MEET JESUSJesus

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Who is Jesus? A lot of discussion is made about who Jesus was; He is even taught in the universities as being a person of good moral teachings. But did Jesus come to bring us a few principles to live by or did He have something much greater in mind? There are a great many misconceptions about the man and His personality or character. Many would consider Him to be somewhat of a sissy. –He’s that guy who would always turn the other cheek and ended up getting killed right? If that’s your attitude, you might think again. Did Jesus cry? Yes, He did, but He is also the one who took on the most powerful people of His day without flinching at their threats and torment.

Consider for a moment what Jesus endured in His death. He was beaten with horrible whips that left His flesh so torn that the Bible says you could not tell by looking at Him that he was even a human being. His bones were exposed after His skin and muscle had been torn away by shards of glass, metal, and bone. His head was pierced through with a mock crown of thorns (and you thought poking your finger in a berry bush was bad). Then Jesus was crucified naked on a Roman cross where He hung for 6 hours before He surrendered His spirit to God the Father. Now you’re probably shaking your head thinking, “Yeah I’ve heard all this Christ crucifiedbefore, so what?” Well here’s what I want you to spend a little time thinking about… the entire time that Jesus was being tortured and killed He had the option to escape the suffering and didn’t; the question is why? From the time that He was being taken prisoner, Peter the disciple drew his sword and smote the ear off of one of the men coming to capture Jesus. But Jesus healing the ear of His enemy rebuked Peter’s defense and said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Matthew 26:53-54 In other words Jesus is asking Peter, “Don’t you understand that I can ask God My Father and He will immediately give over 72,000 battle angels to my command? But if I did that the Scripture wouldn’t come to pass.” So we see that Jesus Christ is fulfilling a greater purpose that was not yet known.

At any point Jesus could have saved Himself but didn’t; how many of us could endure what He endured with the ability to avenge ourselves and yet have the self restraint not to? The answer is none. Even on the cross Jesus would not drink the alcohol offered to Him to ease His pain because He preferred to bear the full weight of our sins on our behalf. That is what I call a powerful and courageous Messiah! Did Jesus cry in His lifetime? Yes, but note that He mourned for others, not for Himself. He was killed by the very ones He died to save. -and that includes all of us.

hellWe are sinful people because of our sin nature, but God is perfect and therefore cannot be in the presence of sin. If this is the case then our condemnation is to be cast into the lake of fire with Satan and his demons, but this is not the will of God. He loved us enough to send His Son Jesus to bear our sins upon the cross so that we might have the gift of eternal life with Him. Eternal life in Christ is a free gift, but we have to receive it. Salvation does not automatically fall to all people; it must be received. Being a “good” person will not get you into heaven. Because you are a sinner there must be a blood sacrifice to cover your sin and make you eligible to have eternal life. You cannot pay your own debt because you are a sinner. Jesus is the only perfect sacrifice who was able to bear YOUR sin on the cross, and He did. Now for you to receive it you must receive Jesus Christ and His will in your life. It doesn’t mean saying a prayer and living life as you please. It means committing yourself to God and living your life according to His will for you which He has directed through the Bible. God says those who love Him keep His commandments and that if a person is a Christian we will see outward signs of that being the case. If you think you are a Christian, then ask yourself is it obvious to those around you that you are a Christian. Is your life different enough by obeying the commands of Jesus that anyone who knows you would know that you are indeed a Christian? If not, think again.

Following Christ is not a burden but a joy because Jesus is the joy giver. Does that mean living as a Christian is easy? Absolutely not! A Christian will have much trouble in the world; Jesus said that the world hated Him so it will hate you too. But there is no peace outside of Christ, so even in life’s trouble you can still have confidence that Jesus holds your eternity safely in His hands, and no one can take that from you. So do yourself a favor and embrace God’s love in your life today. Now I invite you to learn just a little more about Jesus, and more importantly I urge you to read the Gospels of Jesus Christ directly from the Bible.

IsraelJesus was born into a poor family and raised in one of the worst areas of the country. Having been conceived outside of marriage, He would have been looked down upon as an inferior individual conceived in sin (while this is not the case having been conceived by His virgin mother through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, most would not have accepted this account and thought less of Him and His family). Jesus was the oldest of many siblings, at least 4 brothers having been named as well as unnamed sisters. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” Mark 6:3 James and Judas, the brothers of Jesus, are also the authors of the books James and Jude of the New Testament. Throughout Jesus ministry He and His disciples were constantly degraded as having come from such an awful region of the country as one of His own disciples, Nathanael (more often referred to as Bartholomew) first questioned, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46 The reality is that while Jesus was raised in Nazareth, He actually fulfilled prophecy when He was born in Bethlehem, the City of David, during a census in which every person was required to return to the city of their ancestors for taxation. His mother and earthly father Joseph were both descendents of King David as noted in Matthew and Luke, so Jesus also was a proper descendent of King David.

HouseThe first 30 years of Jesus life were rather quiet; during this time He likely worked with His father Joseph as a carpenter. It is thought that sometime during this period Joseph passed away, and around 30 years of age Jesus began His earthly ministry which lasted 3 years until His death and resurrection. Almost immediately Jesus began to make enemies with the spiritual leaders around Him; they despised the way in which Jesus spoke with authority over the Scripture, something that an unlearned man from Nazareth couldn’t possibly understand! With no sin to accuse Him and His growing popularity with the people who adored Jesus and the healing He brought to their lives, the spiritual leaders began to use Jesus healing on the Sabbath (Friday evening to Saturday evening) as the only excuse to attack Him, but as Jesus asked them on one such occasion, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” Mark 3:4-5

One common misconception about Jesus is that He was always this nice guy that everyone loved. While this is the case for many people it was not always the way it worked out for Jesus. He was very outspoken which got Him into trouble frequently; what He said was outrageous for the time and culture. Even as a boy of 12 years old He made the following statement to His parents who had lost him for 3 days and finally found Him conversing with spiritual leaders in the temple, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” Luke 2:49 In other words, Jesus wondered how His parents didn’t understand that He must be fulfilling His Father’s plan for His life, which was to claim that Jehovah God was His Father. –such a statement was considered blasphemous and would eventually be the statement used to condemn Jesus to death by crucifixion.
Star of DavidIn later years Jesus came again to the temple in Jerusalem and upon seeing the buying and selling taking place in the temple the Bible says He made a whip and drove the merchants out of the temple like a mad man; he overthrew the tables and made quite a mess. –not exactly something you would expect of the Son of God is it? The Bible recounts the passage in this way, “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.” John 2:15-16 Again Jesus fulfilled prophecy in this act, His anger being that the holy house of God which should be a place of prayer had become a place for merchants to abuse people’s money and get rich off of God’s temple. So rightfully Jesus was angry at this wickedness and drove them out. When asked for a sign of Jesus right to do these things Jesus responded that He would destroy the temple and build it again in 3 days. Again, this comment wasn’t well received and was used to accuse Him at the time of His death. What Jesus meant in destroying the temple and rebuilding it in 3 days was to do away with the separation of God and man through His death on the cross; after His resurrection man had direct contact with God without need of a priest at the temple. Jesus became our Priest and direct intercessor to the Father. So in the spirit Jesus did destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days, though the physical temple was destroyed by the Romans decades later.

Jesus and childJesus was also a very tender hearted man having compassion and love for even the lowest of people. When most people were terrified of lepers, Jesus touched them and healed them in love. When those obnoxious blind guys came around that no one could shut up, Jesus beckoned them to Himself and gave them sight. When those silly children were brought to Jesus and everyone else tried to drive them away, Jesus welcomed the children to Himself and said that such are the kingdom of heaven! When a woman was caught in adultery and brought before Jesus to be stoned to death, he promptly saved her from death and forgave her sins with the command that she go and not sin in this manner again. When the sinners of the day asked Jesus to come into their homes and have dinner with them He joined them in love while the prideful leaders of the day mocked and ridiculed His socializing with what resurrectionthey thought to be low life. When the sinful thief hung beside Jesus on the cross and asked for Jesus to remember him when Jesus entered His kingdom, Jesus had compassion on the thief and said, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 Even in the thief’s final moments after a life filled with sin Jesus extended salvation to a man repentant and believing that Jesus was indeed Christ, the Messiah. In the same way when you in your sin ask for Jesus to remember you, will receive the open invitation to abide in the will of Christ and receive His eternal gift of life which He paid on your behalf so you can live in fellowship with Him forever and ever. Won’t you receive it today?

 

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