The name sparks something for most people who have heard it before. Sometimes it’s awe, sometimes it’s love, sometimes it’s apathy, sometimes it’s controversy, and sometimes it’s confusion. Who is this guy?
Jesus is the center of Christianity. He was man, he is God, and in thirty years (three in particular) he changed the entire course of humanity. So what does that mean for you?
Before the world was made, Jesus was there. He is part of God – one of the Trinity. which is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
[We will delve into the Trinity later, but think of it like this: water comes in 3 forms (water, steam, & ice), but it is always the same substance. This is a pretty inferior comparison to the three-part God, but they will suffice for now.]
Jesus is the Son. He was there when the earth was created, he spoke it into being. John 1.1 calls him the Word that was with God and the Word that was God. He was there when humanity sinned for the first time and was no longer worthy of God’s perfect world. He was there as Judaism developed and he is its goal.
The Jews, the chosen race of God, were waiting on a Savior, a Messiah, a Christ that would redeem them from sin. But Jesus was not at all what they expected. They desired a Maccabean revolutionary that would save them from political oppression, an earthly king that would lead them to freedom and establish the eternal kingdom of Israel. They sought the powerful “Lion of Judah” to be a valiant warrior and defend their righteous cause.
But that’s not at all what they got.
Jesus was born to a humble couple in a humble barn in Bethlehem. He left all the glory of Heaven to come to earth so that he could save a people who hated him. His mother, Mary, was told by an angel that she would bear a son and that he would save the world. His conception was beyond human understanding as he was miraculously conceived by God and born to Mary, a virgin. When he was born the Heavenly host sung a chorus of praise because of his coming, a great star appeared in the sky and wise men from the east travelled far to bring gifts of wealth to this infant king. He was worshiped as God in that manger in Bethlehem.
After that, things kind of went downhill for Jesus’s popularity.
Jesus was raised in the tiny town of Nazareth by his carpenter father, Joseph, and Mary and his other siblings. He grew up physically and spiritually and always stood out. He was perfect and sinless.
He began his ministry when he was around 3o. He was baptized by his cousin in the Jordan River and then was led into the wilderness where he spent 40 days fasting and communing with God. He was then tempted by Satan himself, but overcame by the strength of God. Then he went out into communities and began to preach.
He preached a very different message, the gospel of God’s kingdom, the good news, claiming that there was abundance and eternal forgiveness in the way of the Lord and that he was it. He was the Lord. God in the flesh. He did miracles, healed diseases, cast out demons, and raised the dead. He was loved by many who believed in him and hated by many who felt threatened by him. But hate overwhelmed them and so they killed this man after three years of stirring up trouble in the streets and hearts of Judea.
He was crucified – nailed to a cross and suffocated – before many for claiming that he was “King of the Jews.” And then the Son of God, the creator of the universe, died.
He died because his sinful creation could not stand his blameless presence in the world. He died because the pride of the Jewish leaders could not handle these revolutionary ideas and so-called blasphemies. He died because the world did not understand him. But most of all, he died because God established that the wages of sin was death and Jesus was the only one who could be the perfect sacrifice for all humanity for all of time.
But that’s not the end of the story. He rose from the dead. After three days of being completely and totally lifeless, Jesus Christ of Nazareth walked out of the tomb by his own power. He was seen by hundreds of people before he ascended into Heaven, promising his return to his followers and commanding that they go into the world and tell of his glory.
Today he lives in Heaven, interceding for us and purifying us. If we believe this is true he acts as our mediator, our representative, replacing our sinful lives with his perfect sacrifice.
He is God. He was man. He is love. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is means of salvation, eternal life, and everlasting glory of God. He is the redeemer of souls and he is so desperate for yours that he gave up everything to save it from this world.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.