(Photo: Dan Delzell)
Most people accept a particular "Jesus." Unless you are naive enough to think Jesus of Nazareth never existed, you accept him in your mind as either a religious prophet, a good teacher, or perhaps as your personal Savior. Islam teaches that Jesus was a messenger of God but that he was not crucified. That is one example of a particular "Jesus."
There are a number of versions of "Jesus" out there. There is only one correct definition. Compare it to your own life. There is only one correct definition of you. Someone may know another person that shares your same name, but there is only one you. The other person with your name has many different details than you and is a completely different person. The mythical versions of "Jesus" are just that, and they only exist in the minds of those who accept them.
St. Paul wrote, "If someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached..." (2 Corinthians 11:4) There were mythical versions of "Jesus" that started popping up in the early Christian church. One version denied his full humanity; another version denied his full divinity; while yet another version denied his bodily resurrection; and so on. Fake. Mythical. Not the real Person.
A mythical "Jesus" cannot save your soul. No way, no how. You might as well be trusting in the wind to save you. Or in smoke. Or in a cartoon. Real salvation is only given out by the real Jesus. The true Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man.
Gordon Hinckley was the President and prophet of the Mormon church from 1995 to 2008. Hinckley did the world a favor by proclaiming: "There are those outside the church who say Latter-day Saints do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak." (LDS Church News, June 20, 1998) If only Mormon leaders today would follow Hinckley's example and instruct their missionaries to be that open and honest about it.
His organization had previously said the same thing: "It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons." (LDS publication, Ensign Magazine, May 1977, p. 26) The "Jesus" of the Mormon organization is a different "Jesus, " just like the "Jesus" of Islam is a different "Jesus."
Bruce McConkie was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Mormon organization from 1972 until his death. He wrote the book entitled, "Mormon Doctrine." In it McConkie stated, "And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ whom they vainly suppose to be a spirit essence who is incorporeal uncreated, immaterial and three-in-one with the Father and Holy Spirit." (p. 269) Mormon teachers like McConkie view the Christian "Jesus" as mythical, whereas knowledgeable Christians know that the Mormon "Jesus" is the imposter.
So which "Jesus" do you accept? To accept Jesus of Nazareth is to place your faith for salvation in the Son of God Who is equally God along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. If you reject the teaching of the Trinity, you don't have the real Jesus. He never travels alone. Where He goes, so goes the Father and the Holy Spirit. You will connect with all Three or with none. He is One God in Three Persons.
If you accept one of the other versions of "Jesus," you end up with nothing that can save your soul. Just man-made doctrines. Religion cannot wash away your sins. Only the real Jesus can do that as you trust Him to be your Savior. Do you view Jesus as just a good man, or perhaps a wise prophet? Is that all? He never claimed to be only those things. He claimed to be those and much more. He claimed to be God and to be able to forgive sins. That is why they killed Him.
The real Jesus was crucified. He rose again bodily. He ascended into heaven and is coming back one day. Now is the time to meet Him. Now is the time to get in on His offer of grace. When He returns, He won't be coming to offer any more grace to those who have rejected Him. Before you continue to pursue your religion with your version of "Jesus," you should stop and make sure you have the One and Only.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known." (John 1:18)
Have you met this Jesus? As St. John told us, He is "God the One and Only."