Jesus is the Savior!
- This is what the first Christians confessed. They believed that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth as a man. The phrase ‘Jesus is Lord’ summed up their faith.
The Gospels in the New Testament tell the good news about Jesus: how He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to Mary who was a virgin, how He lived and taught, and performed miracles. Who Jesus is, His suffering and death, and His resurrection on the third day are at the core of Christianity.
Who is Jesus to you?
- Your attitude towards Jesus and who He is to you personally, determines your eternity. Therefore, get your hands on a Bible and find out more!
By dying on the cross for our sins and rising from the dead, Jesus made a way for us to know Him on a personal level. It is only through Jesus that we can be saved and have a relationship with God.
And there is salvation in no one else,
for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12, ESV)
Scholars and historians cannot deny the historicity of Jesus.
A man called Jesus grew up in Galilee, in a town called Nazareth. Hence, he is often referred to as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. Jesus taught in many places and gathered a following: his disciples, who collected his teachings and spread them. Approximately in the year 30 AD in Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate gave the order to have Jesus crucified. Historians agree on all these facts.
But who was Jesus? How can I get to know Him better?
- The answers to these questions can be found in the Bible, specifically, the New Testament.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
(Mark 1:1, ESV)
Jesus was given the death penalty because the Jewish elders claimed He mocked God. By His teachings and miracles Jesus indicated that He is the Son of God, who had come down from Heaven. According to the Law of Moses, a man who claims to be God is ‘heretics’ and should be sentenced to death.
However, only the Romans could administer and execute a sentence for death. Governor Pontius Pilate was not interested in the religious disputes among the Jewish leaders. Hence, Jesus was presented to him as someone who could raise the people in rebellion against the Caesar. Pilatus wasn’t convinced but eventually he gave in under pressure, and sentenced Jesus to be crucified.
Whoever reads about Jesus’ death and crucifixion in the Gospels, might wonder why someone so good and innocent had to die such a horrible death. Why didn’t God intervene and save Jesus? Why didn’t Jesus defend himself when wrongfully accused?
We find the answer from the book of Isaiah, chapter 53 – amazingly, this was written at least 500 years before Jesus’ death. As Christians we believe what this and many other verses in the Bible say: that all along this was God’s plan for salvation. Jesus died on the cross for our sins; God sent His only son to die and suffer so that we would not have to. He atoned for our sins.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
(Isaiah 53:5-6 ESV)
Dear Jesus, I cannot comprehend the suffering you went through, but I trust my sins have been forgiven.
Two accounts of the story have been told since the very beginning– which one do you believe?
The Gospel of Matthew tells how the guards at Jesus’ tomb were bribed and given instructions to say that the disciples came in the night and stole Jesus’ body. This lie is still spread today, albeit slightly modernised. The theory today is that Jesus’ death caused such psychological trauma to the disciples that the only way for them to survive it was to form in their minds a belief that Jesus rose from the dead and through their faith still lived in spirit.
The New Testament, however, tells us that there were many people who encountered the risen Jesus in bodily form: women at the tomb, frightened disciples behind locked door, two travellers on the road etc. Doubtful Thomas even had the opportunity to touch Jesus’ wounds. These people did have something in common: they all had a hard time understanding and accepting that Jesus really had risen from the dead.
After his resurrection, Jesus didn’t show himself to his accusers or the whole world. The empty tomb was the only proof. His body was never found.
No amount of detective work, or trying to reason things out, will ever convince someone of Jesus’ resurrection – faith comes when you have an encounter with Jesus. Jesus is in Heaven with His Father but His Word - the Bible- continues to speak to people around the world. His church is proof that Jesus is alive.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29, ESV)
Jesus, they say that you live. Do you hear me when I pray?
The best way to get to know Jesus is by reading about Him in the New Testament, which is a part of the world’s most widespread book, the Bible. We can read what He taught, what He did while on earth, and read stories from people who knew Jesus and walked with Him. The Bible tells us of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection.
There are several letters that are written by the Apostles in the New Testament. These letters give us insight into what the first Christians and churches were like. These people hadn’t necessarily met Jesus personally but they knew Him; they had read and heard about Him.
Even today there are people who know Jesus. You can find them in churches: where people gather together to learn more about the Bible, to pray and to have communion. Find a church and go to one – you won’t just meet people who know Jesus but you can get to know Jesus for yourself.
Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
(John 7:16-17, ESV)
Jesus, I want to have a relationship with you. Make yourself known to me!
Every christian could tell a different story of how they came to know Jesus. One may have had a revelation overnight, another may have taken years to finally believe, and yet another may have grown to know Jesus since they were a child. There is not just one way to become a Christian. What they do, however, all have in common is that it is the Lord who opened the heart to receive faith.
Here is a simple piece of advice for those who wonder how to become a Christian: stop running away from God. Open your ears to hear what the Bible teaches. See what the Lord has already done for you. God loves you. Jesus suffered the punishment of your sins on the cross. You are dear to your God and Saviour. Just believe it and thank God.
You may pray: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Based on the Bible, God will certainly hear this kind of prayer, and He will forgive your sins. He has promised us forgiveness of our sins through Jesus.
Faith is not about feelings, so it is not important what faith feels like. The important thing is, who do you believe: Jesus saves you! Salvation is a gift from God. By faith we receive that gift.
If you have been baptised, becoming a believer means you’re coming back home; to a relationship with your Saviour. Find a church. There you will hear of God’s forgiveness (absolution) and share Holy Communion with other Christians.
Jesus calls everyone to Him; whether you are baptised or not. In baptism we are cleansed and joined with the congregation.