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Well, for a start Jesus claimed to be the Son of God - an equal to God, if you like. After all, he assumed among other things the authority to be able to forgive sins.
The great writer C S Lewis put it like this 'A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher, he would either be a lunatic - on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the devil of hell. you must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.…. but don't let's come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. he hasn't left that open to us. he didn't intend to.'
Jesus died on a cross, an agonizing death. Don't take my word for it, it's a historical fact. Another 'fact' is that he rose from death. Now don't start……….. the evidence is actually very strong. We have firstly the account of the disciples who went to the tomb and found it empty, despite the closest possible guard being placed by the Romans to avoid anyone pinching the body.
Then there's the almost 500 people who saw Jesus alive. Add to that the remarkable growth of the early church rooted upon that evidence. A former judge has stated that a jury would have to bring in a verdict that the story is true, based upon the evidence supplied.
Q) So he died…….Why?
A) Quite simply, for you………. and me. You see, this was God saying 'You've shown me how far you can go away from me, your creator…… now I'm going to show you how far I'm prepared to go to bring you back under my wings, like a mother hen gathering her brood. I'm going to show you the power of love, real love.'
I'm not going to argue for the existence of God - that's another explanation altogether - but if you've got this far, I'm going to assume that you have some picture in your mind of a creative force or power at work in this world….. and I'm going to call that power God.
The Bible in a nutshell is this:-
God creates man, man rebels against God, God sends prophets to remind people that he's still there and very much in control, and the people say 'Fine, but we're doing ok without you, thanks very much. Things start to go wrong and the people ask God to help, and he's pleased that they remember him and helps them. Then things start to go well and the people forget about God again. This cycle continues for a very long time. Eventually, after the people have drifted so far away, and sin (for want of a better word) has created such a chasm between them and God, He sends not a prophet but Jesus, His Son, in order to bring creation back into fellowship with its creator. And what happens……. you know the rest.
Christians believe that Jesus died for several reasons
To bring mankind back into fellowship with God. On the cross, Jesus symbolically took upon himself the punishment for mankind's sins. He died that we might know God
He died that we might know what love is all about
He died that we might change. That our lives might be transformed
He died that we might feel freedom from the guilt of wrongdoing 'The wages of sin is death…. but the gift of God is eternal life.'
He died that we might know 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
Q) SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
A) You simply need to say 'sorry', to want to turn around in your life and start again - to be reborn.
You need to say 'thank you' for Jesus dying on the cross and for the offer of forgiveness, freedom and new life
You need to say 'please' because God will never force his way into anyone's life
You need to pray, something like this
Lord Jesus Christ
I am sorry for the many things I've said and done that upon reflection I'm not proud of.
Please forgive me. I want to start again, turn over a new page and begin again with a clean start.
Thank you for the suffering of the cross, for I know if was to bring mankind, and me, back into fellowship with my creator.
Thank you that you offer forgiveness, help me to accept that forgiveness and the gift of your transforming Spirit in my life.
Come into my life, make me whole, fill my emptiness and live within me for ever.
Now tell someone what you've done, and start to read the gospel stories because they'll fill in the gaps that I've left.
And join together with other Christians meeting together, to hear what God is still saying to his people today.
Guidebook to Christianity