“Even many people who are not Christians believe that He was a great and wise teacher. He was certainly one of the most influential people who ever lived” (The World Book Encyclopedia).
Many may ask, “Who is He?”
He is Jesus Christ, the One who founded Christianity.
The events of His ministry, His works and His miracles are recorded in the Bible in four historical books called the Gospels.
How genuine and accurate are these accounts?
After a thorough analysis, the renowned historian, Will Durant, wrote, “That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”
But to millions of people living in the Orient and elsewhere, Jesus Christ is a stranger. Although they may know that he once existed, they do not feel aware that He may have any effect on their lives. Many more simply dismiss Jesus as not worthy of their attention, because of the actions of some of those who profess to follow him.
“They dropped an atom bomb on Nagasaki,” some people in Japan might say, “a city with more Christians than most cities in Japan.”
But why blame the doctor for the patient’s illness if the patient has ignored the doctor’s orders? Many so-called Christians have largely ignored Jesus’ prescription for resolving their daily problems.
So instead of rejecting Jesus because of the actions of some of His so-called followers who do not follow His instructions, why not do your own research about Him for yourself?
His Prescription – Love
Jesus Christ was a great teacher who lived in Palestine some 2,000 years ago. We don’t know much about His childhood (Matthew Ch. 1-2, Luke Ch. 1-2), but what we can be sure of, is that He was getting prepared for a ministry no one could have imagined, not even His parents or His closest friends.
Around his 30th birthday, Jesus began His ministry to “bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37; Luke 3:21-23). The four biographers of His life focused on His public ministry, which captured the events of the last three and a half years of His life on earth.
During the span of this relatively short ministry, Jesus taught His disciples the key to dealing with problems that people encounter in their daily lives. What was that key?
That key was love.
During one of the most well-known sermons ever delivered, called the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His disciples how to treat their fellow humans. He said, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
This principle is called the Golden Rule.
Fellow humans, according to Jesus, include even one’s enemies. During the same sermon, He preached, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
This concept of love is something quite opposite to our human nature, and many cannot make any sense of it. Aren’t we supposed to love our neighbors but hate our enemies?
It’s little wonder that many people regarded Jesus as a radical teacher, because of the way He taught strange concepts about human relationships, and with such total authority.
But when we go back in history and study the outcome of our natural brand of human relationships, we only see a repetition of the cruelty and mistreatment of humans by humans. Our past is littered with the shameful legacy of bloodied battlefields and the slaughter of fellow humans.
But would not the concept of love that Jesus taught, solve many of our problems today?
Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi thought so, and commented, saying: “When we shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems… of the whole world.”
Jesus’ teachings on love, if applied, can cure mankind’s problems.
His Love In Action
Jesus talked the walk, and walked the talk. He practised what He preached. He put the interests of others ahead of His own, and demonstrated love in action.
One day, when He and His disciples were ministering to the people without any time out for a break, He looked at His helpers and felt sympathy for them. So he led them to a quiet place to help them recover.
However, the people must have got wind of their plans, overtook them on the way, and lay in wait for them when they arrived. If that happened to you, how would you feel? Wouldn’t you feel angry and frustrated?
But not Jesus. He “was moved with pity for them” and “started to teach them many things “ (Mark 6:30-34). This strong feeling of pity moved Him to offer help to others.
But what He did to help others was not limited to spiritual teaching. He also gave them practical assistance.
One example is when he fed 5,000 men (not counting the women and children) as they listened to him preach late into the day. On another occasion, He fed 4,000 people.
On the first occasion, He multiplied the food (5 loaves and 2 fish), and on the second occasion, He did the same (with 7 loaves and a few small fish) to feed the few thousand people gathered there (Matthew 14:14-21; 15:32-38; Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-9).
Magic or miracle?
Magic is based on deception and sleight of hand, but miracles are based on the supernatural and the spiritual.
Jesus was a man of miracles because of who He was and where He came from.
He healed many sick people. He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. He even raised the dead! (Luke 7:22, John 11:30-45).
A leper once pleaded with Him, “If you are willing, you are able to make me clean.” How did Jesus respond? “Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be made clean!’”
Jesus was so strongly inclined to help the afflicted and the sick, and did not hesitate to heal them when they pleaded to Him for help. He loved the weak and afflicted and demonstrated this love by actual practice.
For many people today, these miracles may be hard to believe. However, Jesus performed most of His miracles in public, and even those who opposed Him could not deny the fact that He was directly responsible for all the healed people He had touched (John 9:1-34).
But His miracles also had another purpose. They helped to reveal Jesus as the One sent by God (John 6:14).
When you consider His teachings and His selfless giving of Himself to help others, don’t you feel drawn to His way, and to want to imitate his love?
But that is not the only way Jesus can impact one’s life. He was not just a great teacher who taught love.
He also stated that He existed even before coming to earth, as the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14; 3:16; 8:58; 17:5; 1 John 4:9).
Furthermore, He told His disciples that He was going back to His heavenly abode, after His resurrection. The Bible says that Jesus was raised up and now sits at His Father’s right hand, ruling as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom (Revelation 11:15).
Jesus said, “And this is eternal life: to know You, the one true and real God, and to know Him, Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent” (John 17:3; 20:31).
Indeed, learning about Jesus Christ, and developing faith in Him, can mean eternal life in God’s heavenly Kingdom. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
However, for someone to become a member of God’s family and gain eternal life, will involve 3 basic but necessary steps:
Step 1 – Repent : Pray and ask God to forgive your sins. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Step 2 – Learn more about Jesus, by reading the Bible every day, especially the 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As you read and get to know Him better, He will guide and protect you when you put your life and plans into His hands.
Step 3 – Join a Christian church where the true gospel is preached and the name of Jesus Christ is worshiped. This is where you will be cared for by other members of God’s family, and nurtured to mature spiritually, and become the person God intended you to be.
To take Step One, pray this short prayer of repentance:
“Heavenly Father, I have lived a sinful life and am not worthy to be called your son (or daughter).
“Please forgive my sins and wash me clean with the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
“From now on, I want to devote my life to serving you and carrying out the purpose you have in store for me.
“Help me to learn more about You as I read Your Word. I ask all this in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer with a repentant spirit, and a desire for your sins to be forgiven, then God is faithful and just to cleanse you completely of all your sins, and instil within you His Holy Spirit.
For Step 2, if you already have a copy of the New Testament Bible, you can make a start by reading it and getting to know more about Jesus. If you don’t have a Bible yet, buy a copy of the New Testament, and there should be one that suits your budget, depending on the size. Or you can borrow one from your local library if they have them.
As you start to read and learn about Jesus, the Holy Spirit, which God has instilled in you when you prayed that prayer of repentance, will open the eyes of your heart, and you will begin to experience a new life and a new vision.
For Step 3, to join a good Christian church, do a search on Google for “Christian churches in ………….. (your town or suburb). Then visit a few on a Sunday to find one that preaches the true gospel and worships the name of Jesus. When you find the right church with these qualities, and you feel welcome, join up and get involved in as many activities as you can. This will help you to mature spiritually and serve the purposes that God has laid in store for you.
May God guide, protect and richly bless you as you faithfully seek Him!