There is no doubt that Dan Brown has made a big impact in the literary world and movie-making business. He wrote the best-selling 2003 thriller The Da Vinci Code and other books as well. His books have been translated into 52 languages and, as of 2012, sold over 200 million copies. Two of them, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, have been adapted into films.
Brown states on his website that his books are not anti-Christian, though he is on a ‘constant spiritual journey’ himself, and says that his book The Da Vinci Code is simply “an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate” and suggests that the book may be used “as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith.”
At 200 million books sold, he is one of the highest selling authors of all time. But The Da Vinci Code has caused a deal of controversy. Behind the murder mystery (which is the main plot) there is a sub-plot. The story—and that’s all it is; it’s not true—says Jesus was just a man married to Mary Magdalene and that the early church knew and believed this. But the Bible narrative says nothing about this. Jesus was not married to Mary Magdalene, and there are many other errors in his book regarding art, history and literature. It might be a good story, but that’s all it is.
The real story of Jesus is found in the Bible. Jesus of Nazareth is the most influential person who ever lived. Twenty centuries after his death, he continues to exert his power of fascination over the minds of thinking men and women. In the USA, Peter Jennings’ television special The Search for Jesus attracted some 16 million viewers across the country. Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ grossed 370 million dollars. People obviously continue to be fascinated by Jesus.
Who Is Jesus?
But who is Jesus really? Is he, as the Bible says, the divine Son of God?
C. S. Lewis was right when he said:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
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Jesus is the central figure of Christianity. He was born into a Jewish family in Palestine, the region that is now Israel. He travelled through the regions of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea, teaching in the synagogues and speaking to the crowds of people who followed wherever he went. He preached about the kingdom of God, repentance, and love for all people. The Bible tells how he healed the sick wherever he went and performed many other miracles.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 NLT
It is impossible to read the Bible stories about Jesus without getting a sense of the intensity and passion of his teachings. He spoke with great authority on spiritual matters, often leaving his detractors tongue-tied and looking foolish. Many of his teachings are disturbing and shake us out of our comfort and complacency. He spoke of loving God above all other things, caring about all other people as much as we care about ourselves, the coming kingdom of God and eternal life.
Christians believe Jesus is the Saviour, the Son of God, who came to Earth to redeem us from sin, establish his spiritual kingdom of God on Earth, and to offer the promise of eternal life. Although he is not now on Earth in bodily form, he is present with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is our guide and saviour, the source of all our strength, who will lead us through this earthly life and into eternal life beyond. We can talk to him in prayer. He speaks to us through the Bible and our consciences. He strengthens us with his love.
Jesus is truly awesome—his unfailing love, his complete justice, his perfect obedience, his tender compassion, his utter hatred of evil, and his radical commitment to your good is truly awesome. And, amazingly, Jesus’ love for us, and his willingness to forgive us, cleanse us, and reunite to the God we have turned away from, is not based on anything that we possess or earn or accomplish. It is offered to us freely as a gift (Romans 6:23).