Few people have made an impact on history like Jesus of Nazareth. He influenced even how we count years using B.C. (‘before Christ’) and A.D. (‘anno domini’, which is Latin for ‘in the year of our lord).
But many still question who Jesus was and what He was really all about. Was he really the Christ (Messiah)? And is Christianity the only way to God and heaven? Or do all religions lead to God?
Who was Jesus?
Some people believe that Jesus was just a good man or a prophet. Although this is true, He is much more than that. Who did Jesus Himself claim He was?
Jesus claimed He was the long-awaited Messiah for the Jewish people. Many prophecies foretold how the Jewish Messiah would come and set the Jewish people free from their enemies. He would rule the world and bring order.
Jews were looking for a warrior-king, but Jesus came more in a spiritual sense. He wanted to first set His people free spiritually and then physically free them from all their adversaries such as the Romans.
Jesus also wanted to extend salvation to ALL people, even the non-Jews. Jesus was crucified on a cross like a criminal. The Jewish people were not expecting any of this, so many of them rejected Jesus because He wasn’t the ideal Messiah they were looking for.
Some people think Jesus was a lunatic, a crazy man who thought He was the Messiah. And some say that He lied and made the whole thing up. But if either of these ideas is true, then Jesus certainly wasn’t a good man. He can’t be a liar or madman AND a good man.
The truth is, He was who He claimed to be. Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy about the Messiah right down to the last letter. From where He was born, to how He was killed, to exactly how He was betrayed, Jesus satisfied every requirement for being the Jewish Messiah. The chances of one person doing this is incredibly slim, but Jesus met the criteria, and no other person in history has even come close.
So what does this mean? Jesus wasn’t crazy, and He wasn’t a liar; He was who He claimed to be: the Jewish Messiah, the only Son of God who lived a perfect life so He could be the perfect blood-sacrifice covering our sins, making us acceptable to God the Father.
Why Did Jesus Come?
Most are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. God created these humans in His image and placed them in a beautiful garden where he told them to “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
God’s plan was to be friends with and have a relationship with His creation; He gave people authority and wanted them to increase and rule the earth for Him. God and Adam and Eve had a good relationship until Satan tempted the humans to doubt and disobey God.
Because of Adam and Eve’s choice to sin (disobey God), death, sickness and separation from God began. This broke God’s heart; He didn’t want to be separated from the people He had created in His own image.
Since God is holy and He cannot tolerate sin, He ordered the people to kill a perfect animal so that its blood could cover their sin and they could be acceptable to Him. The people obeyed God in this for many years, but God had an even better rescue plan: Jesus would be the final blood sacrifice.
Jesus was God’s “do-over.” Since the first man (Adam) messed up, God decided to send another to restart humanity. Jesus, God’s Son, was willing to do whatever His Father asked of Him – even being born as a human and sacrificing His perfect blood to cover mankind’s sin. In this way, God and his human creation could be made friends again.
Romans tells us, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. … Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. … Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.”
Now, when Jesus gave His life, that wasn’t the end. Unlike other teachers and prophets, Jesus even claimed he would raise to life again after his death. In fact, the Bible and other historical sources document how His disciples and others saw Him and talked with Him after His Father raised Him from the dead.
God wouldn’t allow death to conquer His Son, and that’s why we can have hope that physical death isn’t the end for us either. When Jesus conquered death, He defeated it for all mankind. Timothy explains: “Christ Jesus … has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
In the Garden of Eden, death didn’t exist. When Jesus nullified death’s power, God’s plan to restart humanity and reset things like in the beginning commenced. We just have to accept his sacrifice, and we can live forever with our Creator like we were meant to.
Is Jesus the Only Way to God?
The short answer to this is “yes.” Now before you start to argue or get offended thinking this is a very narrow view, consider this: God is God, and He makes the rules. If He wants there to be just one way to get to Him, then He has the right to do that.
He is God; we are not. If we decide how we want to get to God, then aren’t we acting like God, making our own rules? And think about it: Since there’s only one way to the Father, it’s pretty simple.
Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s pretty clear. Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “I’m one of the ways … to come to the Father.”
A famous verse, John 3:16, tells us, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” So sin is not God’s problem; it’s a human problem. But because God loves people and wanted to have a relationship with them, He was willing to fix our sin problem.
Death came through Adam, but life comes through accepting Christ. The only question left to ask is, will you accept Jesus’s sacrifice so that you can be made right with God, and then will you live to please and honor Him?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
~ Written by Jennell Houts
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