Knowing Jesus

Knowing Jesus Header

Who is Jesus?

The most important question in human history is the one Jesus asked his followers 20 centuries ago: "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15). 

In recent years many people have claimed that Jesus saw himself only as a religious teacher, or a moral leader, and that the Church deified (that is, claimed him to be God) him over the centuries. Not according to the eyewitnesses. When Jesus stood on trial for his life, the high priest challenged him: "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 26:63). His answer sealed his fate: "Yes, it is as you say" (v. 64).

Earlier he told his opponents, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58). Make no mistake: Jesus clearly claimed to be God.

C.S. Lewis, a British author, once wrote: 

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely 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 kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. 

Why do I need Jesus in my life? 

We know Jesus existed, the Bible is trustworthy, and Jesus' claim to be God is backed up by evidence and reason. Now, why do you need him personally? What will he do for you that no one else can?

The Bible diagnoses our problem: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). In other words, we've all messed up. We're all imperfect people. If you're the exception, the one person who has never lied or cheated or had an immoral thought, we would like to meet you and learn how you did it. The rest of us know that we've made mistakes and sinned!

So what does our sin mean? "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). God cannot let my sins into his perfect heaven, or it wouldn't be heaven any longer. My sins must be punished, my debt paid.

This is why Jesus came: to die in our place, taking our punishment on himself (see Isaiah 53:5, 12). No one else in all of human history has done this, or could do it. Every other person has sinned, so that they owed their own debt to God. Only Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), so he had no debt to pay. He could die for us, taking our place and purchasing our salvation. He then rose from the dead to prove his divinity, and to show us that we would live after death with him in paradise (John 14:1-6). 

You need Jesus in your life so that your sins can be forgiven and you can spend eternity in heaven. He is the only one who can give you this gift. But every gift, even one which comes from God, must be opened.

How do I meet Jesus personally?

These are the biblical facts which make it possible for you to have a personal relationship with God:

1. God loves you. He created you and wants to have a personal relationship with you now on earth and eternally in heaven (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4-5). 

2. Sin has separated you from God. The Bible defines "sin" as choosing our will over God's. We have each made this mistake (Romans 3:23). Our sins have now separated us from our holy God, and he cannot allow us into his perfect heaven. Instead, we are each destined for an eternity separated from God in hell (Revelation 19:19-21.

3. You cannot repair your broken relationship with God. Many people think we can be good or religious enough to earn God's forgiveness and go to heaven when we die. But the Bible teaches that the only payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:20). Someone must die for the sins we have committed.

4. Jesus died to pay the debt owed by your sins. Since Jesus was sinless and owed no debt to God, his death could pay for our sins. He took our place on the cross and suffered the penalty we deserved. His death now makes it possible for a righteous God to forgive our sins and offer us salvation (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).

5. You must receive the gift he died to give. Now you must choose to trust in what Jesus has done for you rather than trusting in your own efforts to restore your relationship with God. In faith, rely completely on Jesus to make you right with God. Confess your sins and mistakes to God, and choose to live by his word and will. Decide that you will make Jesus the Lord and Master of your life.

How do I make a decision? 

Many people, maybe even you, have prayed a brief prayer in order to receive eternal life. There is no single prayer you must pray to become a Christian, there is no magic formula; but the following words are one way to trust Christ as Lord. If you will pray them with the sincere commitment of your heart and life, you will know Jesus personally and live for him as your Lord.

Dear God,

Thank you for loving me. Thank you that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins and failures. I admit to you that I am a sinner, that I need you to save me. I ask you to forgive me for my sins. I turn from them now. I invite Jesus into my life as my Savior and Lord. I turn my life over to him. I will live for him as long as I live. Thank you for giving me eternal life and making me the child of God. In Jesus' name,

Amen.

If you just prayed this prayer for the first time, please tell someone about your decision. Christianity cannot be lived alone. If you would like to tell someone about your decision, call the First Church office and ask for a pastor, or click here to send us an email about your decision. Someone from First Church will get back to you as soon as possible.