:: A couple thousand years ago in a dusty podunk town in Israel, a man was born into a poor working family. His name was Jesus and his life and teachings and death would become a profound topic of conversation for the next 2000 years. Some people say he was a great prophet and teacher. Some people say he was a political radical out to overthrow the colonial government of his day. Some people say he was God.
Who do you think Jesus was?
:: Not long after his death, some of Jesus' friends wrote out the story of the things he said and did. Scholars who have examined the many copies of those manuscripts say the version we have today is more faithful to the original writings than the modern texts of ancient writings by such noted authors as Homer. This collection of stories and accounts of historical events show us a man who gave sight to the blind, changed water into wine for a friend's party, and fed thousands of hungry followers with a few fish and some bread. These stories also portray Jesus' claims to be the Messiah, the one God had promised to send to show humankind how to come home to God. Jesus claimed to be the way to God. In fact, he claimed to be the only way to God. He said he would prove himself to be God by dying and rising from the dead.
What do you make of Jesus' claims about Himself?
:: A man who claims to be God can be one of three kinds of people. He can be a lunatic, believing in a delusion that he is someone he is not. He can be a liar, knowing he isn't who he claims to be but intentionally deceiving people. Or he can really be God.
Do you think Jesus is: liar, lunatic, or truly God?
:: If Jesus was God, if he was killed and then rose from the dead, that would seem to make it pretty important to hear and think about what he said. Here are some of the things Jesus claimed:
"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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
"I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
What is your response?
:: Jesus lived a perfect life. He never said anything, did anything, or thought anything that was even the slightest bit wrong. He always practiced what he preached, even to the point of forgiving the people who tortured and killed him. If we were completely honest with ourselves, we'd admit that hardly a minute goes by when we don't say, do, or think something that we know in our hearts is wrong. Those things we say and do and think keep us from God. But they don't have to.
Q: If there is a way to remove the things in your life that keep you from God, if there was a way to come home to God and have a personal relationship with God that lasted forever... would you be interested?
:: Jesus wants each of us to know His Father and to have a growing, intimate relationship with Him now and forever. All it takes is an openness to the possibility that Jesus is who He says He is, a willingness to admit to God that you've done wrong, and a trust in Jesus' death on the cross to make things right between you and God. When you decide to cast off the pride that is keeping you cold and alone and hungry in a strange place and ask God to forgive your sins and come into your life, a wonderful and amazing thing happens: God runs out to meet you and the party in heaven begins, with your name on the banner above the banquet table. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus steps out of heaven and into your heart.
Q: If there is a way to remove the things in your life that keep you from God, if there was a way to come home to God and have a personal relationship with God that lasted forever... what's keeping you from asking God's forgiveness?
:: If you're ready to believe in the forgiveness available to you through Jesus, here's a way for you to express the desire of your heart to God. Prayer is just speaking to God. Here's a prayer you might try:
"Lord Jesus, I know I've done some wrong things. I especially feel bad about... I believe you died on the cross for my sins, rose from the grave, and are alive today. I open the door of my heart and my life to you. I receive you as the forgiver of my sins, and I want to follow you as the leader of my life. Thank you for loving me, remembering my sins no more, and enabling me to have a relationship with you that lasts forever."
:: If you've prayed this prayer, or if you aren't ready and want to talk to someone about some questions you have about Jesus, we'd love to meet with you. Fill out a Connection Form. A member of our team would love to speak with you.