A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the question “Is God Real?” During that, we mentioned Jesus. Today we want to answer the question “who is Jesus?” In a nutshell – Jesus is the Son of God. He is God in human form. We are fast approaching December and I’m sure you’ve noticed the supermarkets are now filled with Christmas stuff. Well, Christmas is often the time of year when we reflect upon Jesus coming to earth. In Luke’s Gospel (in the New Testament), we read of how a young lady named Mary receives a visit from an angel with some great news. The angel says to Mary “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
In that moment the life of that young lady changed forever. Also in that moment, the future of mankind changed forever. For just a short time later, Mary gave birth to this foretold Son in the town of Bethlehem. In all honesty, this was such a low-key and modest birth. It’s not how we might’ve expected it. We read that some shepherds came to visit the baby Jesus, and he was lying in a manger. A manger is a long trough from which animals would feed. Such an amazing thought isn’t it – the Son of God lying in a feeding trough!
But why did God send His Son to earth? Why was it necessary? Well in John 3:16, we find the answer: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus came to this earth as He would ultimately lay down his life for all of humankind, which we’ll explore in a little bit. But it was all done for our benefit. He came to this earth; he lived; and then died all so that we could have the opportunity to have eternal life.
Did you know that Jesus was actually foretold in the Old Testament, many, many years before He was born in Bethlehem? Paul writes in the New Testament book of Romans - “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify” (Romans 3:21). The Law and the Prophets’ is effectively a way of saying the Old Testament. Paul is saying the Old Testament prophesy of the salvation that later comes in Christ. In other words, Jesus is present throughout the Torah, and the Major and Minor prophet books in the Old Testament
When Jesus was on this earth, he performed some incredible miracles. He healed many illnesses; he cast out demons; he commanded nature; he provided things in abundance out of limited resources; and he brought people back from the dead. He also taught on many themes and subjects. He was an excellent communicator. He taught using ‘parables’. These were stories and illustrations he used to explain more profound Spiritual issues to those listening. Even today, we still remember some of these terrific teachings such as ‘The Prodigal Son’ and ‘The Good Samaritan’.
I mentioned earlier that not only is the birth of Jesus significant, but his death is incredibly significant. There’s an important thing for us to establish. Jesus was totally perfect. He never did anything wrong. Where you and I, as humans, do wrong things on a daily basis (sometimes multiple times daily!), Jesus never did. He always did what was right. But the Pharisees and teachers of the Law at the time did not like what he was teaching. And so they concocted a plan to have Jesus wrongfully arrested and put to death. Jesus died a very brutal and painful death by crucifixion.
His death points us back to a prophecy from the Old Testament. In Isaiah chapter 53, we read of a suffering servant who was “despised and rejected”, who was “pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” Jesus was willing to go through what He did because of His love for mankind. When Jesus died on the cross, He was the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. This means that we can ask God to forgive us for our sins. There is the promise of eternal life for those who follow Him.
After Jesus had died, he was laid to rest in a tomb. But he was not there long. After the Sabbath (Jesus died on Friday), some of Jesus’ followers visited His tomb. But to their surprise, He wasn’t there. Instead, an angel was present and said to Jesus’ followers “Jesus is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Even with his death, Jesus did something spectacular – he rose again!
Did you know that we can come to know Jesus as our friend? We can accept the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross for all of the wrong things we have done. We can choose to follow Him and accept the promise of eternal life. All we have to do is ask Jesus to forgive us our sins and decide to follow him.
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