Who Do You Say I Am?
Sukuinushisama or Jesus Christ...Will the real Saviour please stand up?
In response to Okada's claims that he was the Messiah, I believe that the Messiah, or Great Saviour of Humanity, is actually Jesus Christ, and that this Divine Plan was fulfilled by him. Let me explain why. No other spiritual leader in human history taught with the authority and conviction that Jesus did. He made the astonishing claim that he could forgive sins (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:5-6; Luke 5:17-26), and that one day, at the end of human history, he would come to judge the world (Matthew 25:31-32). Jesus believed that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, yet equal to God the Father (John 8:58; 10:30, 33; 20:28). We can also find several instances of Jesus declaring that he was the Messiah (Matthew 11:3-6; 26:63-64; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44; John 4:1-42; 5:33-36, 39, 46, 6:27, 8:14, 17-18, 25, 28, 56, 13:19). There are also examples of others acknowledging Jesus's identity as the Messiah (John 1:41-45; Acts 3:18:20, 24, 4:26-27, 9:22, 13:27, 17:2-3, 26:22-23, 28:23; Romans 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 1:10-11, 16, 17-18; 1 John 5:6-9). By reading these passages, we can see that these declarations were not the words of a deluded individual or individuals. Jesus knew exactly who he was, and so did those who wrote about him.
Jesus also used miracles to provide evidence of his identity as the Messiah (John 10:37-38). The New Testament records these numerous miracles. For example, Jesus calmed storms (Matthew 8:23-27, 14:32; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25), fed the hungry (Matthew 14:15-21; 15:32-39; Mark 6:35-44, 8:1-9; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:5-14). He healed many people of all kinds of diseases and physical infirmities (Matthew 4:23-24, 14:14, 15:30; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:17-19, 7:21-22; John 2:23; 3:2). He brought dead people back to life, such as a widow's son (Luke 7:11-16), the daughter of a man named Jairus (Matthew 9:18, 19, 23-26; Mark 5:22-24, 35-43; Luke 8:41,42, 49-56), and his friend Lazarus (John 11:1-54). He also cast out demons (Matthew 4:23-24, 8:16-17, 28-34, 9:32-33, 12:22-37, 15:21-28, 17:14:21; Mark 1:23-26, 34, 3:19-30, 5:1-20, 7:24-30, 9:14-29, Luke 4:33-36, 40-41, 7:21, 8:26-39, 9:37-43, 11:14, 15, 17-23). I have yet to find any evidence of genuine miracles being performed by Okada during his lifetime, and even if he did perform them, his powers would not have come from God. If any exists, Mahikari followers who visit this site are welcome to supply this evidence.
What of the character of Jesus? Jesus is unique in all of human history. The Bible repeatedly states that he is the only sinless man who ever lived. Regardless of the merits of their teachings, no other spiritual leader can make such a bold claim about themselves, Yoshikazu Okada included. If Okada ever claimed that he was without sin, he was wrong.
Speaking of Jesus, Paul wrote,
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The apostle Paul wrote of Jesus,
"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God." (1 Peter 1:19-21), and, "He committed no sin and no deceit was found in his mouth." (1 Peter 2:22).
"But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5-6).
The writer of the Book of Hebrews described Jesus as follows:
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15).
Since Jesus's time, many other spiritual leaders have come and gone. Despite their great wisdom and charisma, all of them were ordinary human beings. None of them could experience many of the struggles and hardships of human existence, and yet remain sinless as Jesus did. Nor could they possibly be as loving, merciful, and just as Jesus Christ. There has never been another man like him, nor will there be. As far as character is concerned, he is truly unique in all of human history. Okada simply cannot match Jesus's unique qualities.
The Old Testament of the Bible contains many prophecies concerning God's promised Messiah. In ancient times, prophets predicted that a man would come into the world as God's special messenger, a mediator appointed by God to make it possible for all of humanity to be restored into a right relationship with Him. I believe that these prophecies concern Jesus Christ.
In theory, someone who wanted to persuade others that he was the Messiah could have studied these prophecies. They could then attempt to orchestrate the circumstances of their entire life, from conception, birth, and death, so that it would appear to others that they had fulfilled them. In practice, this is impossible. Christian scholars John Ankerberg and John Weldon address this issue, referring to specific prophecies dealing with aspects of the birth, life, execution, and resurrection of the predicted Messiah, that we see clearly fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament.
For example, the Book of Genesis alludes to the fact that the Messiah would be descended from Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation (Genesis 12:2-3, 17:1, 5-7, 22:18). We see this fulfilled in Matthew 1 and Galatians 3:15-16. Jesus could not have arranged his ancestry before he was born. The prophet Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), which was fulfilled in Matthew 2:5-6 and Luke 2:1-7. Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be born to a virgin mother (Isaiah 7:14), which the New Testament reveals to be Mary (Matthew 1:18-24, Luke 1:26-35). In the Book of Deuteronomy, God revealed to Moses that He would bring forth a prophet, like himself, from among his people (Deuteronomy 18:15). The New Testament reveals this prophet to be Jesus (John 1:45, 5:46, 6:14, 7:40; Acts 3:17-26, 7:37). Jesus could not orchestrate his own death by crucifixion, vividly described by the psalmist David hundreds of years before it happened, or to have his executioners gamble for his clothes during the execution (Psalm 22). Nor could Jesus arrange in advance his execution with two criminals, as prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah 53), prophecies which we see fulfilled in Matthew 27:31-38. (Ankerberg and Weldon 1997).
Furthermore, Jesus could not organise in advance for John the Baptist, the special messenger chosen by God to prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah (Matthew 11:10), prophesied by the prophet Malachi (Malachi 3:1), to be sent before him. Judas, one of the disciples, betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:3-10), which was foretold by Zechariah (Zechariah 11:13). As we shall see in the next section, Jesus knew that he would die, but he could not plan in advance that his executioners would break the legs of the two men who were crucified with him, but not his own legs (Psalm 34:20 with John 19:33). Finally, how could the Messiah arrange to be God (Isaiah 9:6, Zechariah 12:10 with John 1:1, 10:30, 14:6). He could not possibly orchestrate in advance his escape from a grave and then appear to people after he had been killed (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53:9, 11 with Luke 24, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). (Ankerberg and Weldon 1997).
Ankerberg and Weldon conclude:
"It might be possible to fake one or two of these predictions, but it would be impossible for any man to arrange and fulfill all of these predictions (and many others) in advance. It if can be proved that such prophecies were given of the Messiah hundreds of years in advance, and one man fulfilled all of them, then that man would logically have to be the predicted Messiah of the Old Testament." (Ankerberg and Weldon, 1997).
The evidence is conclusive. The Messiah or Great Saviour sent by Almighty God is Jesus Christ, and not Yoshikazu Okada. No one else taught, performed miracles, or fulfilled the prophecies concerning the Messiah that Jesus did. There can be little doubt as to the identity of the Messiah. The most important evidence that Jesus is the Messiah is yet to be examined. This will be dealt with in the next section.