“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Such began the earthly life of Jesus Christ.
What do you say about the one that saved us from sin? There really isn’t much I could say that hasn’t been said before. So I am not going to invent any special new words or phrases here. I am just going to tell you how I feel, in the most humble way I know how, knowing that my words can never do Him justice, never really fully explain what He means to us. I will begin with the one verse in the bible almost everyone knows.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Of course, these are the most famous words Jesus spoke. I dare say it is the most famous verse in the entire Bible. I really think we take this verse for granted. We say it so often that sometimes it seems to lose its meaning. What does it really mean to say that God loved the world so much he gave his only begotten son? Let me try to explain.
A pastor at a bible study recently explained it to me this way. Are you a father or mother? Have you ever had to decide between the life of your son and the life of a stranger? Picture for a moment a situation where you see your son and a stranger, both about to fall over a cliff. Sorry about the mental picture, but it is for a reason. You only have the ability to save one. Which do you choose? Your son or the stranger? I know what my decision would be. Here is the thing.
God chose the stranger.
That is Jesus in a nutshell folks. The entire mission of God the Son was to come down to earth, die on a cross, then come back to life in three days, all for you. The most selfless act of love man has ever seen, as payment for the sins for which we deserved judgement. So yes, God loved me that much, so much He chose for His son to suffer on the cross, to spare me the wrath I deserved because of my sin.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. “
Why is it that we quote John 3:16, but rarely do we keep going on to the next verse? I don’t know. I can tell you that this verse has just as much meaning to me as the previous one. How often, even within the church, do we use our faith to condemn others? It is natural I suppose. We are fallen creatures, and as such, we suffer the sin of pride. In an effort to be “good Christians”, we end up judging others. That is not what Jesus expects of us. As the verse says, He did not come to condemn but to save. Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus sitting down and attending to some of society’s worst sinners. He sat down with tax collectors. He sat down with prostitutes. He sat down with Roman soldiers.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Jesus came to save us all. It is our trust in the one true God, and our faith in Jesus Christ that saves us all.
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
So what does Jesus expect of us? He gave us two commandments. From these, all others flow. Love your God, and love your neighbor. Love is the central message our Savior tried to convey to us, even for our enemies. No it is not easy, but Jesus told us this life as His follower would not be easy. We are told to be in this world, but not of it. We are not to cherish this fallen world, but rather look towards heaven and seek to follow His plan for our lives, not ours.
The Christian author C.S. Lewis summed up Jesus perfectly.
“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.”
And Jesus is very clear, when He says:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
You see, you cannot be a Christian without accepting and knowing that Jesus is God – in the form of man – and that He came to save us from our sins. You cannot claim that he was a great teacher, or just a prophet, or just a great man. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. He walked around the Middle East telling people He was the son of God, and that anyone who followed Him was going to heaven. Even on the cross, he told a criminal he was going to heaven because he believe in him. As C.S. Lewis told us, he was either a madman, or the Messiah.
I believe the best way to describe our Savior is by saying that He is the definition of Love. Love started with Him, and we can only love because He love us first. My hope is that all of us one day will stand before Him and be able to truly understand the depths of His love, as we worship Him in Heaven for all eternity.
As I said earlier, there is no way for me to give Him justice. So as I write this, I realize that I could spend the rest of my life proofreading and re-writing, and never capture in words what Jesus really means to us. We think about Him, talk about Him, write about Him, and never completely understand Him. All I can do is humble myself, and make the best attempt I can to describe Him. What I do know is that in doing so, I come closer to Him. In honoring Him, I inch closer to the one who – with his grace – grants all of us what we could never accomplish on our own – eternal life.
- Christian Words, Part Five – Forgiveness (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- Christian Words, Part Two – Sin (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- Christian Words, Part Six – Humility (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- Christian Words, Part Three – Love (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- The Trinity – an Idea Under Construction – Now Needing Revision? (billpeddie.wordpress.com)
- Symbols: Jesus (pknatz.wordpress.com)