Many friends of mine say that all gods are the same.
I think they don’t understand the utter failure Jesus’ life seems like when compared to the life-style and status of Hindu gods like Rama and Krishna. If gods & prophets had resumes, here is a brief comparison-
Raving religious resumes
Ram: Born to royal lineage, defeated Ravana the evil king in war and finally, peacefully leaves his mortal body.
Krishna: Born to royal lineage, killing his arch-enemy Kansa and enabled Pandavas to win the Mahabharata war, finally dies by an arrow wound to his toe and ascends in splendour with his body into his eternal abode.
Muhammad (the last prophet of Islam and not god): Born in the Banu Hashim tribal clan, preached Islam and lived a life of tribal conquest, finally died of an illness.
Jesus: Born to a carpenter under circumstances that made people mock his parentage, He did many miracles and proclaimed himself the Son of God. He was finally mocked at a false trial and then mocked by torture and was dished out a humiliating execution by his own people.
No God was mocked like this
Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion. The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thorn bush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!”
They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship.
After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross. – Mark 15:15-20, The Message
Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days– so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others–but he can’t save himself Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then!” Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.
At noon the sky became extremely dark. – Mark 15: 27-33, The Message
Any Bollywood-driven Indian worth their salt would tell you it makes total sense to follow the teachings of the victorious, the meritorious and the awesome. But certainly not this Jesus?
Who wants to follow someone who is mocked so and can’t even defend himself, forget defending his followers? How can this Jesus be God? It seems scandalous to pray to this Jesus today in 21st Century India. Pray for what? He himself seems to need prayer!
Here is a Christian scandal no man-made religion could replicate: God was mocked and killed.
Thank God Jesus kept silent during his mocking
But you see, I am so thankful that Jesus did not open His mouth. If he had defended himself, how would have he accomplished forgiveness for the wicked people who didn’t deserve the loving sacrifice he was making?
God the Father is an impartial King. God will punish any wrong-doing and injustice (even in thought) with an infinite amount of fierce anger that separates the offender from God’s presence and torments them forever in hell. But God also deeply loves people. Could there be a way for true justice and true love to meet?
Yes. God the Son himself would take everlasting divine punishment on our behalf.
Whoever surrenders their own attempts to show themselves pure and right, whoever gladly trusts in Jesus to be the way to their forgiveness will receive eternal, new life as a gift that they could never earn.
Most Indians love escapism. I know I do. We love watching movies and reading stories of heroes destroying armies of villains and wowing the audience with their pomp. Oh yes, we love that Powwwerrrr on display! Any Salman Khan-styled, action-star god may fit our bills, whether in myth or in history.
Sure, the Bible too describes a future where God will come in power to exact vengeance on those who never obeyed the good news of Jesus. But God Almighty doesn’t fit His plan of rescue into our fanciful, vain ideas. Instead he comes down in a manner that identifies with us and takes up our self-inflicted suffering. That method is called Jesus Christ.
Here is another Christian scandal: Jesus took all that mocking which we deserved because God the Father desires that you and I may not perish but may live and love like He did (John 3:16).
The double scandal
So, this double scandal is why I worship Him:
1) Jesus the Son of God is mocked & destroyed for my sins.
2) He takes that horrific mocking and destruction for low-lives like me.
I worship Jesus because He gave me the faith to believe that there is no other God but Him. It makes so much sense to love Him. What doesn’t make sense is His love towards people like me. Only God can love villains like me and melt my cold, old self away. Now it also makes much sense to happily surrender my plans to Him!
There’s nothing special about me, Jesus could see that. How could He then, love and obey God the Father so much that He would take vile mocking at the hands of mere men to save the lowest of the low?
If there’s someone who deserves worship, it is this humiliated God. Chuck your vain pursuits of life, pleasure, power and money. When did they ever help your soul? This humbled God has been exalted above death and will come in victory one day. The church will get to be part of that grand celebration.
Just imagine. Spiritual beggars like me, in Jesus’ courts. Thank you for your scandalous grace!
“The scandal of grace
You died in my place
So my soul will live.”