Today, more than half the world’s population — 31% Christian and 23% Muslim — regard Jesus the Son of Mary as a messianic figure who brought God’s message to the world. And what was that message? As Jesus announced to his hometown synagogue, reading aloud from the Torah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for He has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Luke 4:18-19, quoting from the Book of Isaiah)
Jesus taught a religion of boundless hope for all people — that we are beloved children of God, called to a high destiny as sources of light and ministers of compassion in our world.
But in a world full of ignorance and suffering, there were bound to be misunderstandings. For 2,000 years, people have been twisting the religion of Jesus into the very things he opposed — and in so doing, they have impoverished their spirits in a prison of darkness, bringing God’s disfavor upon their cause.