What would you say makes Christianity distinct from all the world religions? I believe we can answer that in one word: Jeshua (Jesus Christ, our Savior). There has never been another person like that little baby boy who was placed in a manger for a cradle—a cradle that rocked the world! Twenty centuries have come and gone and He is still the centerpiece of history and of humanity. “History” is indeed “HIS STORY.” Every time you write a check you are acknowledging His coming—for you write a date on it signifying the “Year of our Lord” (Ano Domini). “All the armies that ever marched, parliaments that sat or kings who reigned have not affected life upon earth as powerfully as that one solitary life.” His was the cradle that rocked the world.
Each year as we get new calendars, we select one on which to indicate the birthdays of family and friends so we can help them celebrate another year. But, you know, if it hadn’t been for Jesus’ birthday, it would be silly to celebrate our birthdays. Why celebrate the fact that you are one year closer to death and judgment (condemnation)? That’s what it would mean. Aren’t you glad for His birthday! Now you can say, “I am one year closer to glory—to heaven—to all that God has planned for those who love Him. I thank God for Jesus’ birthday; that makes ours so significant.
Indeed, Jesus was an unusual baby. One Christmas song says, “Sweet little Jesus boy; we didn’t know who He was.” Well, you’d better find out because it is Jesus Christ that makes Christianity different from all the religions of the world. People talk about Christianity just being one of several of the great religions of the world. But, Christianity is completely distinct—Jesus Christ makes it unique. Other religions have their leaders, that’s true: Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius—and Christianity has Christ. So what is it that makes Christianity any different? You can take all these other religious leaders out of their religion and their religion will still function quite well. But, you can’t separate Jesus Christ from Christianity, for it is built upon Him! Christianity is not just learning lessons from Christ or following His example. Christianity IS Christ—as believers in Christ, Jesus Christ lives in us. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). He didn’t say, “For me to live is to have Christ’s strength, or to be influenced by Christ,” but, “to live IS Christ.” You often hear unbelievers say regarding someone who has become a Christian: “He got religion.” But, when you “get saved” by trusting Christ for eternal life, you don’t just get the Christian religion, you get Jesus. The Apostle John wrote: “He who has the Son has life” (I Jn. 5:12). When I got married, I didn’t get the marriage institution, I got Kathy!! When you are converted, you don’t just learn lessons about Jesus, you get Him. You don’t try to follow His example, you receive Him. In John’s gospel, we read, “But as many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to come children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12).
In the “Upper Room Discourse” prior to Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion, He told His disciples, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus didn’t say, “I am a sign pointing to the way;” He said, “I am the way.” He didn’t say, “I am a prophet preaching the truth;” He said, “I am the truth.” He didn’t say, “I am a philosopher discussing life;” He said, “I am the life.” It is “In Him that we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). So, Christianity is distinct from all the religions of the world. It is not a code of ethics, not a creed or a cause. It is Christ, and knowing Him. It is a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe (Jn. 1:3). Jesus is the one Person in history who is unique from all others. He is God in the flesh, coming to dwell among us in order, not only to reveal God to us, but as the God-man, to died for our sins, paying the penalty we owed, and freeing us to become all that God wants us to be. His is the cradle that rocked the world because He—as incarnate God (Jn. 1:14)—was unique from all who have been born and because His cradle led to the cross without which the cradle would have not provided for man’s greatest need—deliverance from the condemnation of sin.
Do you know Him? Does He live within your heart? Jesus came to earth that you might go to heaven. He was born of a virgin, that you might be born again (Jn. 3:3). When He came to earth, there was no room for Him in the inn. Is there room in you heart for Him? There’s room at the cross for you.