Great Religious Leader?
Surprisingly, Jesus never claimed to be a religious leader. He never got into religious politics or pushed an ambitious agenda, and he ministered almost entirely outside the established religious framework.
When one compares Jesus with the other great religious leaders, a remarkable distinction emerges. All other religions provide instruction for a way of living. But it is only Jesus who offers deliverance, forgiveness for sin, and transformation. “Jesus did not only teach or expound His message. He was identical with His message.”
That point is underscored by the number of times in the Gospels that Jesus’ teaching message was simply “Come to me” or “Follow me” or “Obey me.” Also, Jesus made it clear that his primary mission was to forgive sins, something only God could do.
In The World’s Great Religions, Huston Smith observed that of all religious leaders only Jesus claimed to be divine.
And that leads us to the question of what Jesus really did claim for himself; specifically, did Jesus claim to be God?