Controversy about Jesus continues

Today Jesus remains a controversial figure. The record of Jesus" life as recorded in the Gospel accounts has come into question in many ways. For example, the Gospel writers presented the miracles of Jesus as supernatural. Today, however, many rationalize them away as a normal function of nature misunderstood at the time, or they simply dismiss them altogether as fables.

Yet another and more modern reconstruction of the true Jesus appears in books and movies about His life. For example, most people have come to accept a popular likeness of Jesus far different from the way He really looked 2,000 years ago. These portrayals give an inaccurate picture of Christ's humanity. Such movies as The Last Temptation of Christ and the stage play Jesus Christ Superstar, along with countless television productions, have left a lasting impression on our minds and in the process distorted, as we will see, the true historical Jesus.

Of course, one can easily point to variations in the beliefs and practices of those who've claimed to be Jesus' followers down through the centuries and rightfully ask the questions, "Who is the real Jesus, anyway? And why should I want to follow Him?"

Certainly if you take His statements as recorded by His first-century disciples literally, and then you consider all that has happened since, you may well perceive that most of those who have professed to follow Jesus over the centuries actually haven't—and the same is true today.

Yet you might conclude that this is only to be expected—that Jesus taught nice but impractical ideas, things that can't really work in the real world. Then again, perhaps the old saying, "the trouble with Christianity is that it has never been tried," has a lot of truth to it. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Jesus I like, but I don't know about His followers."

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