It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t have an opinion on who Jesus is and what He is about. There are more paintings, songs and books about this one person than anyone else in history. Every year there is some new theory about who He is and what He did. Even our date system pivots around this man. But why?
Was He a prophet; a good man; a teacher; a revolutionary; or a mad man with a god-complex? What is it about Jesus that has spurned so much adoration and also so much hatred?
Jesus is a historical figure
While the Discovery Channel and the like regularly give airtime to some new conspiracy theory around Jesus’ existence and life, the fact is that most historical scholars don’t dispute whether Jesus was a real, historical figure.
Jesus was a man
Jesus was a man like everyone else but he performed many miracles in his life. These miracles showed that God was with Him and had appointed Him to establish God’s Kingdom (his rule) on earth – where justice, love, mercy and grace reign. Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies found in the Old Testament that confirm Him as God’s saviour of mankind.
By living a perfect and sinless life before God, and by perfectly carrying out God’s mission of love to the world, and by resisting all the temptations of the Devil, Jesus did not carry the guilt that we all carry before God.
Jesus was crucified
Jesus was crucified by the plan of God, carried out by men. By arranging his crucifixion, despite His innocence, Jesus’ contemporaries sought a temporary political victory for their nation over the occupying forces of Rome. But it became something far different – Jesus’ death achieved a spiritual victory for all of mankind.
As the perfect man he traded his life to satisfy God’s justice against all of mankind’s sin. For God must uphold justice, as we would expect from any king. Except God’s love and mercy for mankind meant that the only way he could satisfy both his justice and love was to pour out his justice (wrath) on a willing, perfect substitute. Jesus was that willing substitute and He therefore paid the price of our sin on our behalf.
Jesus rose from the dead
Jesus rose from the dead and was seen by over 500 people before ascending to heaven. His resurrection was the final victory over death, meaning that all who trust in Jesus step into this victory and will not die eternally. It also means that all who trust in Him can enjoy God’s life right now and know God personally.
The resurrection was also Jesus’ victory over the Devil who was not able and can now never stop God’s plan of redemption to mankind. God’s true character of being both perfectly loving and perfectly just show how empty the Devil’s philosophies and ideas about God, which are pervasive in this world, actually are.
Christians trust Jesus rather than themselves, their good works or even their religious works to save them from God’s justice. That’s what it means to ‘have faith in Jesus’. His rising from the dead proved that God declares mankind free. All that remains is for people to accept this freedom from God.
Jesus is fully God
He is the all-powerful ruler over all things physical, social and individual; over nations, political systems and the individual heart; over death, wrongdoing and guilt. Whether we believe this or not doesn’t change the reality of who He is. Jesus Christ is the central message of the Bible, the figure that all of history points to, and the focal point of mankind’s future.
Jesus can be known - personally
It doesn’t matter your culture or background, Jesus has promised to give you His Holy Spirit so that you may know Him personally, as He is alive today. To become a Christian you simply decide to put your trust in Jesus for salvation rather than in anything else – be it yourself, money, or even a religion. It’s Jesus alone who brings life and He is willing to give it to all who simply trust in Him. There is nothing else required of you except simple trust!
Why the good news of Jesus will change your life
We all bear guilt, shame, feelings of being unworthy; or the opposite problem of thinking too highly of ourselves, comparing ourselves with others, and stepping on whoever gets in our way.
In the Bible, Romans 3:23 says:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Whether or not you believe the Bible is true, the fact is it’s stating the obvious here:
We’ve all messed up.
We’ve all treated others badly. None of us have lived up to what it truly means to love. We’ve all missed the mark of what is truly good. We’ve stepped on others, treated them unfairly, used them and perhaps abused them. And we all struggle to love even ourselves. This is what it means to say we’ve all sinned. This has separated us from God. One day we will face judgement for all our sin.
In the Bible, Romans 6:23 says:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If we’re honest, we have to admit that we all live as slaves to our sin. Most of the time we can’t even help it – we act in ways that even we don’t like.
Jesus comes to free us
In the Bible, John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The good news of Jesus is that he comes to free us from our slavery to our sin and the judgement to come for our sin. It’s not about how you need to clean yourself up to make God happy to get you to heaven.
In the Bible, Titus 3:5 says:
He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Ever wanted to start again?
Here’s your chance!
In the Bible, John 14:6 says:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There is no other way to God. Jesus is the only way. When Jesus died on a cross, He took all of your sin upon himself and defeated the evil in your life and in this world. As Isaiah 53:5 says in the Bible:
He [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
It’s through simply putting your faith (your trust) in Jesus, rather than your own righteousness or goodness or ability to live a moral life, that you are saved from the judgement to come, and saved from your own sin. No spiritual method or god or philosophy can save you except Jesus.
In the Bible, 1 John 1:9 says:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Ask Jesus to save you and lead your life
Here’s a prayer you can follow:
God, you created me and you have the right to lead my life. But I have sinned against you, a holy God, and I have been separated from you. Jesus, I believe you are the unique Son of God who died for my sins, rose again, and who is still alive. From now on I put my faith in you alone and commit my life to you.