It is worth asking ourselves what we are truly building our lives on: Is it knowing Jesus as our Lord, or is it something else? Here are a few helpful ways of working that out:
What is the one thing in my life that I don’t think I could live without?
When I’m facing a decision, whose advice do I most turn to and follow?
Whose words have made the most impact on me in the last month?
If the answer to each of those is “Jesus”, then you’re digging down deep and laying your foundation on Him, our eternal rock. Be encouraged!
Explore Bible notes, 11/2/2012
Jesus made many unique claims about himself. Here are a few of them, taken from John’s gospel:
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 (6:35).
I amthe living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever (6:51).
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (8:12).
I am from above… I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be (8:23-24).
I am the gate for the sheep. (10:7)… whoever enters through me will be saved (10:9).
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (10:11).
I am God’s Son (10:36).
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die (11:25).
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (14:6).
Jesus is both fully man and fully God. – Fully man, since Jesus was borne of Mary, and fully God since Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit. – Jesus is both the Son of Man and the Son of God. And thus Jesus is the perfect mediator between man and God. You see if Jesus was just a man; if he was only fully man he would not have been perfect and his sacrifice would not have been adequate. And if Jesus was fully God, then that wouldn’t have been a fair trade; it would have been God letting us off, with no real sacrifice, atonement or payment of sins.
Fully Human: Author Max Lucado writes: ‘Jesus was angry enough to purge the temple, distraught enough to weep in public, fun-loving enough to be called a drunkard, winsome enough to attract kids, poor enough to borrow a coin for a sermon illustration, radical enough to get kicked out of town, responsible enough to care for His mother, tempted enough to know the smell of Satan, and anxious enough to sweat blood.
Source: The UCB Word For Today, 4/3/2016
The Jewish historian Josephus, born in AD37, describes Jesus and his followers thus: ‘Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians so named after him, are not extinct at this day.’
Cited by Nicky Gumbel in Alpha Questions of Life, 2007 edition, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.22
At the birth of the Son of God there was brightness at midnight; at the death of the Son of God there was darkness at noon.
Why did Jesus become a man and come to earth? Bill Johnson makes the point that Jesus came to reveal the Father. Every other reason mentioned in Scripture – and there and many of them – is actually a sub-point to the primary reason, of revealing the Father.
Jesus came to atone for our sin (see 1 John 2:2; 3:5.)
He came to take upon Himself the punishment that we deserve – our punishment in death. He then made it possible for us to receive what only He deserved – eternal life. (See Romans 5:6-11.)
He came to destroy the works of the evil one. (See 1 John 3:8.)
He came to make an open display of the foolishness of the devil and reveal the wisdom of the cross. (See Colossians 2:15.)
He came that we might have abundant life. (See John 10:10.)
He came to initiate the present-tense awareness of the Kingdom of God – the realm and effects of God’s rule. (See Matthew 6:10.)
Jesus came to save men’s lives, not destroy them. (See Luke 9:56.)
Jesus came to a planet of orphans to reveal what we needed most – the Father.
Bill Johnson, God is Good, 2016, USE: Destiny Image Publishers, p.116
Some years ago a plane crashed into an ice-cold river. Television cameras recorded the heroic attempts of one man to help with the rescue by plunging into the river to drag survivors from the wreckage. After one person had been pulled to safety he returned for another. He never came back to the shore. For thousands watching on television that man was a hero, but for the person he rescued he was much, much more. He was a saviour. The same is true about every Christian’s attitude to Jesus.
Stephen Gaukroger, It Makes Sense, p.113
Many people think Jesus was just a good moral teacher, a bit like Ghandi perhaps. But when you investigate the person of Jesus you come to realise that the one thing that cannot be said about Him, is that Jesus was just a good moral teacher. He never meant to leave that option open to us. C. S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity, wrote:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
C.S. Lewis, 1974, Mere Christianity, London: Fount, p.52
Jesus claimed deity for himself in a way quite clear to his listeners. He said on one occasion, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30).
The high priest expressly asked him, ‘Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes, it is as you say’ (Matthew 26:63–64).
He announced for all to hear that God was his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).
He said he had authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10).
He said he would come on the clouds of heaven and sit at the right hand of the Mighty One (Mark 14:62).
Implying authority to judge men, he said: ‘The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son’ (John 5:22).
Several times Jesus asserted that he himself had the authority and power to raise the dead (cf John 6:39–40, 54; 10:17–18).
He claimed omnipotence (all power) with the bold words: ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me’ (Matthew 28:18).
In a conversation with some who were against him, Jesus remarked that Abraham rejoiced to see his coming. The Jews were dumbfounded: ‘You are not yet fifty years old… and you have seen Abraham?’ He replied, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!’ (John 8:57–58). Of course He existed before Abraham since He was the Creator (who created Abraham!)
Jesus was able to challenge his enemies with the question, ‘Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?’ (John 8:46).
Jesus Christ accepted worship due only to God. After his resurrection He commended rather than rebuked doubting Thomas; who fell at his feet and declared with awe, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28).
Source: Paul E. Little, Know What You Believe, p.54-66
Jesus, not only made unique claims, He also lived a unique life: a perfect life without sin and in full obedience to God. He taught with divine authority and amazed people with miraculous signs and wonders. The New Testament is full of eye witness accounts and testimonies of the disciples who witnessed Jesus perform wonderful miracles: miracles of physical healing; from curing a fever to leprosy to the lame being able to walk and people who were blind being given back their sight. They saw miracles of spiritual healing, with all sorts of demons and evil spirits being cast out. They saw miracles over nature such as turning water into wine, the feeding of thousands of people, Jesus walking on water and even controlling the weather, in calming the storm. And they even witnessed Jesus raising the dead with Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son and Lazarus.
R. Ian Seymour, Empowered Personal Evangelism, Weybridge: New Wine Press (2014), p.41
Apologetics: It is not just the writings of the Bible that attest to the fact that Jesus existed: Josephus, a Jewish historian [not a Christian], gives us further information in two of his literary works – Antiquities of the Jews and Jewish Wars. In these works, we meet many of the people mentioned in the New Testament – Pilate, Annas, Caiaphas, Herod and others. Josephus tells us about John the Baptist as well as Jesus. He tells us that Jesus was a “doer of marvellous deeds, a teacher of men who received truth with pleasure. He won over many Jews and also many Greeks.” He goes on to speak of Jesus’ death and resurrection and of the group called Christians who came into existence because of him.
John Chapman, A Fresh Start, 1997, London: Matthias Media, p.113
When the Pharisees told Jesus to silence His followers for proclaiming Him the King of Glory, Jesus said, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). Archaeology is a sought-after adventure. Some enter this field studying antiquities, to disprove the Bible. But when many brush the dust of the earth from their knees, they confess that Jesus is Lord! The very rocks do cry out that Jesus lives. (…) Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.
Source: Billy Graham, The Reason For My Hope, p.89
For decades the world marvelled at a once crown jewel – the Hope Diamond – the dazzling, blue 45-carat gem with an estimated value of $250 million. Its last owner donated the historic treasure to the Smithsonian Museum as a “gift to the world.” Solitary, it sits encased by thick bullet proof glass. What hope does the rare stone bring to the people of the world? While it is grand in glory, it is untouchable; valuable but not priceless; a gift to the world but protected from the world. Locked up for safekeeping. But the “Gift to the world” is not on display, locked away under glass in a museum. The Gift to the world came in the form of a personal Saviour who paid for our freedom with His priceless life. – Billy Graham
Source: Billy Graham, The Reason For My Hope, page x and xii
Do you know how much Christ loves you? More than life itself: In fact, He loves you so much he’d rather die than see you perish.
Salvation is achieved by Christ’s atonement not by our attainment. The word ‘atonement’ really means at-one-ment! Atonement wipes out the debt, bridges the gap and makes you one with God.
“Be often alone with Christ and you’ll have much assurance. Be seldom alone with Him and your religion will be shallow and polluted with many doubts and fears.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
Stephen Gaukroger writes: ‘Scientists tell us that two theories are needed to explain how light works – one theory says that light is made up of particles, the other that it consists of waves. Neither theory on its own is enough to explain what light is; both are needed. Yet science has still not discovered how the two work together. It defies the imagination… Similarly, we cannot explain how God and man could both be present in the person of Jesus.’
Source: Stephen Gaukroger, It Makes Sense, p.51
Belief in the virgin birth is absolutely crucial to the Christian faith. Why crucial? Because Jesus, God’s Son, had to be free from the sinful nature that has been passed on to all other human beings since Adam. Jesus, borne of Mary, was a fully human being, but as the Son of God, Jesus was born without any trace of human sin. He was both fully human and fully divine. Jesus is Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), God with us. He temporarily, gave up his place in heaven and came to earth as a man, so that He could stand in the place of man – to pay the price of our sin and to be our substitute, when it comes to our facing God’s judgment.
Athanasius said, “Christ became what we are that we might become what he is.”
Ken Costa writes: “Dominating the City of London is a magnificent building called the Royal Exchange, where major commercial transactions are carried out. What Christ did for us on the cross was a royal exchange. Exchange is the image of the market place. Financial traders talk about convertible bonds and interest rate swaps, and all of us have paged through Exchange and Mart and understood the concept of bartering goods. Every day we can ask God to take away our guilt, mistakes and failures and exchange them for peace, security and purpose. We enter into trade simply by asking him to take the acts and omissions that cause displeasure to him – our sin. This is as real a transaction as anyone buying, for example, a car: you take your money, you give it to the dealer, and he exchanges it for a vehicle. But there is a difference. We bring nothing. Jesus gives us a trade that we do not deserve, and completes the bargain as if he were on both sides.
Imagine someone going into a bureau de change with a stack of retired currency – French francs or German marks. They would of course be rejected, because they would bring nothing to the trade. French francs cannot be exchanged for US dollars – they are worthless; they ceased to have any value with the creation of the euro. Imagine if someone were prepared to accept the trade. We would think them either astonishingly stupid or amazingly generous. Why would someone exchange valuable assets for worthlessness? But this is precisely what Jesus did on the cross. He entered into the Great Exchange, by which he gave up his riches for our poverty. ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich’ (2 Corinthians 8:9). This is a compelling verse: riches for poverty; life for death, freedom from guilt.”
Ken Costa, God At Work, 2013, London: Alpha International, p.127-128
A five year old girl said: “I know Jesus lives in my heart, because when I put my hand on it I can feel him walking around in there!”
Source: John Ortberg, God Is Closer Than You Think, p.17
‘In C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books, Aslan the lion represents Jesus. In the most famous of these books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan is slain:
‘“Bind him, I say!” repeated the White Witch … “Let him first be shaved” … the shorn face of Aslan looked … braver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever. “Muzzle him!” said the Witch … the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him … They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table.’
Later, ‘they heard from behind them a loud noise – a great cracking, deafening noise … The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end … There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.’ Aslan tells them that ‘when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.’
In this imaginative and powerful way, C. S. Lewis shows how Jesus can be both ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Revelation 5:5) and ‘a Lamb [that] had been slain’ (v.6).’
Source: Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year – Alpha
Author, Michael Lloyd, writes: ‘One of the most striking features of Jesus was his prayer life. For one thing, He gave quite a lot of time to it. In addition to the daily rhythm of private prayer (morning, afternoon, and evening, and benedictions before and after meals), the weekly rhythm of public prayer in the synagogue (Luke 4:16) and the annual rhythm of festivals in the temple (John 2:13, 5:1, 7:10, 10:22), He would often get up early in the morning and escape to a ‘solitary place’ to pray (Mark 1:35). Sometimes, He would spend the night in prayer (Luke 6:12), and His whole public ministry grew out of and drew upon the forty days He spent fasting and praying in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11). If we ask ourselves why Jesus’ ministry was so fruitful and effective, we should surely not look to His divinity alone (Mark 9:29).’
Michael Lloyd, 2005, Café Theology, London: Alpha International, p.282-283
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