
And finally, Jesus is superior because of His Deity. All others – Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, and Marx, and every other religious and philosophical figure were all mere men – but Jesus Christ is the unique Son of the Living God.
Even from our simple definition provided in the first paragraph we can see how unique and superior Jesus Christ is in comparison to all other religious teachers. He is higher in rank and station than Mohammed, of greater authority than Moses or Marx, of a higher nature, kind, value, and excellence than Buddha. Jesus Christ is more than extraordinary – and that doesn’t begin to explain Him.