Why Bother with Jesus?

Why should we bother with Christianity? The simple answer is because it is true. If Christianity were not true, we are wasting our time. It if is true, then it must be of vital importance to every human being.

 But How Do We Know It’s True?

We can test the claims of Christianity because it is a historical faith. It is based on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our faith is based on firm historical evidence.

 Who Is Jesus?

Jesus is the most remarkable man who ever lived. He is the centerpiece of our civilization. After all, we call what happened before Him BC [Before Christ] and what happened after Him AD [Anno Domini = Year of our Lord]!

Jesus was and is the Son of God. Some people think He is just a “good religious teacher.” However, that suggestion does not fit with the facts.

Jesus claimed to be the unique Son of God, on an equal footing with God. He assumed the authority to forgive sins. He said that one day He would judge the world, and that what would matter then would be how we had responded to Him in this life.

The evidence for the physical resurrection is very strong indeed. When the disciples went to the tomb, they found grave clothes had collapsed, and Jesus’ body was gone. In the next six weeks He was seen by over 550 people on eleven different occasions. The disciples’ lives were transformed, and the Christian church was born and grew at a dynamic rate.

 Why Did He Come to Earth?

Jesus said He died for us. That word “for” means “instead of.” He did it because He loves us and did not want us to have to pay the penalty for all the things that we have done wrong. On the cross, He was effectively saying, “I will take all those wrong things on myself.”

He did it for you and He did it for me. The apostle Paul wrote of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). It was out of love for us that He gave His life as a ransom.

The word “ransom” comes from the slave market. A kind man might buy a slave and set him or her free–but first he had to pay the ransom price. Jesus paid, by His blood on the cross, the ransom price to set us free.

 Freedom from What and for What?

Freedom from Guilt

Whether we feel guilty or not, we are all guilty before God because of the many times we have broken His laws in thought, word, or deed…The result of the things we do wrong is spiritual death–being cut off from God forever…On the cross, Jesus took the penalty in our place so that we could be totally forgiven and our guilt could be taken away.

Freedom from Addiction

The things we do wrong are like an addiction. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Jesus died to set us free from that slavery. On the cross, the power of this addiction was broken.

Freedom from Fear

Jesus came “so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-­that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14, 15). We need no longer fear death.

Death is not the end for those whom Jesus has set free. Rather, it is the gateway to heaven, where we will be free from even the presence of sin [and where we’ll live physically with God forever].

Freedom to Know God

The things that we do wrong cause a barrier between us and God–“Your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:2). When Jesus died on the cross, He removed the barrier that was between us and God.

Freedom to Love

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). As we look at the Cross we understand God’s love for us. When the Spirit of God comes to live within in us [when we place our trust in Jesus to forgive our sin], we experience that love. As we do so we receive a new love for God and for other people.

Freedom to Change

People sometimes say, “You are what you are. You can’t change.” The good news is that with the help of the Holy Spirit [who starts living in you when you trust in Jesus], we can change. The Holy Spirit gives us the freedom to live the sort of lives that, deep down, we have always wanted to live.”1

[In short, Jesus is the only way to experience a connection and relationship with God. He died for people’s sins to remove the barrier that stands between sinners and God. He rose from the dead to show that those who have relationship with God through Jesus will also be raised from the dead when Jesus returns to earth bringing heaven with Him.]

 

1 Nicky Gumbel, Why Jesus? (London, England: Alpha International, 1996), 8-15.
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