Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world 2000 years ago, miraculously conceived and born of a virgin woman, so that He could dwell among mankind, understand our troubles, heal our sicknesses, and deliver us from our sins (Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 1:23).
What was the meaning of Jesus being born of a virgin?
Because Jesus' mother, Mary, had never had sex with her engaged husband-to-be, Joseph, the fact that she was pregnant was a miracle. All people are born with a sinful nature because we inherit it from our parents (Romans 5:12). Sin is in our blood. Since Jesus was not conceived in the normal way, it meant that He was not going to be like any other person ever born – even His blood was without sin, sickness or disease. Jesus Christ would be the first and only person ever born who did not have a sinful or evil nature within Him (Romans 8:3-4). All of us have a tendency toward doing wrong – to a lessor or greater degree. But Jesus had the nature of His Father, God.When Jesus was tempted to do wrong, He was able to resist it every time because there was nothing in Him that wanted to sin. Since Jesus, as a person, was able to resist sin, He is able to help us overcome sin and evil (Heb. 4:14-16).
How can I know for sure that all these things about Jesus are true?
You can know by at least three ways:
1. What Jesus said and did was recorded by four people Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. What they wrote became a part of the Bible. What the Bible says today has not changed in more than 1800 years. While there are many versions of the bible, all of the authentic versions agree in the major points.
2. Other people who lived at the time when Jesus walked the earth have written about him. A man named Josephus, wrote about Him. History is full of evidence that Jesus lived. There is as much proof that Jesus lived as there is for many other famous people like Julius Caesar.
3. The best way you can know that what Jesus said is true is by looking at the lives of people He has changed! Nothing or no one can turn a person's life around like Jesus Christ! While there are many people who claim to be Christians, those who are truly "born again" stand out (Matthew 5:16).
Why did Jesus die on the cross?
Jesus died on the cross in order to carry out the sentence for the "guilty" verdict on all the sins of all people who have lived (Matt. 20:28).Death on the cross, called crucifixion, was a form of capital punishment commonly used by the ancient Romans on all convicted criminals. Jesus was "framed" by some of the religious leaders of His day because they were jealous of the impact He was having on people (Mark 14:61-64). These leaders forced the Romans to have Jesus crucified. They thought this would put an end to the new movement He started (1 Corinthians 2:7-8). They even put a "crown" of thorns on His head to mock Him as a king – which was His true purpose (John 19:2-3).The purpose of Jesus' death was to offer His perfect, sinless, holy life for our imperfect, sinful and unholy lives (John 1:29).
For example: Imagine a judge sentencing a guilty person for a crime committed; then imagine a person coming in and saying, "Your Honor, this person is truly sorry for what he has done, therefore, I am willing to go to the electric chair for him, so that he may go free."Justice has to be satisfied – even when sin is involved (James 1:15). Jesus stepped in for us when He went to the cross, and said, "I will take the penalty that all of mankind deserved, so that those who are truly sorry and are willing to turn from sin and evil may go free." He chose to die because He loves all people (John 3:16). He allowed His precious blood to be shed because He wanted to give hope to all of us (Eph. 1:8)!
Jesus never did anything wrong. Therefore, His death was for others and not for Himself – He died for you! If you receive Him as your Savior and Lord, you can go free (Heb. 2:14). If you do not receive Him, you will reap what you have sown, be found "guilty", and be sentenced to hell when your life is over (Revelation 20:15).
What about Jesus raising from the dead? Did it really happen and what does it mean?
Jesus truly died on the cross. He did not just "pass out" as some people have said who try to discredit Christianity. The Romans knew how to kill people. If a person was not dead after a period of time on a cross, they would break his legs or pierce them with a spear to make certain. When they came to Jesus, they said that He was already dead (John 19:31-33). Because the Pharisees and other religious leaders thought that some of the disciples might try to steal his body and claim that Jesus was alive, the Roman officials ordered that the tomb be sealed and that armed guards should be placed at he door of the tomb (Matt. 27:63-66)Jesus' death satisfied God's justice. The sentenced was carried out by God on Jesus! That's why Jesus said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" God temporarily turned His back on Jesus and let Him die like a criminal (Matt. 27:46).
When God raised Jesus from the dead, it declared three things:
1. Jesus has power over death, sin and satan (Revelation 1:18). He can never again be subject to those forces. For example, in our legal system, you cannot tried a person twice for the same crime. If you have been declared innocent, you can never be declared guilty.
2. Jesus "un-did" the mess that Adam and Eve "did" (1 Cor. 15:45). Adam and Eve, who were the first people, got the whole human race in trouble when they disobeyed God. People have been disobeying God ever since. Jesus Christ brought a new beginning to the human race. His resurrection proved that He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Those who follow Jesus today can live victorious lives and spend eternity with God.
3. Jesus will return to earth to receive all those who have live in Him and for Him. God is going to bring an end to all the evil in this world. But before He does, He wants people to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior – this is the only reason why the world continues in its present state (2 Pet. 3:9-11).
How can I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior? How can I be saved?
Since Jesus did all the work through His sinless life, His death and resurrection, the only thing you can do is trust Him and give your life to Him. You cannot save yourself. If you could, you would not need Jesus.To be saved, you must tell God that you are sorry for your sins and that you are willing to repent (which means "change your mind"). Romans 10:9 says, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
When you come to God through Jesus Christ with a sincere heart, the Holy Spirit of God will enter your heart and change your nature. He will take your sins away, like a heavy load being lifted off your back. Jesus will enter into fellowship with you and make you a part of His body of people – His church.This experience is called being "born again." You were born the first time from your mother – a physical birth. You are born the second time by the Holy Spirit – a spiritual birth (John 3:3-6). After this, you need to be baptized in water which is our way of identifying with Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. You will also need to be to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and unite with a bible believing local church (Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 12:18). This will help you to live a victorious life and lead others to a saving knowledge of Jesus!You need to let Jesus Christ become your Lord and Savior right now!
Pray this prayer from your heart:
"God, I am sorry for my sins. I do not want to die in my sins and wrongdoing. I thank you for sending Jesus to die in my place and take the punishment I deserved. I thank you that He shed His blood for me, died and then rose from the dead. Jesus, you did all the work – there is nothing I can do except receive you as my Lord and Savior. Jesus, thank you for taking my sins away. Thank you for giving me a new life. Thank you for preparing me a home in heaven and for blessing me here on earth. Holy Spirit, change my heart; put a new spirit within me and draw me near to God. Lord, thank you for saving me today in Jesus mighty Name, Amen!
Written by Pastor Bryan Hudson
For prayer and encouragement on your decision to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,
call the New Covenant Church office at (317) 205-6000