Why We Should Take Jesus Christ Seriously
Two religions in some way
look upon their founder as God: Buddhism and Christianity. One of them was
founded by a man who said that He is God. (Buddha made no such claim.) Anyone can open his mouth and make wild
statements. In the case of Jesus Christ, there was ample ancient testimony of a
coming person. These predictions existed centuries before the birth of Jesus in
A. The Ancient Testimony
The Scriptures of the Old Testament existed for centuries before Jesus was born. There is no debate about this. Every scholar knows it is true, and none dare say otherwise. Here are some of the ancient predictions:
witness to Jesus before He even arrived on this earth is massive. For an
imposter to arrange this would be impossible. No one can set up a hoax
centuries in advance. What to expect of the Christ was well documented in
Scriptures that were possessed by the Jewish people for generations – a people
widely dispersed throughout the
B. The Evidence of Jesus’ Time
We have reliable reports of what Jesus and His apostles said. Here are samples in the Bible:
John 5:33-40 Jesus said: "You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
A few things stand out here:
· A man widely recognized by the
people as a prophet in
· The Scriptures testified about Him. (See also Luke 24:44,45.) Jesus showed from ancient Scriptures that they spoke of Him. The people all knew He was pointing to what had been in their Bibles for centuries. They saw with their own eyes that these things were fulfilled. This was no hoax. He was and is the Son of God.
· Jesus pointed to His works as persuasive evidence that He had come from God. He often said He had come from heaven (John 6:33,38). The miracles He did were a witness to who He was (John 10:25). He said if we do not believe His words, we ought to believe the miracles He performed (John 10:36-38 & 14:11). They showed that He was from God.
Very often these astounding works happened in a very public setting. (John 5 & 9 are examples.) His enemies could not deny His miracles. Unbelievers in His day and in the generation that followed gave up on their attempts to prove that these things did not happen. The explanation they resorted to was that He did them in the power of the devil (Matthew 12). Some fake miracle workers in our day carefully screen those they are willing to have up front in public for their supposed healings. Not so with Jesus; He healed a man with a withered hand in front of His severe critics as they watched in scorn and then plotted His death (Mark 3).
Jesus confounded scholars with His teaching, which, unlike theirs, was clear, logical, authoritative, and closely tied to Scripture. Jesus was an outsider to the establishment. He loved those others despised, and was a friend of tax-collectors and prostitutes (not as a customer but a deliverer). Former prostitutes were grateful to Him for saving them. Lepers were cleansed. Three persons were raised from the dead. These were facts Jesus’ enemies could not dispute. So WHO was this man? He was and He is all the things He said: the Son of David, the rightful King of Israel, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the Savior of the world.
C. The Testimony of His Apostles
Acts 10:36-43 After Jesus
ascended to heaven the Apostle Peter said:
“You know the message God sent to the people of
"We are witnesses
of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in
The Resurrection There were many eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). His body was laid in a carefully guarded tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). After rising in that same body, He showed He was alive for a period of 40 days before He returned to heaven (Acts 1:3).
D. Why Did He Come?
Jesus said, “… The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Speaking of His impending crucifixion Jesus said, “… It was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27). Hours before His crucifixion Jesus quoted Isaiah 53:12, “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors…’ ” Then He added, “…This must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment" (Luke 22:37). Here is more of what Isaiah 53 says of Christ, written 700 years before His birth:
· He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (v.5).
· We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (v.6).
· For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken (v.8).
· Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer … the LORD made his life a guilt offering (v.10).
· He will bear their iniquities (v.11).
· He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (v.12).
Jesus made it clear that He had come to be a sacrifice for sinners.
He claimed He could forgive sins, and died because of those sins so He could do so.
He offered eternal life, by taking the penalty of the sins which had condemned us to eternal death.
He found us captive to sin and the devil and died as a ransom to secure our freedom.
E. Apostolic Teaching on the Role of Jesus Christ
Because of sin, man is under God’s wrath, alienation, and condemnation. Jesus by His death removed all of that from us, because He experienced it for us. He saves us from a sinful life and from Satan and his deception. The Lord Jesus graciously satisfied the justice of God, which would have brought judgment on us. We are granted access to God. Jesus has replaced the death we deserve with the life we do not. He is not finished in what He will do for His people. Many things await His Second Coming, including the resurrection of our bodies and a new earth. Already we have been given the Holy Spirit as a “down payment” of all the great things yet to come. [All of this teaching is scattered throughout the writings of Jesus’ apostles.]
F. How We Take Jesus Christ Seriously
Repentance: Of course, God requires that we repent of our rebellion. He does not require that we do penance or anything to make up for our sin. Nothing a sinner can do would be acceptable anyway. We can only come to the Lord as sinners unworthy of the forgiveness we need, but we must turn from our sin. One of Jesus’ first public words was “Repent!” (Mark 1:15).
Faith: We come to the Lord empty-handed. The gospel is about what God has done for us, not the duty He requires of us. We have nothing to offer God, but He has something to give us. We must simply believe Him that He will forgive us and grant us eternal life. And all of this is an underserved gift to us. We believe that Christ is all we need for God to accept us. We trust only in Jesus’ merits because we believe God’s promise. We do not trust in ourselves but Jesus Christ alone. In this way we receive from God eternal life. No one understands it all, but His promise is personal, wonderful, clear, trustworthy, and all we need. Jesus said:
· "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28,29).
· "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).
· “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
In Jesus Christ believers are forgiven, declared righteous before God, given new life, and accepted as sons and daughters. Jesus made His bold claims because He knew Who He was and that He could deliver on His Word to us. So with the ancient Scriptures, the eyewitnesses of His resurrection, and the Holy Spirit convincing us, we take Jesus Christ seriously.
He predicted that His kingdom
would increase in size the way a tiny seed grows to be a tree, and like yeast
in a batch of dough it would spread throughout the world (Matthew 13:31-33). His
kingdom continues to spread just as He said it would. This should make us take
Jesus Christ seriously. The ancient Scriptures were detailed and were fulfilled.
The offering for sin has been made on the cross of
John, who knew Jesus well, said his book was written “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). “To all who received Him …He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).