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Part 2: Jesus – No ordinary man

Everyone knows that Jesus was a ‘good’ man who taught the world good morals using lots of lovely parables and stories - even the Jews, Muslims, Hindu's and Buddhists believe that! But arguments break out when Christians state that Jesus is the Son of God. Why is that important? Because it is crucial1 to our understanding of the magnitude of importance that Jesus should die for us on the cross.

We believe Jesus is the Son of God, one with God and the Holy Spirit, God in three persons. There is lots of scripture to back this up, so let us look at the scriptures that support these claims:

1 The root of the word 'crucial' is 'crux' or 'cross'

Son of God

  • His name at birth was ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us’ (Matt 1:vs23)
  • At his baptism a voice called from heaven and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:17)
  • The Pharisees and Jewish leaders did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and used it as an accusation against him for ‘blasphemy’ before his trial in front of Pilate. They asked if Jesus was ‘The Messiah’, the one who would save them as prophesied by their prophet Isaiah 650 years previously, (for they were fastidious about keeping and studying their ancient scriptures). Luke 22:66-71 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.” And then Jesus was lead away to his trial.
  • When Jesus referred to himself, he often used the term ‘Son of Man’2, for he had a very human mother and a legal, earthly father in Joseph. At first glance this is a humble way of referring to himself, but it is also a Messianic title that the Jewish leaders should have known, as spoken about by their prophet Daniel3 chapter 7, specifically verses 13-14.

Christians rely on scripture, the Bible, to back up our claim that Jesus is equal to God. No other religion supports this claim. Without scripture, Christianity is just a nice religion with nice people doing nice things, but people fail. That is the nature of sin, no one is perfect, so if we think Christianity is false because of the failure of the church we are looking in the wrong place for our answers. So it is essential to look to scripture to know what the Bible teaches about Jesus.

2 Jesus referred to himself as ‘Son of Man’ in: Matthew 24:30; Mark 14:21; Luke 9:26;
3 Daniel lived at the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, when the Jews were taken into captivity in Babylon, 600 years before Christ was born.

Jesus – Equal to God

  • Jesus is eternal – in John Chapter 1 Jesus is referred to as ‘The Word of God’, who was with God the Creator at the beginning of time.
  • Jesus said to Philip, “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father… don't you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me?”
  • Had the authority to forgive sin, see Matthew chapter 9 verses 1–8
  • Had the power to heal, (too many scriptures to quote, but read Matthew 9)
  • Had power over death – read John chapter 11 where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead
  • Had power over evil – read Mark 1:21-28, Luke 8:26-38
  • The grave could not hold him and after he died on the cross many witnesses saw him come back from the dead – see Matthew chapter 28; Mark chapter 16; chapter 24; John chapter 21.
The grave could not hold him

What did Jesus teach?

The main thing Jesus taught was repentance and to “come, follow me!” (Mark 1:15). If we read Jesus Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-6) he outlines true righteousness and if we are honest with ourselves we soon realise that we all fall short of God’s standards. The purpose of this sermon is show us that we can’t be good enough in our own strength, for we are all sinners, and the place of sinners is outside of heaven, away from God where the rubbish is dumped – because that is the Jewish meaning of ‘Gehenna’ or Hell. It’s not nice to look at and we don’t want to talk about dirty things like ‘Hell’ but Jesus talked about this in various ways, see Luke 16:19-31; John 15:1-6; Matthew 25:31-45.

Jesus clearly taught that he is the ONLY way to heaven.

  • Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. (John 14:6)
  • “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”. (Matthew 7:13-14)
  • Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12)
OK lets recap: Jesus birth was prophesied long before he was born, his virgin birth was miraculous, even though he looked like an ordinary humble man the things he did and taught were revolutionary. He was hated by those he came to save because the religious leaders could not accept Jesus actually being the Son of God, The Messiah, the Saviour of the World who condemned sin and called them to repent.

What must I do to be ‘saved’?

  • Believe that Jesus is who he says he is – the Son of God, the Messiah.
  • Repent – humbly realise that none of us are perfect “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)
  • If you have read this far and it all seems too hard to believe, that is not surprising, because the bible says faith is a gift from God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The good news is that we can ask God for enough faith to believe and repentance is easy for anyone who is humble enough to kneel in their hearts before God and name whatever regrets they may have. We don't have to go to church, we don't have to speak to a priest, we just need to be honest to God.

These are some wonderful promises of God, that fill my heart with hope and peace:

Jesus said:

  • John 3:16 “For God so love the world, that he gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
  • John 14:2 “I go to prepare a place for you”.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9 “…no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”.
  • Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.
  • The resurrection of the dead1 Corinthians 15:21-22 “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive”.

Ultimately, we all stand alone before the judgement throne of God. We can't earn our way to heaven and not all ways lead to heaven. What kind of friend would I be if I did not speak up about these things? We want you to hear the truth about God so that you can worship Him in your heart and know the joy, peace, hope and eternal life that only Christ can give!

One of my favourite stories in the bible is from Luke 23:32-42. There were two thieves crucified at the same time as Jesus, the people were jeering “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One”, and one of the criminals joined in with their insults and said “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him and said “Don't you fear God since we are under the same sentence? We are punished for what our deeds deserve, but this man has done no wrong.” Then he said to Jesus “remember me when you come into your kingdom”, to which Jesus answered “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”.

That thief never went to church, studied the bible or even did any good deeds. He simply believed Jesus is the Son of God and humbly recognised that he himself deserved to be punished for his crimes. That's it!

Dear friend, I don't need to say any more. What you do in your own heart is between you and God. We are here if you want to contact us but more importantly, Jesus is near you, waiting for you to say “Yes, I believe”.

With all our love and prayers,
Your friends from Auburn Christian Churches