Cross of Christ
The Beginning of a New Era —
God hates sin. What did we do? We filled God’s world with sin. God is logical and organized. We turned His world into a jumbled mess. How did God respond? God wants us to come back to Him. God loves us. That has not changed.
What was God’s response to our disobedience? According to the Bible, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 9, NAS) The Bible also says,
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3: 16-17, NAS)
Does God really love us? The Bible says God shows His love. He sent Jesus Christ to die for us. He wants us to live with Him eternally in heaven.
How do we know this is the truth? In a court of law, truth is revealed through trustworthy testimony and true evidence. OK. Let’s examine the evidence and the testimony. Does God love us? Prove it!
The Testimony of Jesus
Jesus’ testimony includes some outrageous claims. For example, on the night before the Crucifixion, Jesus prayed to His Father. He said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3, NAS) Jesus said we can gain eternal life. Life eternal comes by knowing God and Jesus Christ.
In addition, Jesus said He is the exact image of God. He said to His disciples,
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. (John 14: 9-10, NAS)
The early church believed this. The apostle Paul wrote, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1: 15)
Jesus also claimed to be one with God. In John 10:30, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” (NAS) In John 8: 58, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (NAS) He used the Greek words ego eimi when He said, “I am.” These words often were used to refer to Almighty God. They mean “I, myself, am.”The Jews understood exactly what He said. Their response? They picked up stones to kill Him!
Was Jesus Crazy?
Eternal life? The exact image of God? One with God? From time to time people say things like that. We call them “crazy.” Was Jesus crazy? Christian thinker C. S. Lewis provided a logical answer to that question.
A man who was really a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the 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. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and call Him a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. (from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis)
Which description fits Jesus? Was He a lying demon sent to confuse us? Was He only a poor, pathetic lunatic? Or is He the Lord of heaven and earth? Is He the only Son of the one true God? Jesus said He is God’s only Son. God cannot lie (see Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6: 18). Jesus cannot lie.
But talk is cheap! We need proof. What evidence can convince us that this is the truth? We need truly spectacular evidence. Something never done before. Something only God could do. Do we have this sort of evidence to prove Jesus was telling the truth?
We have the evidence of the Resurrection. Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
The Evidence of the Resurrection
Jesus was crucified like a common criminal. That certainly was not special. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. That’s not surprising. Jesus was very popular. Many people loved Him. Some abandoned everything to follow Him. One man felt especially honored. Jesus was buried in his tomb. That may be unusual but nothing spectacular.
But then something very special happened. Jesus Christ rose from the dead! He rose with a Resurrection body! No one ever did that before—or since.
Trust me. The historical evidence is there. Jesus rose from the dead. Entire books have been written to prove the Resurrection. These books were written by men who were unbelievers.* They became Christians after examining the evidence. The evidence is too detailed and extensive to review here. Let me assure you, Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead.
How could Jesus do this? How could He defeat death? God is the only being with the power to defeat death. God must have been involved. God was involved. More than that, God did it! God provided the power and love necessary to raise Jesus Christ from the dead.
Does this prove Jesus Christ is God? Ask yourself this? Why would God help a liar? Jesus Christ made some incredible claims about Himself. He predicted He would rise from the dead. He called God, “Father.” He claimed that He, Himself, is God! If these statements are lies, then Jesus is not God. If these statements are lies, why would God raise Jesus from the dead?
But these statements are not lies! Jesus Christ is God! He said it Himself. The Resurrection proves His words are true! The Resurrection is God’s seal of approval. God the Father endorses the life and words of Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection is the key event in all history. But why is the Resurrection so important? What difference does it make to me? The apostle Paul answers:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (I Corinthians 15: 20-22, NAS)
Adam’s disobedience brought sin and death into the world. Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice canceled the power of sin and death.
Those who believe in Christ become heirs of eternal life. Those who are living and do not believe in Jesus have an incredible opportunity. They are invited to receive eternal life. If you receive Christ today, eternal life begins for you today.
How to Receive Christ as Savior
How can a person receive Jesus Christ as their Savior?
First, something has to be done about the sin in your life. The Bible says we all are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NAS) That includes you and me. Think back in your life. What have you done to disappoint God? Did you ignore Him? Did you try to do things your own way? Did you turn your back on Him?
Maybe your sin was something more obvious. Did you ever kill, steal, have sex outside of marriage? God created you. God made you. All of those actions were committed against God. God is kind of strict when it comes to sin. Even if you sin just one little sin, you don’t get off. James 2: 10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (NAS)
What can we do? God requires us to be perfect. We don’t have a chance. We cannot remove our sin through good works. We are totally helpless before God. But that’s why God sent Jesus Christ to earth. Jesus took the punishment for our sin. Yes, it doesn’t make any sense. It was a supreme act of total love. Christ died for our sins. Love doesn’t have to make sense.
The Bible says that through Jesus Christ our sins can be forgiven. But more than that, I John 1: 9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NAS) Our sin is forgiven. We are totally clean before God. We are perfect, as though we never sinned.
You can become a child of God right now. You can receive Christ as your own, personal Savior. The Bible says,
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1: 12-13, NAS)
How do you receive Him? Talk to Him. Pray. Ask Him to forgive your sin. Then ask Him to come into your heart. It’s the start of a whole new life.
*One of the best known of these books is Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison. Another book is Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Both of these men were unbelievers. They each started their book to prove that the Resurrection is false. Before they finished, they believed in Christ! Their books provide ample historical evidence regarding the Resurrection.