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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who was Jesus?

There are many questions that come to mind when the name Jesus is
mentioned. Some people say he was a prophet, others call him a god,
while others say he was a very wise man. But whatever your idea is, one
thing remains certain: he was not your ordinary man. So if there is
something special about him, why all the confusion?
Just who was Jesus anyway?
Jesus lived about 2,000 years ago in ancient Palestine when the Roman
Empire was at its zenith. He was not conceived in the usual way, but
was implanted in the womb of a young woman named Mary. God simply
commanded, "Be" and he was. In this sense, he was "a word" of God and a
special sign for humanity. In fact, he was the last in a long line of
religious guides sent to the Jews.
Mary was a righteous woman. Her mother dedicated her to God´s service
even before she was born. As a child, she lived a life marked by health
and righteousness, which others pointed to in admiration. She was
raised by the wise Zechariah, who instilled in her, a beautiful sense
of faith in God. When she had become a young woman, Mary sought to
purify herself further before her Lord. Knowing that the hustle of life
in the towns was distracting, she withdrew from her people to a
sanctuary in the East. There she could meditate in seclusion and peace.
Suddenly, on a day that seemed no different from the rest, an angel of
God visited her, disguised in the likeness of a human. Afraid of so
strange a sight, Mary prayed for protection, but the strange being
reassured her and declared that he was a messenger from the Lord to
announce the glad-tidings of a faultless son. Mary, astounded, asked
how this was possible seeing that no man had ever touched her. But the
angel replied, "Your Lord says, it is easy for Me ...". But when she felt
the little child within her, she fled her sanctuary out of fear of what
her family would do or say when they heard the news. Mary, however, was
not to face hardship. When in her despair she cried out to God for
oblivion, a voice soothed her and she found shade and a cool spring.
Under a date-palm in the warmth of late summer, she made her dwelling
and there bore the child unlike any other in human history.
Shortly thereafter, Mary returned to her community carrying the child
who was to be called Messiah, Jesus, and son of Mary. When her people
saw her with the baby in her arms they couldn´t believe their eyes, let
alone accept her word. They refused to believe when she told of an
angel who came and told her she was chosen above all other women to
carry this burden. They accused her of infidelity and implied that she
had ruined the family name. Mary, being overwhelmed, simply motioned
towards the child meekly.
Now the child was the product of a miracle and consequently, miraculous
things began to happen. In defense of his mother and of the truth, the
infant Jesus spoke saying, "I am a servant of God. He has given me
Scripture and has made me a Prophet. He has blessed me wherever I may
be and has made prayer and charity my duty as long as I live." This put
the detractors to rest.
Throughout his youth, Jesus remained dutiful to his mother and
developed quickly in intelligence, wisdom, and piety. He dumfounded the
learned and was greatly admired by those around him who appreciated his
talents. He claimed to be a sign of God and a Messenger to the
His people had strayed from the spirit of truth and placed their trust
in legalism, thereby burying their sense of mercy beneath dusty scrolls
and rituals. Finally, when he came of age, Jesus began to travel and
preach throughout the land of Palestine about a return to the truth of
the old revelations and a rejection of all that man had added. In his
task he was supported by the spirit of truth, the angel Gabriel.
He taught that love and mercy overcome hate and anger and that only a
true and sincere faith in the Creator and obedience to His will can
bring a person salvation in this life as well as in the next. To
reinforce his message, which was called "Injeel" (Good News), God
granted him the performance of miracles. He healed the sick, uplifted
the distressed and revived the dead. All these things he did with the
permission of God, never taking credit for them himself.
He led a simple and pious life. Soon he attracted an inner-circle of
devoted followers who listened to his teachings with fervor and
humility. These disciples, among them Peter, Barnabas, and John helped
him carry the message of Divine Love to the people. They helped him in
his mission.
But no righteous man of God is without trial and tribulation. As the
message of Jesus began to gain wider acceptance, a small clique of
hypocrites and evil men began to plot against him. They were the
priests and leaders of the Jews whose position and wealth depended upon
their place as the sole interpreters of religion to the masses. They
pursued him and his followers and eventually captured him. Though they
abused him, he never renounced his faith in the one God. So in their
anger they plotted to crucify him on a Roman cross. But Jesus slipped
from their grip at the last moment, and all the while they thought they
had succeeded. They were sure they had killed him but God answered
Jesus´ prayer and saved him from their schemes. Confusion overtook the
mob and they might have killed the man who betrayed Jesus instead. In
any case, Jesus escaped from their grasp. Then God removed Jesus from
this world into another dimension, to a place with Him, not to return
until a later time.
With their teacher gone, the devoted followers of Jesus tried to
maintain the purity and simplicity of his teachings. But they were soon
besieged and overtaken by a flood of Roman and Greek influences, which
eventually so buried and distorted the message of Jesus that only a
little of its truth now remains. Strange doctrines of Jesus being a
man-god, of God dying, of saint worship and of God being made up of
different parts came into vogue and were accepted by many of those who
took the name "Christians" centuries after Jesus.
The only records that have come down to us concerning Jesus are some
sketchy biographical material, poorly researched and compiled, which
can in no way be representative of the full and accurate Message of
Jesus, the Son of Mary. The time of the final and incorruptible Message
was not yet at hand. It would be left to the last prophet of God,
Muhammad (peace be upon him), to clarify the truth from man´s additions
and deletions.
Jesus taught the same eternal message that was taught by all the
Messengers of God, from Adam, on through Noah, Abraham, Moses and
ending with the mission of God´s last Guidepost to humanity, Muhammad
(peace be on them all), whose coming was foretold by Jesus himself.
Every nation and every people, from the Aztecs to the Greeks, have
received a Prophet or a Messenger from God. Jesus was the last of a
series of Messengers sent to the Israelites, but they consistently
strayed from the path of surrender to God. Each of the many Messengers
spoke a different language and followed varied customs. Yet the core
faith taught by each was the same: surrender your imperfect and fickle
will to the perfect will of the Power that is greater than you. You
will then find the peace and freedom that only the Creator of all
things can provide. Then you must do what is right and good to your
fellow creatures. This way of life is called Islam (surrender to God
and find peace).
Written by Yahya Emerick
source: http://gainpeace.com


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