The person and work of Jesus, The Gospel.
A virgin birth… 100% Man… 100% God… Lived as a humble carpenter, then baptized by his crazy cousin John. When he was baptized the heavens opened up and the spirit of God descended upon him, and a voice said “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” The work of Jesus had begun at birth and continued until his death. The work was fulfilling the word of God. He fulfilled the Old Testament and preached the good news. He called Isreal to repent and believe. His work, it wasn’t that of building an army, it wasn’t leaving prophecies, it wasn’t ruling, no, he was going to live the perfect life. He was going to be the perfect mediator between man and God. He was going to represent all of humanity and all of our work. Why, would God come to his creation and become a part of it. Because of his love, he gave us the freedom to turn away from him. God knew before the foundation of the earth, that his creation would sin. As the story goes, humanities first parents turned away from God. But they couldn’t turn back on their own. A dead heart doesn’t choose to live. But God, hadn’t given up. He knew what he was going to do, as the story of humanity unfolded, he focused on a people and that is the story told in the Old Testament. All of it pointed to the work of Jesus, actually lets use his Hebrew name Yeshua. When the time came, Yeshua stood as the Lamb of God. His perfect life was to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. He was our High priest and offered himself. I know what your thinking, this is a lot. If he is God, why didn’t he just fix it at the start. I go with the same reason he doesn’t just end it all now. God in his mercy is giving humanity time to repent. With each generation there is a little more time given, but that will not continue forever.
Back to Yeshua. He knew he was going to die. He tasted death, not the kind we are thinking of, I think in his humanity he tasted actual separation from God, the physical pain was beyond measure, but the spirit in him was also suffering. On the cross is where the payment for sin, the great exchange took place. It is there that we can look and with assurance that our sins have been paid. Because God is God, the blood of Christ surpasses time and quantity. An infinite mercy is bestowed on humanity. That is What Jesus did on the cross.
But that is not the end of the story.
He rose on the third day. I believe he came back to life in the body he was beaten in. He chose to keep the scars on his hands and feet as evidence. He showed himself to people, his disciples and a bunch of others. I just want to take a moment and say, Yeshua got his ass beat nearly to death, and then put to death on a cross, the people who did this could do the same to anyone who said they seen him alive. Yeshua wasn’t convicted of a crime, he just went against the ruling elites. On top of that his disciples all died for preaching and teaching about the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, and that they should repent and turn their hearts to the true and living God. Oh, yeah, just like doing that isn’t a cool thing to do today, it was worse back then, they could stone your dumb ass, that means throwing big rocks at you. On top of that most of them were in really good shape, they worked labor for a living. Anyway, Yeshua didn’t stay to live here because the OT still had prophecies that needed to be fulfilled. This is where a big smile crosses my face. Here is why. Yeshua died on the cross for sin. Great, but it would be worthless to us because we cannot turn to God on our own. Yes, we all think we are good people and because of that we have no need for God. We actually use religion to manipulate each other. We do all the right things and do not need a Saviour. Right, I mean most people are good and don’t go to church. You see, they, we, don’t need God to be good, we don’t need God to get us to love each other. But, we do need God to love God. You see the work of the cross made it to where we can actually be right with God. So, Yeshua left us with The Holy Spirit. The preaching of the good news, the hearing of this news, unleashes the ability of the human heart to respond to it. What that means is The Spirit of God is with his people, The Holy Spirt is a mystery. I will not try to explain what I cannot. What we know is if we believe the Gospel, the Holy Spirit will give us a new heart. We will go from death to life. We will go through a transformation of desire, and anywhere this Gospel is preached there is the ability for people to be saved. We do not become perfect, but become like children seeing the world anew and, yet we are still in old bodies with old brains. So, we wait, for death or the return of Yeshua to close the present age and usher in a new one. Crazy, right?! Unbelievable, no, it is, the very basics of Christianity. It is believed by those who turn their hearts to Jesus, Yeshua, King of kings, Lord of lords, who was slain for the sins of the world and now lives and is seated at the right hand of God.
There is more to the story than that. If you care to hear more, find a gospel preaching church, and meet the people, I am sure if you find the right place you will meet Jesus there.
It is when I met him, that I came to faith. It was hearing the gospel, that I believed. It was the feeling of being condemned and forgiven at the same time. But it was in the message I met him, and the message that sustains me. My story is below. 😉
What is in my heart is a gift given to me. I wasn’t a loving person. I was hateful, I was at times mean, and at times heartless. Violence and the pain of others was entertainment for me. Not the kind you see on tv, but the kind that happens in the street.
My life was changed when I heard the Good News, that Jesus died for sin, for my sin, that I was loved. For years I struggled as a christian. The struggle had a lot of pitfalls, wrong turns, and a turning away.
That is right. There were things I couldn’t reconcile and struggled to make sense of. None of them will I go into here. But what kept bringing me back, is that I was never the same, the gospel, had changed my heart. I couldn’t deny the work of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t deny the redeeming work that God had begun and that he was going to see to the end. I am a loving person because the work Jesus did on the cross. This isn’t an argument, it is a reason. It is my personal evidence of grace. I am not perfect and still sin, a lot, especially in my heart. But that is also something that changes, a desire not to. Not because I fear hell, I don’t, I am saved, I don’t want to be cut off from the joy of worship. I don’t want my conscience, to condemn me and ruin what brings true joy.
I don’t have the perfect story. I don’t have the story of a man who gave it all and is the perfect hero. I have a worse story than the prodigal son. I didn’t turn my back on my biological father. No, I was an orphan that was nothing but trouble. I was adapted, by the goodness of God and made a son. I was given the kingdom. But like a child, I didn’t understand the goodness of grace and asked for my inheritance and went exploring. I treated the living God who loves me like he was dead. I thought what I wanted, and did what I wanted. But my heart would not let me stray too far, and in God’s grace I did not fall too deep in sin. It is that same heart that pulled me back. It is that same heart that I now know, that to be with God, I must be with his people. I am a Christian. I am a redeemed sinner who strays and needs a good and faithful Shepherd. I am dependant on Jesus, it is his face I look forward to thanking when I come to him or he returns to us.
The resurrection and the hope of glory. A new heaven and a new earth. What my belief as a christian about what the future holds, is all things made new. It is life like the one we live in now. It is souls that occupy bodies of flesh and blood. It is a city, it is God amongst all of humanity, it is the removal of sin, pain, and tears. It is a vague notion that the good done, and the pain endured will be rewarded. It will be the enjoyment of a God that is beyond our comprehension that we stand in awe of. It will be the best of us unashamed to be ourselves. It will be true freedom.