Jesus Visited India?

Jesus’ “Lost” Years

By Grantley Morris


Jesus Visited India?

Jesus Visited India?

Jesus’ “Lost” Years

    The people of India are of extreme importance to God – so much so that the eternal Son of God visited this planet in human form specifically to offer his sinless life as the only sacrifice holy enough to atone for human spiritual shortcomings so that Indians could have full access to the terrifyingly holy Almighty God of the universe. The same is true for every tribe and language and people group on this planet:

      Revelation 5:9-13 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (more)

    As the risen Lord, Jesus not only visits India but reigns in the hearts of large numbers of Indians – and Chinese, Africans, Europeans and so on.

    But did Jesus visit India sometime within the short period between the time he reached maturity and the age of thirty when he commenced the ministry in Israel that lead to his sacrifice in Jerusalem?

    Ground Rules

    I have a dilemma. Things I wish I could instantly download into your mind take decades of study to fully appreciate. I am keen to avoid weighing down anyone with details and yet it is ignorance of those very details that causes people to entertain notions that do not fit the facts. I have relegated most of these details to links scattered throughout the webpage but if you really want truth, these links need to be read. Then you will be armed with the unadulterated facts on which to build your own conclusion.

    Unless you prefer a meaningless fantasy trip, I am forced to keep citing the most ancient, most attested and most historically accurate documents we have about Jesus. There are several criteria one must consider:

      * How soon after Jesus’ death the document was written

      * The time gap between the writing of the account and the earliest surviving manuscripts

      * The number of surviving ancient manuscripts

      * The degree of agreement among the ancient manuscripts

      * The extent to which geographical, cultural and historical details in the account agree with facts known from other sources

      * The reliance upon eyewitnesses and careful investigation of the facts (a rarity in ancient times).

    The documents that stand head and shoulders above any other contenders happen to be the ancient library now known as the New Testament. For an example of the care taken, see Luke 1:1-4. For confirmation that these documents are without rival, see F. F. Bruce The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?

    To avoid giving an inflated impression of how frequently Jesus did or said various things, I have striven to avoid citing additional accounts of the same event in other Gospels.

    Although in authenticity and dependability, no other source of information about Jesus remotely approaches the diverse writings that now form the New Testament, a few skeptics wonder whether all this detailed documentation of Jesus’ life and teaching might have somehow been doctored by Jewish sympathizers to remove all reference to India and to Indian influence on Jesus. We will see later why it is not feasible to suppose such doctoring of multiple accounts (all of which we now know were completed close in time to the events they record and accurately preserved since then). But here’s the clincher: how could those who compiled these records think of themselves as faithful followers of Jesus – as the writers clearly considered themselves to be – while being so ashamed of Jesus as to deliberately mutilate accounts of his teaching?

    More disturbing still: it is an insult to God himself to suppose that these ancient accounts of Jesus’ ministry might have prejudicially removed reference to key aspects of Jesus’ life. If Jesus’ staggering claims are true, such as “No one comes to [God] the Father except through me” (John 14:6), for Almighty God to have allowed the record of Jesus’ message to have been lost or distorted for subsequent generations would be a tragedy beyond belief. Moreover, Jesus declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31).

    What makes it such an insult to query the accuracy of the records is that Jesus, after devoting considerable prayer, handpicked the twelve apostles to personally train them as the custodians of his message and he commissioned them to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). See Documented Proof. To them he declared, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” (Acts 1:8).

    If being Jewish created a bias that Jesus objected to, why did he entrust exclusively to them the responsibility of being the earliest, most critically important custodians of his message? In fact, Jesus kept insisting that it was no historical accident that certain people were the original carriers of his message. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you . . .” (John 15:16) he told the select few of whom he said, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you,” ( Matthew 10:18-20). For more documented proof, see Chosen. And at the end of his earthly mission it was to them that he said, “. . . As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. . . . If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven,” (John 20:21,23).

    On top of that, Jesus proclaimed that after his death he would always be with them through God’s Spirit and that they would be divinely empowered with special abilities that would supernaturally equip them both to accurately recall Jesus’ message and to understand its spiritual meaning:

      John 14:26; 15:15,19,20,26,27; 16:12,13,15 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. . . . But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. . . . I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  . . . If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. . . . When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. . . . the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (Emphasis mine.)

    If their Jewish background gave them a bias that Jesus objected to, why did he entrust exclusively to them the responsibility of being the earliest, most critically important, custodians of his message? Furthermore, in one of the only recorded instances of Jesus ever conversing with a non-Jew, he declared, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews,” (John 4:22). Since Jesus opted not to leave behind any of his own writings, almost nothing in the universe was as critical as the responsibility of those he chose to transmit his message to subsequent generations. There is even a sense in which their role was greater than Jesus’ because if they failed it would have rendered Jesus’ life and death a waste. If Jesus got wrong his choice of people to transmit his message, he is not the eternal Son of God but a fallible human who could neither foresee nor influence the future. This would make him unworthy to be followed as a spiritual leader, much less worshipped.

    In reality, Jesus always knew exactly what he was doing. He knew, for example, that Judas would betray him and that Peter and the other disciples would deny him but afterwards be faithful (Documented Proof).

    To zero in on the bare facts of Jesus’ teaching and shun Christian interpretation or bias, I will primarily cite the actual recorded words of Jesus and mostly side-step mentioning comments in the Gospels make by the authors. I will also largely avoid mentioning other significant early Christian writings (the rest of the Christian Bible). This voluntary restriction is despite the fact that:

      (1) they reinforce my arguments

      (2) besides the Gospels themselves, these are the writings of people who were more familiar with Jesus’ life and message than anyone else from whom we can gain information and the ones to whom Jesus entrusted the transmission of his message.

      (For more see The Unique Value of the Apostle Paul’s Writings to Understanding Jesus.)

    Although I have primarily limited myself to the words of Jesus himself, it turns out that there are no obvious contradictions between his actual words and the Jewish Scriptures and the rest of the New Testament.

    I should confess my own bias. I am not in any sense a Jew; neither (to my knowledge) by remote ancestry, nor by religion. Neither am I an Indian.

    It might at first seem strange but one does not have to study Jesus’ life and teachings for long before discovering that no genuine examination of whether Jesus visited India can avoid frequent citations of the Jewish Scriptures. These are the writings that today are commonly called the Old Testament; the part of the Bible written before Jesus was born.

    I don’t expect anyone to accept what I say until carefully considering the evidence presented deeper in this series of webpage but, as surprising as it might initially seem, it turns out that what makes an extensive understanding of the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) so critical is not only the unique role Jesus assigns to it as the prime source of spiritual truth, but there is a real sense in which these Jewish Scriptures are the dictionary containing all the definitions of the words Jesus used.

    The Plunge

    If we let our imaginations run wild, we might guess that Jesus did spectacular things prior to age thirty – when the records say he was anointed and empowered for ministry by the Holy Spirit of God. Such flights of fantasy, however, are not supported by the facts.

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Proof), which by his contemporaries’ standards was a long way from Nazareth, and he spent his early days in Egypt (Proof), yet he spent so long in Nazareth before he turned thirty that much is made in the historical accounts of the fact that that he was known as Jesus of Nazareth (Eighteen Ancient Examples). Nazareth was in the province of Galilee and so there are other references to Jesus being from Galilee (Several Examples). Galileans had a distinctive accent that differed from other parts of Palestine (proof). I spent just a few months in an Asian country and returned home with a different accent but there is no hint that Jesus’ accent differed from other Galileans.

    Reincarnation teaches a much closer connection between animals and humans than most other religions teach. It is partly because of this that although there is a huge range of conflicting Indian religions, vegetarianism is fundamental to most of them. So if Jesus were not a vegetarian he could not be accepted by those religions. And if Jesus rejected vegetarianism, he would not only be indicating that he disagreed with those religions for which vegetarianism is a fundamental tenant; it would be hard to claim that he was even mildly influenced by them. This makes another webpage in this series vitally important: Was Jesus a Vegetarian?

    The time for the truth about Jesus to be fully revealed was not in Jesus’ younger days, nor even his latter earthly years but after his death and resurrection. This applied even for Jesus’ inner circle, who were granted spiritual insights, interpretation of parables and so on that were denied everyone else (Mark 4:10-11).

    He told them:

      John 14:19-20,25-26; 16:7,13-14 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. . . . All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things . . . But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. . . . But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. . . . He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

    Note that it was not until after Jesus’ resurrection that the following exchange took place between Jesus and his apostles:

      Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. . . .”

    Here’s further confirmation:

      John 12:16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

    Being kept in the dark until after Jesus’ resurrection was even more emphatic for Jesus’ other Jewish contemporaries:

      Matthew 12:15  . . . Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was.

      Matthew 16:16,17,20 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. . . .” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

      Mark 9:9 As they were coming down the mountain [where Jesus had been transfigured], Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

      Many Other Examples

    And keeping things hidden until after Jesus’ resurrection applied still more to people who were not Jews:

      Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. . . .”

    The Hebrew word Messiah and its Greek equivalent (Christ) both mean “anointed by the Spirit of God”. Since the entire concept in based on the Jewish Scriptures, one must understand that Jewish kings, priests and prophets were anointed. Here are some exaamples:

      Exodus 30:30-32 Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on men’s bodies [i.e. on ordinary people] and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred.

      Leviticus 21:10,12 The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head . . . he has been dedicated by the anointing oil of his God. . . .

      1 Samuel 10:1,6 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance?” . . . The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

      1 Samuel 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

    The anointing was the time when they were called by God for a special role and endowed with the spiritual resources to fulfill that calling.

    Jesus was not just anointed, he was the anointed one– the one uniquely called and spiritually empowered as priest, spiritual King of kings and the prophet par excellence.

      Matthew 16:13-14,20 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
      They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” [Note how even while Jesus was on earth all sorts of myths and mistaken ideas about Jesus developed but Jesus cut through all of this by ensuring his apostles correctly understood.]
      “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
      Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ [ anointed one], the Son of the living God.”
      Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. . . .” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. [Note again how the truth about Jesus was kept from the masses until after Jesus’ resurrection.]

    The time when Jesus was anointed – spiritually empowered to minister – was when the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism. Note that the following is one block of Scripture, separated only by my comments in square brackets:

      Matthew 2:19-3:1 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.” In those days [ie the days when Jesus was still in Nazareth. There is not the slightest hint of a gap when Jesus was not living there.] John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

    Then follows a description of John’s ministry, followed immediately by:

      Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

    Let’s examine Luke’s account of what happened:

      Luke 3:21-23 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. . . .

      Time Out

      I will continue with Luke’s narrative shortly but first I should comment on the above and also quote from elsewhere to show it dovetails perfectly other ancient accounts.

      Note that the text says: “Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry”. His ministry did not begin until he was baptized in the Spirit at age thirty.

      According Jewish Scriptures the age of thirty is significant. It was the age at which, God’s chosen ones, born for the role of serving God in his temple (Levites), were allowed to commence service (Numbers 4:3). It was the age at which Ezekiel began his prophetic ministry (Ezekiel 1:1) and it was age that Joseph “entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Genesis 41:46). Joseph was one of many people in the Jewish Scriptures who had aspects of their lives that were divinely crafted to bear similarities to the Messiah (More).

      This is consistent with John’s Gospel which says about him turning water into wine:

        John 2:11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

      This was the first of his miracles.

      It is also consistent with what we read in Luke’s second book, Acts:

        Acts 1-2 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven . . .

      After Judas’s death, it was decided that someone highly familiar with Jesus’ entire ministry must replace him. Note the italicized words:

        Acts 1:20-22 “ . . . ‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

      Despite Jesus having great plans for his disciples, he told them after his resurrection to remain where they were and simply wait until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8). The same applied to Jesus, their Leader and Example. He, too, had to wait – put his ministry on hold – until the spiritual empowering that took at this baptism. Timing was everything to Jesus. Consider this exchange with his brothers:

        John 7:3-8 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”  . . . Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come . . . for me the right time has not yet come.”

      Again, when his mother sought a miracle he said:

        John 2:4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

      Other Scriptures showing how critical timing was to Jesus.

      One might guess that because Jesus taught and performed miracles after his baptism that he must also have acted that way beforehand. Nevertheless, not only is this contrary to the evidence, the records provide powerful spiritual reasons for his baptism being a watershed moment that radically altered Jesus.

      Even after his anointing, however, Jesus was very careful to restrict his ministry not just geographically but even ethnically. Despite his immense compassion for all people, consider his extreme reluctance to work a solitary miracle for a non-Jew:

        Matthew 15:22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” . . . (Emphasis mine.)

      Likewise, despite his stupendous compassion – and plans – for every people group on the entire planet, while Jesus remained on earth he instructed his disciples to limit themselves to Jews:

        Matthew 10:6-8 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. . . .”

      Jesus knew the time would come (after his resurrection) when he would commission his disciples to go into the entire world and he would go with them in spirit and through them preach and work miracles in every nation (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20). As we have seen, however, timing was critically important to Jesus.

    Back to Luke’s Narrative

    We had been quoting from Luke’s first book about Jesus’ baptism. Let’s return to that text. It states that immediately after his baptism, Jesus, filled with the Spirit, was led into the wilderness where he was tempted:

      Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. . . .

    Immediately after an account of the temptations we read:

      Luke 4:13-30 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “ Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” [The people Jesus had grown up with were so unfamiliar with Jesus’ miracles that they wanted to see some for themselves.] “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. . . . All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

    Note how this passages emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ anointing and that it had only recently occurred. Also note in the above that those in his hometown had not seen Jesus’ miracles.

    Consider also the following that took place later:

      Mark 6:1-5 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! [Here again we find that those who best knew Jesus prior to his baptism were flabbergasted that he was now performing miracles and displaying spiritual wisdom. (And we shall later see that the wisdom they refer to was thoroughly Jewish and showed no trace of Indian wisdom.) It is yet another proof of the radical transformation brought about by Jesus’ spiritual anointing when he was empowered by the Holy Spirit.] Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” [They considered a person’s family to be a fundamental part of his background and who he is and everything they had gleaned about Jesus over all those years prior to his baptism screamed that there was nothing special about him.] And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

    The so called “lost years” were simply years Jesus spent in Nazareth during which his life was so ordinary that there was nothing worth mentioning.

    We quoted Matthew chapter 2 earlier, where it states that while, still a child, Jesus went to live in Nazareth. Jews were expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the feasts and there is no hint that after his brief exile in Egypt as a baby, he ever again went further from home. Luke gives this same impression:

      Luke 2:39-42,51-3:2 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar – when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene – during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John [the Baptist] son of Zechariah in the desert.

    The Uniqueness of Jesus

    This section is critical to a serious discussion of whether Jesus visited Indian and yet is typically missed by those who fantasize about Jesus visiting India.

    Jesus made it clear that John the Baptist was the prophet par excellence sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus (proof). Here is John’s testimony of Jesus:

      John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! . . .”

    Jesus’ primary role in coming to earth was to remove the spiritual consequences of not just Israel’s sin, but the sins of the entire world. The term Lamb of God is powerfully significant. All of John’s original hearers knew as emphatically as each knew his/her own name, the connection between a lamb, God and sin. A central aspect of the Jewish Scriptures is that lambs were innocent, undefiled creatures that were sacrificed to God for human sin. Their spiritual purpose was not, of course, to teach but to bridge the abyss between the fearsomely holy God and spiritually defiled humanity. By their own sacrificial death, lambs paid the penalty for human sin, making it possible for humans to commune with the Holy Lord of creation. Jesus, however, was not just a lamb but the Lamb – the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s sin. All religious sacrifices were mere symbols; Jesus was the real thing.

    Here is Jesus’ description of his purpose in coming to earth:

      Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

    All of humanity had been kidnapped by evil and the only ransom that could secure our release is the death of God’s only Son. To quote Jesus again:

      John 3:14-18 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert [Numbers 21:6-9], so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    Just before he was arrested and crucified, Jesus instructed his disciples as to what they should forever focus on when thinking of what he achieved through coming to earth. In the words of the apostle Paul (the gospel accounts are similar):

      1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (Emphasis mine.)

    Jesus did not come to earth to teach us how to connect with God but to be our connection with God.

    Spiritually, we are drowning in our sin. Jesus came not to teach us how to swim but to dive into the deadly waters and rescue us at the cost of his own life. None of us has what it takes to save ourselves. Jesus insisted that as a branch cut off from a tree would shrivel up and die, so your spiritual survival hinges on having a perpetual union with him as total, intimate and life-giving as a branch’s union with a tree:

      John 15:4-6 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

      (Emphasis mine.)

    Again to quote Jesus:

      John 10:9-11,27-30 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. . . . ; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . . . My sheep . . . follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. . . . My Father [God], who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

      John 11:25  . . . I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies

      Matthew 11:27  . . . no one knows the Father [God] except the Son [Jesus] and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

      John 5:21-29 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son [Jesus] gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father [God] judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

      John 6:51-54 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . . I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [Jesus’ followers found this saying so incomprehensible that many left him because of it. Those who stayed with him eventually discovered that Jesus was referring to his sacrificial death, which we must spiritually partake in if we are to have spiritual life.]

    Peter, fresh from intensive years learning from Jesus and then being divinely endowed both to understand and communicate spiritual truth, summarized Jesus’ ministry this way:

      Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

    To quote two other ancient sources:

      1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.

      1 Peter 3:18,21-22 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit . . . It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

      1 John 5:11-12  . . . God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

    In the words of the Apostle Paul:

      Colossians 1:15-22 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

    There is no spiritual alternative to Jesus. He is not merely a teacher but the world’s only spiritual Savior; humanity’s only hope of connecting with God. Don’t pretend that you can reject that truth without rejecting Jesus. Note his staggering words:

      John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me. . . .”

    Jesus did not come to teach the way to God; he is the way. He did not come to reach spiritual truth; he is the truth. Neither did he come to show us how to live; if we want spiritual life, he is our life. No one comes to God except through him.

    It is highly significant that not only in the above quote but over and over Jesus kept referring to God as Father. You might have many friends and many teachers but you can only have one father. This very term destroys both polytheism (belief in more than one god) and the pantheism (belief that God is impersonal and exists in rocks, plants and so on) that was present in most forms of Indian religion that existed when Jesus lived on this planet.

    A father gives a child life and might be superior to the child but has a nature that has much in common with his offspring. Rocks don’t father children; fish don’t beget giraffes. If we can think and feel, so can God. Moreover, Jesus emphasized that to be like God a father should not be cold and impersonal but must love and nurture his children and be deeply moved by his children’s needs and requests:

      Matthew 7:9-11 Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

    The God that Jesus portrayed was not the God of Indian religions. Moreover, Jesus is not an alternative or add on to any religion; not just a light in a dark world, but light of the entire world (John 8:12); humanity’s one and only hope:

      2 John 1:9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

    You can choose to risk eternity and gamble that you do not need Jesus as utterly as he insisted that you do. You can think there are substitutes that will let you survive spiritually. To believe this, however, is to reject Jesus’ teaching and to claim to be more truthful and spiritually enlightened than him. Jesus maintained that the consequences of ignoring him are catastrophic but if he is just another teacher, then what he did and believed, in reference to India or anything else, is of little consequence. Maybe you could even risk other people’s eternity and try to seduce Christians into straying from Jesus and embracing another religion.

    The Story so Far and Beyond

    The Gospel accounts are attested as historical records of immense authenticity. They are emphatic that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, taken to Egypt as a child, later settled in Nazareth, had an itinerant ministry in Israel and offered his life as the ultimate in Jerusalem. Each of these geographical movements are not just carefully documented but emphasized as being so much of the divine plan that they were prophesied centuries before they happened (Examples). Not only is there no evidence or even a hint in all the New Testament records that Jesus that ever ventured out of Palestine, except for his childhood sojourn in Egypt, all evidence and the thrust of the entire Bible is to the contrary.

    Furthermore, as will be further confirmed in the next webpage, we find multiple ancient accounts, each showing Jesus’ teaching to be distinctive and unique, and yet thoroughly Jewish and devoid of Indian influence. Every authenticated record of Jesus’ teaching is Jewish to the extreme. But what would have been the point of Jesus travelling what in his era was the enormous distance to India if he had nothing to gain from the journey? And if he did learn anything it would have stood out in his teaching like a giraffe with sore neck.

    If, in fact, Jesus had been influenced by Indian religions, the removal of all hint of it have had to be an exceedingly deliberate act by many people, it require intellects beyond that of your average full-time fishermen.

    Such doctoring would have had to have been highly consistent and extensive because there simply is not a trace of Indian influence in all biblical records of Jesus’ teachings. At first thought, this might not surprise, since Jesus’ apostles were Jewish. However, the slightest hint of Indian influence in Jesus’ original teaching – or in even in his accent – would have stood out like a flashing neon target, seizing every Palestinian Jew’s attention and sending everyone’s tongue into overdrive.

    Fierce, unrelenting opposition to other religions was central to Jewish beliefs. Consider, for example, the Ten Commandments, the first two of which are:

      Exodus 20:3-5 You shall have no other gods before me.
      You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God . . .

    A huge proportion of the Jewish Scriptures is filled with warnings about the dire consequences of introducing aspects of other religions into their own and with descriptions of the terrible divine punishments that resulted (a few examples). Anyone guilty of enticing a Jew to do this incurred the death penalty. Please read the following from the Jewish Scriptures to see just how serious this was

      Deuteronomy 13:1-16 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you. If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again. If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt.

    Even if, for some perverse reason, those closest to Jesus were so ashamed of their Lord that they wanted to doctor his teaching, the removal of all Indian influence in the accounts would not have changed what was heard by all the Jewish leaders eager to condemn Jesus and the countless thousands in the crowds listening to his sermons. Anything so foreign to their beliefs would have been indelibly edged into their minds and vigorously gossiped about throughout Judaism. Anyone seeking to counter this would have had to go anywhere by merely ignoring it; he would have gone into serious damage control, trying to put a positive spin on the undeniable facts.

    Moreover, Jesus’ religious enemies were eager to accuse him of heresy and were continually trying to trap him (many examples) and yet they could find nothing except Jesus’ own staggering claims about himself (Mark 2:7; Mark 14:61-64) and failed accusations of Jesus not being as fanatically rigid as they were about the lengths one should go to in keeping the Sabbath.

    And how could all the writers of the New Testament – the one’s Jesus carefully entrusted with the responsibility of recording his message for posterity – consider themselves disciples of Jesus if they were so ashamed of a stand out feature of their Master’s teachings that they not only did not teach it themselves but removed all trace from their accounts of Jesus’ teachings? Isn’t it preposterous that they would willingly suffer extreme flogging (Acts 5:40; 2 Corinthians 12:23-28) and death (Acts 7:59-60) for Jesus if they believed he was so wrong that his teaching contained doctrinal errors?

    And if Jesus’ faithful followers carefully removed non-Jewish aspects of Jesus’ teaching from their records, what would have been their motivation? All of the synoptic gospels (John’s account was even later) end with Jesus’ commission to preach the message far beyond Jewish borders. With non-Jews quickly proving receptive to the Gospel message, and if there were aspects of non-Jewish beliefs in Jesus’ message, why would so many go to such extremes to try to rip out every trace of them?

    One of the most radical aspects of early Christianity is that it moved out of the Jewish world to embrace non-Jews of all races. This was a source of considerable controversy at first because Jesus’ initial followers were Jews and they considered they had a special place in God’s heart. At this time when they were seeking to prove that this move to preach the gospel to non-Jews was truly of God, they would have been quick to seize the fact that Jesus went to India as proof that by going to non-Jews they were following in Jesus’ lead. Yet they never mentioned it.

    There are three more webpages in this series. Each removes still further any possibility of Jesus having any cause to visit India. They show that Jesus rejected some basic tenants of most Indian religions and was not in any way influenced by Indian religion or thinking. The first webpage, Jesus’ Use of the Jewish Bible, reveals Jesus’ amazingly strong, consistent and exclusive commitment to the Jesus Scriptures as the source of spiritual truth.

    In stark contrast to most Indian religions, eating meat (including cows) was of great importance to the Jewish Scriptures. The second webpage, Was Jesus a vegetarian? proves that Jesus both approved of eating meat and ate meat himself.

    The third webpage, Reincarnation & Jesus, the Bible & Christianity, shows that Jesus did not believe in reincarnation.

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    Not to be sold. © Copyright, 1996, 2005, 2009, 2014 Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site Freely you have received, freely give.