Who Do You Say That He Is?–part 1

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called my wife and me to tell us that we needed to turn on ABC Primetime. The reason? They were about to rebroadcast a very interesting story concerning a sixty year-old man from Puerto Rico named Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda (view the first segment here).

Miranda, it turns out, has openly claimed to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. More specifically, he says the same spirit that was on Jesus of Nazareth is now on him. Even so, he’s not quite what you’d expect from a man who claims to be divine.

He grew up Catholic but now appears to be against organized expressions of Christianity. In fact, he even has the number “666” tattooed on his arm as a way to challenge orthodox beliefs. Both to his home congregation and on the web, he preaches a message that asserts there is no sin, no devil, and no hell.

The dissimilarities with his supposed predecessor do not end there. He’s been married twice and has four kids. He employs bodyguards and lives an affluent lifestyle, traveling in luxury cars and wearing Rolex watches. He’s even been arrested and convicted for drunk driving.

After doing a little further digging on the web, I found out that Miranda has also previously claimed to be the reincarnation of the apostle Paul, a spiritual being called “the Other,” and most recently, he’s even labeled himself the antichrist.

Now, after hearing all of that, you might be tempted to write this man off as someone who’s nothing more than a con artist, someone that no one really takes seriously. But frankly, he can’t be dismissed so easily. Miranda apparently has a significant number of followers—one news report I read mentioned over 300 congregations in two-dozen countries. One particular couple interviewed on the Primetime report provided a remarkable example of devotion. Not only had they both received “666” tattoos, but the husband also revealed he’d happily given around $2 million to Miranda. Other followers became visibly excited in his presence.

So why do I bring this up? Simply because I think it illustrates how easy it is for people to believe something about Jesus Christ that has absolutely no basis in reality. And to put it directly, if this man can get thousands of people to believe he’s the second coming of Christ, maybe we all need to take a good hard look at what we believe about Jesus. Hopefully, some of my next posts will help us do that very thing.

So who do you say that he is?

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