#4: JESUS IS “ONE OF US” (THE SON OF MAN).
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God could have chosen to send Jesus into the world as a fully grown and sinless man. He could have quickly died on the cross and gone back to heaven. Instead, Jesus was miraculously conceived in Mary’s womb as a baby (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35; cf. Isaiah 7:14). He lived a common life for thirty years, an extraordinary life for forty months, and an excruciating life for six hours.
So about ninety percent of His earthly existence was spent living as an average person. He came from a common family, wore a common name, did common work, ate common food, spoke a common language, and had common responsibilities.
#5: JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED BY HIS OWN PEOPLE FOR BEING TOO HOLY.
Religious people, not atheists, killed Jesus. He was not condemned for wicked deeds, but, in effect, for holiness. His “crimes” included socializing with sinners (Mark 2:13–17), healing on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9–14), driving exchangers from the temple (John 2:13–16), and accepting worship (Matthew 9:18; 20:20).
He made claims Jewish leaders considered blasphemy. He claimed
- To forgive sins (Matthew 9:1–2).
- To come from heaven (John 6:38; 16:28).
- That God sent Him (John 8:42).
- To be sinless (John 8:46; 18:23).
- To have preexisted (John 8:58).
- To be the only way to salvation (John 3:16–18; 5:24; 6:40; 10:9; 11:25; 14:6).
- To be the bread of life and the living bread (John 6:35, 48, 51); the light of the world (8:12); the good shepherd (10:11, 14); the way, the truth, and the life (14:6).
- To be God (John 5:18; 10:30–33; 14:8–9).
- It was only blasphemy if it were not true.
#6: JESUS CAME BACK TO LIFE.
Jesus lived again. That the tomb was filled is generally stipulated to by both sides. Jesus died and was buried. That is not the question. The question is what happened to the body. There are three choices:
- His enemies stole the body.
- His disciples stole the body.
- He was resurrected.
The first is disproven by the fact that Christianity’s enemies never produced the body. Preaching the resurrection began within a stone’s throw of His tomb—in the presence of His enemies. They did all they could to stop the church’s growth, but they never said, “We took His body. You look like a bunch of fools for claiming a resurrection.”
The second choice is equally untenable. First, believers had no access to the body. Jesus’ tomb was triple protected by
- A stone: Artists typically portray a disk-shaped stone over Jesus’ tomb, but out of the nine hundred tombs discovered from this period, only four had stones like that. Most were more like corks. Either way, its entrance was blocked.
- A guard: Pilate put guards at the tomb.
- A seal: A seal was a sign that the contents belonged to Rome. Anyone caught breaking it would likely be crucified.
Second, the disciples died for their faith. Not one recanted and said, “We took the body. There was no resurrection. It was all a lie.” People do not die for something they know is a lie.
#7: JESUS BUILT THE CHURCH AND WANTS YOU TO BE A MEMBER.
The only lasting institution from Jesus’ life is His church. He promised, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The promise was fulfilled on the Pentecost following His resurrection (Acts 2:1–47). The church of Christ grew rapidly in Jerusalem, Judea, and throughout the Roman Empire.
The same church still exists today. Jesus adds every person He saves to it (Acts 2:47). In fact, that is the only way to become a part of it. He invites you to accept the facts of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1–4), obey its commands (Acts 2:38), and then enjoy its promises (Mark 16:16). He will add you to His church where you can worship and work until He comes or you pass over to His side in death.
#8: JESUS REIGNS OVER THE WHOLE WORLD—EXCEPT ONE PLACE.
Yet there are pockets of resistance—places where His rule is not recognized. Those places are human hearts where He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20). Does He rule in your heart? He wants you to take Him with you on your life’s journey. He has high expectations. He requires certain behavior and attitudes. He lays out what is right and wrong in Scripture, and He must be given preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:15–20).
Like an engagement proposal, the choice is up to us. He will not make us follow Him, but life is better with Him in it. And eternity without Him is unthinkable.
#9: JESUS WILL JUDGE EVERYONE.
He gave a preview of that great scene when the Son of Man shall come in His glory: “He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31–33). You will be there; I will be there; we should prepare.
#10: JESUS WANTS EACH PERSON TO FOLLOW HIM (MATTHEW 11:28–30).
We are back to where we began. He stands ready to save; He is the only way to heaven.
- A physician can save your life,
- A lawyer can save your business,
- A financial advisor can save your money,
- A coach can save your athletic career,
- A consultant can save your reputation.4
But only Jesus can save your soul (Matthew 16:26).
Endnotes: (1 http://www.biblehelp.org/notheard.htm.
4 Author unknown (adapted).