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
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
· 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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”