Many see Him as a controversial, revolutionary figure. Some dismiss Him as a nice guy or a teacher but don’t really know Him or realize that they can have a relationship with Him and experience His power and presence in their lives.
So, who is Jesus? Is He a historical figure of 1st Century Israel? Is He a man hanging on a cross as pictured in some churches? Is He alive as Christians say He is? What significance does He have in the world and why does it matter to me and my family personally?
Though endless books have been written about Jesus and there are many opinions about Him, still the best and most reliable historical sources are those whom His own followers left us: the Biblical accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, commonly referred to as “the Gospels.” Each account highlights a strikingly similar yet slightly nuanced view of Jesus that together give us a complete picture of Who He is.
The four Gospels paint a picture of a man born as a Jew, having descended from Abraham and the royal line of King David, yet who was born into poverty and hidden most of His life in obscurity. His birth prompted a massacre, He and His parents hid as refugees, he was enamored with God and God’s work from a young age, but it wasn’t until he reached about 30 years old that He went public.
He was fully human and identified with our weakness in temptation and in hunger. Yet, He was fully God doing things that only God can do – forgiving sin, performing signs that reinterpreted the laws of nature, having concern for outcasts, delivering people from demonic oppression, healing incurable diseases, and even raising people from the dead. He was characterized by compassion and love for sinners yet straightforwardly exposed self-righteous hypocrites, over-turned the business tables of corrupt money changers, and preached repentance from sin and living in holiness and purity. He spoke words that gave people eternal life, yet those who didn’t have ears to hear could not understand His difficult sayings.
His message was: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He was the King bringing in a new Kingdom – a new administration of the world, a reorganization of all things as we know them. In this upside-down kingdom where the first would be last and the last would be first, the poor in spirit receive the Kingdom of Heaven, those who mourn will be comforted, those who are meek will inherit the earth, those who suffer and are persecuted on account of Him are blessed and will receive great reward. But to enter into this kingdom, he called people to repent or to turn around from following themselves and their pleasure, position, and power to following Him. He called people not into a better way to live but into relationship with Himself. He called people to love Him, believe Him, and to do what He said.
At the climax of his popularity and influence, when everyone wanted to make Him their king and political liberator, He began talking about His death and resurrection. Though even His closest friends didn’t understand it, He was fulfilling Old Testament prophesies by becoming the sacrificial lamb, the substitute for the sin of humanity against God. He allowed Himself to be betrayed leading to capital punishment, crucifixion, for claiming to be God’s Son, though the top officials of the land knew He was innocent of any crime. He went through the worst kind of humiliation any human at the time would dread. At the end, He cried, “My God, My God! Why have You forsaken me!?” And He did it for love. Though He was perfect in every way, He took on God’s punishment for the rebellion of humanity against God. A punishment that resulted in death. A wrath, well-deserved, that had accumulated into a massive debt that only God Himself could pay. And He did.
Three days later, at the break of dawn, He proved His accomplishment of payment and victory over sin and death, by coming back to life. Yes, it’s true. He didn’t just resuscitate, He resurrected – came back in a new state of humanity – the one we all long for free of death, sickness, pain. The mortal was swallowed up in immortality, and Jesus became the first human for which this would happen. In His death and resurrection, He took our punishment for sin and gave us His righteousness.
So, what does the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus mean for you today? It means Jesus is the solution to your broken relationship with God and to the brokenness of the world, even our very own hearts. It means that everything sad, painful, broken, dysfunctional, will be done away with for those who put their trust in Jesus.
It means that you have two options. You can either remain in your rebellion against God through a continued life of self-focus and pleasure or through rejecting God’s gift by trying to be good on your own – an attempt that will never be sufficient or meet God’s expectations. Or, you can receive God’s gracious gift by turning from your rebellion and believing that what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross and in His resurrection covers your need before God. In fact, it does that and more.
What Jesus Christ did for you liberates you fully. It gives you the opportunity to not only be right with God but also to have a meaningful relationship with Him that is based on His love for you. You don’t have to try and fail anymore – Jesus satisfies your need with God. He also gives you the desire and the power to live for God. This reality and acceptance before God begins to transform every area of your life.
You see, all of us have needs beyond what anything in this world can satisfy. We were created for a relationship with God and only God can meet that need in us. Some just want a better life, economic stability, peace at home, a better spouse, respect, love, sex, drugs, alcohol, a good time, partying, success, honor, influence, control…in other words what feels good, what you can have, and what you can boast about. Some are bad things, some are good things.
Most people live for themselves, accumulating pleasure, possessions, or power that do not satisfy the human heart and soul. In fact, the inverse is sometimes true – many of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most pleasure-filled have the highest rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, and other dysfunctions and broken relationships. This is because the human heart was only meant to be satisfied in a loving relationship with God. And nothing will satisfy us until we allow God to meet that need.
Suffering and pain also remind us that there is something deeply wrong with the world and with our own hearts. Things are not as they should be. Our greatest illusions and fantasies are never realized. Then, there is the question of death. We fear it and do not understand why. We fear the judgment that comes after it. We were made for something more – the acceptance of God as our loving Heavenly Father in a relationship with Him.
God made us. He made everything. Yet, we rebelled against Him and allowed evil to enter into our hearts and into the world. God made a promise to bring us back to Himself. He promised to bring a new kingdom and to give us new hearts. In God’s kingdom, everything works. There is peace with God, with others, with ourselves, and with the rest of creation. We tore that peace through our rebellion. Now, God is on a mission to bring us back to Himself and to bring His kingdom, His rule, back into our hearts and into the world. In the Bible, the Old Testament, God repeatedly promised a Messiah Who would be King of that Kingdom and restore everything. Jesus Christ is that One. And Jesus begins the restoration starting with our hearts when we trust Him as our only Savior and Lord. Jesus will come again to restore the world and all creation. Those who reject Him chose separation from Him, ultimately leading to what Jesus called “hell.”
But, Jesus offers you eternal, abundant life that begins to become a reality the moment you believe in Him and turn away from your sin and rebellion towards Him. He offers to make you right with God and give you the peace and love that nothing else will satisfy. Rejecting His offer however is choosing for yourself eternal condemnation. What will you chose? Will you accept Jesus’ offer to you? Put your trust in Jesus. He is worth everything.
If you want to know more about how to have a relationship with God, call us at 720-325-7282 or send us an email at IglesiaLaREDDenver@gmail.com.
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