Bible Reading · Spread Joy

Why Jesus anyways?

It was actually a while after I accepted Christ as my Saviour before I truly understood how ‘it all worked.’ We hear it every Christmas, Jesus was born to save the world. We hear it at Easter, Jesus died and on the 3rd day he rose to life and now we are allowed to go to Heaven if we accept him. But, does any of that make sense without the back story? I always struggled to understand this. Yes, I know Jesus is God’s son, and he died, and came to life again, but how does that mean I am forgiven of my sins? It never made any sense to me at all. I knew we were all sons and daughters of God, just like Jesus, and I knew we were supposed to call Jesus our Saviour to be recognized as his before God, but still the connection seemed to be missing for me as to how I was forgiven by someone being crucified.

I want to take some time to explain this, because I feel like many people coming from a non-Christian upbringing may also struggle with connecting these dots as I did.

I grew up believing in God. Without going to church regularly, I picked up a few things here and there, and throughout times of my life, I would pray to God but I never understood Jesus so my prayers never included him. I was sure that God had to have created us and the universe, because things seemed too complicated to be ‘just a fluke.’ I had snow-bird Grandparents who attended church while they were in Florida, and would say grace with us at holiday meals, and I have a few memories of conversations about Jesus with my Grampa but I still never really got it, so I went on believing in God and thinking that was it. Jesus was just some guy all the religious folks seemed to admire. I knew there were religions called Judaism, Christianity and Islam but I didn’t know a single thing about them, their similarities or their differences. I just believed in God.

Fast forward to after I accepted Jesus as my saviour, and still didn’t quite get the connection. I knew from learning about him that Jesus was an amazing man, and someone I wanted to be more like, so I felt confident accepting him as my saviour, but I began to wonder – How do we know that Jesus truly is the son of God not just some other guy from the Bible? What does his death mean?  I found some answers in the Bible, but it seemed like I barely knew anything and there was so much. (This is why I recommend a study Bible in my post titled Note to Self: Read My Bible, found here: https://seekinghispeaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/note-to-self-read-my-bible/) The more I read through the book of Matthew and learned of Jesus’ teachings, miracles and lessons, the more I realized that I truly believed, he was the true Son of God. He just was too perfect and did far too many awe inspiring things to be entirely human in my eyes.

So, what makes him the Son of God? Before Mary (Jesus’ Mother) was pregnant, as the well known Christmas story goes, she was a virgin. An angel of the Lord appeared before her and told her that she was chosen to carry a child. Here is the text from Luke Chapter 1, Verses 30-36:  ““Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favour with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

From this we can see that the baby was conceived miraculously, his true Father being God Himself. We also see reference to Israel and David. Israel is the name of God’s chosen people who today would be referred to as Jewish and the old Testament promised that King David, a wise ruler over Israel (who wrote many of the Psalms in the book of Psalms) would have the Saviour (Messiah, Jesus) born in his lineage. Joseph,  Mary’s Husband, and Jesus’ legal father was a descendant of David, and that’s what the verse was referring to. There is so much more to this part of the story, for example an angel approaches Joseph as well, but in trying to keep this simple, I will invite you to read any of the 4 Gospel books in the Bible yourself for the full version (The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.)

So, why would the son of God have to come to earth? This is where the connection was always lost for me because I didn’t ever read the Bible, or have any experience in understanding the Old Testament or Jewish traditions.

The Israelites (or the Jewish people, referred to as Israelites in the Old Testament) followed the law that God had given them through a previous leader named Moses. Each time a person broke the law, there was a sacrifice that required being made – consider it a penalty for breaking the law, like paying a fine or doing jail time in today’s terms. Often, the penalty was something like an ox, a bird, oil or something of value from that day and time that would need to be poured out or sacrificed at the altar to get forgiveness for the sin committed.

The problem with the Israelites is that they were a sinful bunch (and truthfully, we all are.)  The Old Testament books are full of stories where the Israelites would rebel against the rules God had given them, they would even go as far as to worship idols, and completely disregard God’s will for their lives. Time and time again we see them punished as a nation for the crimes they committed against God, and yet they never seemed to learn their lesson. God came to their aid many times, he bailed them out of many situations, and they were always so quick to forget the miracles He had done and think of themselves and what they wanted.

So, God sees this is not going well. His people are stubborn, they don’t seem to be learning or changing, and therefore they need the ultimate sacrifice: His son. God sends Jesus to earth through Mary, and when Jesus was about 30 years old, he began his ministry. His time spent teaching was very limited  (about 3 years total before his death) as the zealously religious folks at the time really loathed him and wanted to punish him with death for saying that he was the Son of God. They didn’t believe him, and felt he was full of blasphemy. Some even feared he was possessed by demons because of the miracles he was committing. He scared them because they couldn’t explain his actions, they felt convicted by him and they were so focused on the law and rules that they couldn’t understand why this man would act differently than many of the traditions they were accustomed to (including eating with the lowest people of society like prostitutes and tax collectors, healing the lame and forgiving those with major problems.)

During his time on earth, Jesus traveled and taught many. He kept 3 friends very close to him, 12 disciples (followers, in other words) whom he invested time teaching, and had interactions with crowds and people all over. The 12 disciples he taught (including the 3 he was really close to) are the men who spread the word of Jesus after his death and resurrection. Many of their stories are written in the book of Acts, and through out the New Testament. We can thank their bravery for starting the Christian church as we know it today.

It was a fact that Jesus walked this earth, the discrepancy lies in whether you believe or not that he was the Son of God.  Of the three major religions, this is where the difference is. The Jewish people don’t believe he was the Son of God, and the Islamic people think he was just a prophet.  Christians are the people who believe that Jesus was the son of God, follow the teachings of Jesus and believe he was conceived miraculously, died on the cross and rose to life again 3 days later, ascending into heaven shortly after. The Old Testament is full of prophecies predicting Jesus’ life that were accurate, and he fulfilled so many (see: https://bible.org/article/messianic-prophecies for more information and examples.) Jesus himself warned of false teachers, including the Islamic ideology that he was just a prophet. The amount of evidence in the Bible that Jesus is the true Son of God is immeasurable. Again, don’t just take my word for it!

Now, lets get to how the death of Jesus forgave us all: Traditionally, the Israelites would celebrate an event called “Passover”, to commemorate when Moses helped them escape slavery from Egypt. They celebrated Passover every year, and as required by law they would sacrifice a lamb at the altar of God. In God’s perfect timing, Jesus was taken to the cross during Passover (and this is why he’s often referred to as the sacrificial lamb.) His death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice. It all comes down to that. God sent Jesus to earth knowing he would die on the cross during the Passover celebration. He sent Jesus knowing that Jesus would give us an amazing example of God’s love, a powerful display of how to change our hearts to be more godly, and since Jesus’ death meant the debt for sins was paid, God knew we would all be able to draw closer to him through our thanksgiving for Jesus. Now, when God looks at his people, he doesn’t just see the Israelites who struggle to follow his rules despite how much He loved them, He sees all of us who have accepted Christ as our personal Saviour as children of His. He literally sees Jesus in us, and loves us the very same way He loves his true son Jesus.  He sees perfect, flawless Jesus when he looks at our faces, and not our problems, our faults, our shame, our guilt and our troubles.

On the 1st day (known as Good Friday to Christians,) Jesus was crucified and died. The Bible tells us, at the exact moment of Jesus’ death, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew:27:51) The curtain in the temple allowed only the holiest leaders to have access to God, and the tearing down of the curtain meant all of us can go directly to God. On the 3rd day (known as Easter Sunday) he was seen by his disciples and many others alive and well, complete with the holes in his hands and feet from the nails, and the incision on his side. He rose to life from death, the ultimate miracle to prove that he was indeed God’s son and not just some random human. When he literally ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit was left behind on earth as the gift for those who accept Jesus as their Saviour (as though the gift of being forgiven isn’t amazing enough?) The Holy Spirit immediately dwells in your heart when you have accepted Jesus and this allows us so much including the ability to hear from God through promptings, through the words of others, and to be seen as sons and daughters of God himself, just like Jesus.  Think of it as our own piece of Jesus living in our heart, helping us to be more like him, and helping God to see us as his own.

Thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross, when we are sinful (and we all are) we don’t need to sacrifice a bull or an ox, or what have you. Jesus was the sacrifice for the past sins and those future ones too. Jesus paid it all on the cross, he was the sacrificial lamb that changed the face of the world. He didn’t have to die for us, in fact in an other post I made, you can see Jesus had many temptations not to die as he did (https://seekinghispeaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/all-the-kingdoms-of-the-world/) but he accepted this fate and chose it out of deep love for each of us.

So, how do you accept Jesus’ offer? Its so simple. Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Yup. That’s it. You don’t need to fix yourself first. You don’t need to clean the skeletons out of your closet. You don’t need to be perfect in any way.  Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Believe that he died, and rose again. Believe that his death was a sacrifice for all sin, and say out loud “Jesus is my Saviour.”  Here is a sample prayer you can pray: “Father God, thank you for recognizing our need for Jesus here on earth. Thank you for sending your Son to earth in human form to die the death on the cross that took the penalty for my sins. I know I am a sinner, and I know I am in need a Saviour, and I am thankful that Jesus is my new Saviour. Thank you for the gift Jesus has offered me through his death. I accept it, and I am thankful for it. In Jesus’ Mighty name I thank you and pray, Amen.”

I really hope you can understand why Jesus is so important now. Don’t just take my word for it though, pull out the Bible and start with the Gospel books to learn of Jesus, his life, his miracles, his lessons and his death. I am confident that the more you learn, the more you will grow to love and appreciate Jesus and the more you will benefit from trying to be more like the example he provided.  He wasn’t just some random religious person as I always thought, in fact, he is extra-ordinary, and someone whom I struggle to describe with human words. But in my heart, Oh do I ever know who Jesus is. I pray that you do too.

Please, if you pray that prayer and found these words helpful – let me know. Reach out and tell someone that you’ve accepted the gift Jesus gave. Allow others the privilege to pray for and with you, and may you be blessed today and everyday.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Why Jesus anyways?

  1. We need the REAL Jesus, and His real voice – not the voice of a Pharisee

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

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  2. Let’s hear the voice of Jesus.

    Poem – Looking forward (Rocky)

    Jesus never calls us out
    For what we used to be.
    His voice is so much greater
    Than paul the Pharisee.

    “You are Simon son of John”
    Said Jesus, without elaboration.
    No mention of a cloudy past
    No hint of condemnation.

    No accusation against the brothers
    No comments dark and obscure,
    Writing to the Church in Corinth
    “that is what some of you were.”

    Not the voice of the accuser,
    Boss Paul the Pharisee,
    Telling the redeemed people of God
    About what they used to be.

    Jesus never said right is wrong,
    He never said wrong is right.
    He came so we can turn from darkness
    And into His glorious light.

    “Neither do I condemn you” said Jesus,
    To a woman entrapped by dogs.
    The game the dogs play is the same today,
    Except now they do it on blogs.

    “Go, and sin no more” said Jesus,
    Don’t relive that history.
    Look forward, not back, don’t dwell on your past.
    “You will be called” Rocky.

    Looking forward – Chapter 2

    “I am he who searches hearts and minds”
    says the Risen Jesus Christ
    “Repent and do what you did at first”
    Don’t be lazy since He paid the price

    Yes, Jesus sees our sins today
    Don’t think that He is blind
    But the words of paul the Pharisee
    Will put you in a bind

    Jesus washed away your sins
    Don’t listen to paul the accuser
    paul abandoned the Church in Corinth
    And then paul became an abuser

    When you put your trust in Jesus
    Yes, your stains were white as snow
    You didn’t need to wear a Scarlet Letter
    Everywhere you go

    “I will repay each of you
    According to your deeds”
    This is Jesus speaking to The Church
    Not a business selling felt needs

    For “those who claim to be apostles”
    Jesus said they must be “tested”
    Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos
    Persevered and were not bested

    They exposed the false teachings
    Of paul the Pharisee
    So the Church in Ephesus rejected paul
    And had a chance to be free

    Bibliography
    All quotes in “Chapter 2” are the words of Jesus, in Revelation Chapter 2

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  3. If you have hears to hear Jesus…..
    Happy Pentecost 2017 !

    God has not changed, and neither has the text of “The Bible”.
    I am one of “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” [Revelation 12:17]
    No I’m not perfect without sin, and No I don’t know everything now. I didn’t know everything 7 years ago either – but I have grown and learned new things about God and His Word in the past 7 years, as is normal for a growing believer.

    “God’s commandments” are found in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, which Jesus came to FULFILL, (not to abolish, as the false apostle Paul the Pharisee taught.)
    “The testimony of Jesus” is the voice of Jesus, (The “Red Letters,”) recorded by the 11 faithful witnesses, the True Apostles that Jesus personally appointed and trained for over 3 years. Only 3 of these men wrote Scripture in the Bible – Matthew, John and Peter.

    (Mark was intimately connected with Peter since the beginning of the Church, and he acted as scribe for Peter and other Apostles who were illiterate at in their younger years. Mark could be understood as “the first core teachings of Peter and the other Apostles”. It is an observation of fact that much of Matthew is simply copied from Mark. Matthew built on Mark’s work, using it as a “backbone,” and filling out more background details, and references to The Law, The Prophets, and Psalms, etc. in a meticulous, more comprehensive way.
    Thus, Matthew was providing a second written witness, confirming the testimony of Jesus.)

    In practical terms, regarding texts of the Bible, that means that the most important words are the words of Jesus recorded by The Apostles Matthew and John (closely followed by Mark) – in my view. No one in the pages of Bible ever said that all Scripture is EQUAL. No one. Nowhere.

    My view is very similar to the traditional Orthodox view of the texts of Scripture for almost 2000 years. (Eastern Orthodox). They elevate the 4 Gospels above all other Scriptures, giving the 2 highest places of honor to the Gospels of Matthew and John – and they have a special high place for Revelation too.

    I can back up my view with plenty of Scripture – here is just one, written by the Apostle Peter- 2 Peter 3:2. Peter doesn’t point to himself, or his own words, or “all Scripture” or “The Bible”, Peter doesn’t claim his own words are “the word of God”, and he doesn’t claim that he doesn’t need a second witness. (And Peter certainly doesn’t point to the words of some other man, a Pharisee at that, -Paul- and say that this other man’s word is “the word of God.”)

    You can read Peter’s advice for yourself- then open your Bible to Matthew, John, Revelation, and Mark, and listen to Jesus for yourself!

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