July 2019   
Bible Search


•    was born in a stable,
•    remained poor throughout His life,
•    had no formal education,
•    never traveled far from His birthplace,
•    never led an army,
•    was falsely condemned and crucified at the age of 33.

It doesn’t seem very impressive.  Yet. . . . He has been the object of faith and worship for Christians of many nationalities for over 20 centuries.  Today one fourth of the world’s population claims to be Christians.

Why is it important to know about Christ?
•    Because His life, teaching, and death are the most important events in human history.
•    Because He is the Creator and the Savior and the Judge of the world.

All we know about Jesus comes from the Bible. The Gospels were written mainly from the preaching of Christ’s followers 35 to 70 years after His death on the cross. There are major portions from Christ’s life for which little or no information exists.

First, let’s talk about the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation.
•    He was born in Bethlehem in southern Palestine, 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the state of Judea.
•    His birth was of the Virgin Mary, in a stable of some kind, in a manger (which is a feed trough).  
•    To escape the wrath of Herod, Mary and her husband Joseph took Jesus to Egypt.
•    They returned to Nazareth after Herod’s death.  
•    This period of time also involved the visit of the Magi sometime up to two years after the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-15).

We know very little about the childhood of Jesus (Luke 2:40, 52). His human education consisted of Joseph’s training in carpentry and probably religious training from local rabbis. He may have received His bar mitzvah or Jewish manhood ceremony at age 12.

We also read of the 12-year-old Jesus listening to the teachers in the Temple and asking them questions.  When Jesus was 30 years old, He heard John the Baptist preach in Judea.  John warned of God’s coming judgment, telling people to repent and be baptized.  John baptized people in the Jordan River.  Jesus had John baptize Him in the river as an example (Luke 3:21-22). Physical water baptism symbolizes the burial of our old life and our new birth in Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t save us.

After His baptism, Jesus went into the desert for prayer, fasting, and meditation to prepare Himself for His ministry.  Satan tried to tempt Him but had no effect on Him. Christ’s earthly mission or ministry was to tell people that they needed to repent and be baptized so they could enter God’s kingdom.  His ministry only lasted three years, yet it changed the world.

Jesus began His ministry after John the Baptist was imprisoned for criticizing Herod. He left Nazareth, traveling to Capernaum, where He began to preach (Matthew 5:1-20). Here’s where He found His first four disciples. Traveling through Galilee, Judea, and the surrounding area, Jesus healed the sick and forgave sins. His fame spread rapidly throughout the area.

Christ’s sermon on the Mount revealed the full depth of His teaching. He explained the keys to the Christian way of life.  . . . . Faith, love, and humility.  Outward acts (good works) were not enough. Only true inner goodness could bring you salvation by believing in Him only– saved by His grace through faith alone.

Jesus worked many miracles other than healing the sick. He revealed His divine power and served the people at the same time. His first earthly miracle was turning water to wine at a wedding feast. Some other familiar miracles were walking on the sea of Galilee, causing a few fish and loaves to feed 4,000 people on one occasion and 5,000 at another time, and raising people from the dead. The first miracle was creation of the universe about 6000 years ago.

As Christ’s ministry continued, Jewish leaders became more and more angered and hostile through their jealousy. Jesus refused to blindly follow Jewish traditions. He challenged Jewish leaders each time He felt they were not teaching correctly in the Spirit from the Old Testament. He drove merchants and moneychangers from the Temple. The Chief Priests and Pharisees were afraid all people would soon believe in Jesus, so they began to plot against Him. Jesus openly exposed the wicked ways of the Pharisees. They didn’t like this, so it was decided to kill Jesus in some way (Luke 20:45-47).

At the Passover meal, or what is also called the Last Supper in the upper room, Jesus told His disciples to love each other as He loved them (John 13:1). He told Him that His death was to forgive sins for all time for those who believed in Him. He instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion (Matthew 26:26-28). He also told them that He would send the Holy Spirit back to dwell within them (John 15:26-27).

Judas Iscariot agreed to betray Jesus to the priests and Pharisees for 30 pieces of silver. He led them to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was praying. Soldiers seized Jesus and beat Him, taking Him prisoner. It is important to note that Jesus could have prevented all this, but He must die to fulfill prophecy as told to us in the Old Testament.

The priests and the council elders had decided to kill Jesus, but only the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, had the authority to give the death penalty. Pilot found Jesus innocent, but Roman law allowed the freeing of another prisoner, in this case, Barabbas, and the executing of Jesus in His place (John 18:39-40a; John 19:16-18).

Roman soldiers forced Jesus to carry the cross to the hill of golgotha (Calvary). They nailed Him to the cross by His hands and feet. After the day passed, Jesus died. It is important to mention the “thief on the cross,” because this is an example of salvation by faith alone (Luke 23:32-43).

When Jesus was buried,
•    His body was wrapped in linen and placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
•    A stone was placed in front of the tomb and sealed with an official Roman seal.
•    Anyone opening the tomb would have broken the seal and Roman law, and probably would have been killed.
•    Roman guards were stationed by the tomb to prevent theft of the body, because Christ’s enemies didn’t want to take a chance that the resurrection prophecy would come true.
•    On the third day, an angel of the Lord rolled away the stone.
•    Mary and Mary Magdalene were told by an angel that Christ had risen (Mark 16:1-7).
•    They told the disciples, who then checked the tomb and found it empty.

The resurrection was the pledge or promise of our own resurrection through our salvation in Jesus Christ. The physical body of Christ had to be retrieved from condemnation to make a complete conquest of death and Satan. The resurrection means the presence of the living Christ.

Jesus gave His great commission to His eleven disciples or “learners.” When They followed His command and started the spread of Christianity, they became known as apostles, or “ones who are sent.” (Matthew 28:18-20).

By the way, . . . . . What happened to Judas? Well, he was filled with remorse and committed suicide for his treachery. Also, his insides fell out. Yuck!

•    The crucifixion was planned by God for our salvation.
•    Through the cross, God overpowered Satan, bringing God and man together.
•    The cross proves to us that God hates sin and loves righteousness.
•    He has told us many times that sinning spirit souls die.
•    He can’t forgive our sins unless our debt has been paid.
•    His holiness and His justice demand the penalty for His broken law.
•    We are each responsible for our own sins (not our parents, environment, or any other reason).

Several events are essential to Christianity. They are:
•    the Incarnation of Jesus,
•    His Crucifixion,
•    His Resurrection,
•    His Ascension into Heaven, and
•    His Return.

God is only our Father when we accept Him spiritually. This brotherhood and fatherhood can only be experienced through the cross of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus the Christ, and by the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. When we are willing to accept the meaning of the cross, then we can find relief from our guilt by salvation through Jesus Christ. Our guilt can be removed by this confession and cleansing. When we keep feeling guilty for our sins, then we are not trusting in the Lord. We are expected to accept the testimony of the cross on faith or continue to bear the burden of guilt.

★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
                Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
                 I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
                 Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                In Your name I pray, Amen.


    Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor  Broadway Baptist Church  Sedalia, Missouri  2015