The Christian Post, along with other media outlets, reports that last week CNN host Don Lemon, during an interview with Chris Cuomo, claimed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was not perfect when He walked among men. Such a statement strikes at the very core of Christianity and the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. The comment sent ripples through the Christian community and generated a flood of criticism against the journalist.
Lemon states, “Jesus Christ, if you believe in, if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ, admittedly, was not perfect when He was here on this earth.”1 He injects the comment into a larger conversation about the nation’s founding fathers and how they were not perfect people. Instead, they were as fallible as anyone else, which is rightfully so. The remark about Jesus did not contribute to the overall discussion, and it seemed to be nothing more than a rogue, oh-by-the-way.
Now some could view Lemon’s rogue comment as saying Jesus admitted to not being perfect, which Scripture does not support whatsoever. The term “admittedly” also means “truthfully,” and in this case, Lemon used it to present his remark as a matter of fact without supporting his claim, and yet, many will accept his words as fact and be further led astray.
I found part of Lemon’s statement surprising. By referring to Jesus as someone, not something, it seems to imply that He believes in or at least acknowledges Jesus on a basic level, but with some apparent Scriptural knowledge gaps. For example, Jesus was not just a man; He was both fully God and fully man. Therefore, the following will help people fill in the gaps of missing information about Jesus being perfect, and the answers are those from God’s infallible, inspired word, not mine.
Short of going back to man’s fall in the book of Genesis, let us begin in the book of Romans and do somewhat of a flyover of the facts. Apostle Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). In other words, in one form or another, each of us has broken God’s law, and therefore we stand condemned before a righteous and holy God.
The Bible further states that “under the law, almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb. 9:22). That means the only way a person can reconcile with God is through the shedding of blood. Under Levitical law in the Old Testament, the High Priest would enter into the tabernacle and the holy of holies once a year to make an animal sacrifice to atone for the people’s sins. It is known as the Day of Atonement.
Aaron, brother of Moses, was charged with making atonement for the people. Leviticus chapter 16 details the ceremonial procedures that he had to follow and do so with precision or risk being struck down by the Lord. In fact, the people tied a rope around the High Priest to drag him out of the tabernacle if he were struck dead. Part of the ceremony required him to present two goats at the tabernacle entrance where he would draw lots to see which one would be sacrificed to the Lord leaving the other as the scapegoat for the people.
In “Why Did God Require Animal Sacrifices in the Bible? Does it Serve Any Purpose Today?” author Alyssa Roat (2019) puts the animal sacrifice into perspective.2 She wrote:
Unlike the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament that were a temporary atonement of sin, Jesus came into the world to make final restitution for the people’s sins of all time–past, present, and future. When referring to Jesus as the perfect sacrifice, Apostle Peter wrote, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
In writing to the Corinthian church, Apostle Paul wrote, “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Apostle John wrote, “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him, there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). Lastly, Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).
Only a perfect sacrifice, one without blemish, one without sin, could fulfill God’s righteous requirement for forgiveness. Since all people fall short because of sin, God chose Himself to be our ultimate sacrifice, our scapegoat once and for all. If Jesus were not perfect, He, too, like man, would have fallen short and unable to save himself or the world that He, being God, so loved.
The problem with comments like the one given by Lemon, out of perhaps ignorance or defiance, is the influence they carry among those who are young in their faith and yet spiritually weak. Not to mention those who have yet to believe that Jesus is indeed the Lamb of God. Here, the takeaway is that we must always refer to the Bible to confirm or disprove what a person claims as being a biblical truth.
In most cases, I suspect those who profess such falsehoods have likely never read the Bible in its entirety. Therefore, let us set out and continue to teach and strengthen the biblical knowledge of our neighbors and our community. Together, let’s make a difference for Jesus, who made an eternal difference for those of us who choose to believe! The Bible says, “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) meaning for God so loves you.
1. Rosas, J. (2020). Don Lemon Asserts Jesus Christ ‘Was Not Perfect’ While He Was on Earth. [Video file]. Cuomo Prime Time. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21Sbaiu89S0.
2. Roat, A. (2019, June 27). Why Did God Require Animal Sacrifices in the Bible? Does it Serve Any Purpose Today?. Christianity.com. Retrieved from https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/why-did-god-require-animal-sacrifices-in-the-bible-does-it-serve-any-purpose-today.html.
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