I can not advocate against other religions because I do not know much about them but I can testify the difference that Jesus made and is making. I am deeply intrigued by him because he was so selfless and spoke of a kingdom that was for everyone.
My favorite parable that Jesus told was about the master’s banquet in Luke 14.
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
Do you see this! He said “I have empty seats and I want them full!”
I will bet the poor were ecstatic and could not believe their good fortune that such a great man was willing to invite them in. He sent his servants into the low places to pull out all of the misfits. Thank God that he does not mind getting his hands dirty to dig us misfits out of the dirt and set us up amongst the King himself.
Even the haters of Jesus could not deny that he was different and they could not shake him. He challenged their religion and tradition. No longer could they use the law to condemn the people. The past could no longer haunt people into hell. No longer could shortcomings hang over your head. Here enters the grace of God, his unmerited favor provided to whosoever. Not a chosen few, but the whole world. No longer was God only portrayed as punisher but as a good father who gives good gifts, specifically the gift of eternal life.
Jesus brought kingdom perspective. Death had its grips on humanity ever since the garden, but then Jesus came and said, “no longer!” Death said, “take a number and get in line.” God said, “here is my son in exchange for eternity with me.” That means that ANYONE can come in and find safety in him.
His name alone freaks opposers out. They say, “call on whomever you will but mum the name of Jesus.” His name alone holds power that can not be contained or controlled. No longer is eternity in the hands of a righteous few, waving it in the air like it is the golden ticket that only they have been lucky enough to find.
The most amazing thing about Jesus is that they had to kill him because they though it would silence the hope that he had given. The plot thickened when he said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) After three days they thought they could breath a sigh of relief and then he shows up again! He went to his distraught disciple and revealed himself. He even topped himself by promising a piece of himself to all who would receive him.
46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
God knows how to top himself. He gave the ultimate gift saying, “here is my son. He will take the punishment although he did not commit the crime.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
His death did not silence hope but multiplied it tremendously.