As long as you have faith in something, that’s good enough, right? It’s interesting that a lot of people feel this way. Pick a faith, like you would any other club, and if you aren’t careful, that’s exactly what you have, another club.
Some say they “believe in Jesus,” as if He’s a fictional character from a children’s bedtime story, much like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause, that needs a child’s belief in them to make them real. There is plenty of evidence, if you choose to seek it out, that support the life of Jesus. Jesus, is not a myth. He was indeed a real human being that was born, walked here among us and even faced death. His life can be validated through several sources, not all of them Christian. The division comes as to who we chose to believe He actually was before He was born, while He was on the planet and afterwards ’till today.
Some say, He was a good teacher. Some say He was a prophet. Some say He was a holy man who could do amazing miracles. Some say it was all a hoax and he was a lunatic. The Bible says He was and is the Son of God.
Among those who accept that Jesus actually was a real person, many still misunderstand what it means to “believe in Him.” To chose to believe and to be a Christian truthfully has nothing to do with what’s popular in religion or what appeals to the masses. The Bible asks us to believe in Jesus, to believe He is God and man both in one person, united for a special purpose. We are asked to believe He accomplished something on earth that we are not able to do. We believe He was perfect. We believe He is our substitute, perfection for the imperfect.
There are many references in the old testament that reveal hints of Him, prophetic words that point us to Him coming to earth to save us. But why?
Why do we need saving? Why do we need Jesus?
Look around you, in your own life, in the history of this world. You don’t have to look very far to see the pain and suffering all around. Meaningless, it seems, are the cruel and heartless actions and situations that have plagued this planet since the beginning.
Take a moment, consider your body, the way it operates. It’s pretty difficult to argue that we aren’t a product of intelligent design. If you can agree that we have a Creator, then you are on your way to authentic faith. If you struggle with this thought, maybe consider just hanging out at this site and seeking a little more. Just be open. Who knows?
If you believe in God, that’s great, but who do you say God is? Again, there are many different opinions of God, and to say all are right, in a sense, makes all of them wrong. He is what He is, as He states in Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked Him what he should refer to Him as. God replied, “I am Who I am.” (NIV) He is our Creator and Father and we are made in His image. Wouldn’t it be considered arrogant for a thing created to think that it could possibly and authentically explain and understand ALL facets of its Creator? But our hearts instinctively know something of Him. Does this resonate with you?
If we believe God is our Creator, and that we are made in His image, do we also understand that we are unlike him in a very important way? We, unlike Him, are not perfect. There are many religions that whip people with rigid rules and doctrines that preach that perfectionism is the way to God. But, sadly, if you read the Bible, primarily the Old Testament, you will see that God’s chosen people were far from perfect. From the time of Adam and Eve and the choices made there, we all are captive to falling short of our original perfect design. It’s always been God who’s perfect, not us and from that time until now, our Heavenly Father, Himself, continues to provide the way to put us back into right standing with him.
We are not perfect, yet we desire to be in God’s holy and perfect presence. This gives us an internal conflict. It’s what drives most people towards focusing on good works and good behavior before they go to God. It’s what makes perfectionism grow and causes legalism to thrive in many religions. But it’s like being on a hamster wheel. We can try and try, but we will always fall short of God’s ideal. But this need not be a source of fear, hopelessness or frustration.
The Bible says, we all, like sheep have gone astray. God sent Jesus, His one and only Son, the good shepherd, to come to earth and give His life for His sheep (us.) Jesus is God in man form. He literally came down to our planet and became one of us, to live out the one and only perfect life. God, then, set that perfect life up in heaven as a “payment” for your and my imperfect life. Jesus traded His perfect life for our messed up lives. Now, when God looks at us, He sees Jesus’ perfection, not our sin (the word ‘sin’ is actually an archery term that means “missing the mark.”)
What Jesus did for us is called the “Gospel” (which means “good news.”) The good news is God now has fulfilled his law requirements in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This means that if we will choose to believe Jesus lived, suffered and died becoming our perfectness when He rose to heaven, we can be with God when we die. We quit trying to please God by being perfect on our own, instead embracing that He, alone was perfect in our place and that now His power, working in us, will complete us and make us more like Him. All we have to do is ask and believe and continue to believe that “He who has begun a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the Day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
When we ask Jesus to take our sins away and to come into our lives, God allows Him to send His Holy Spirit (John 14:26) to live in us, to gently change our hearts, to guide and comfort us the rest of our lives here. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. We will never be alone. Can you think of any better news than that?
As this truth becomes real in our lives, we step off the perfectionism treadmill and begin living a life of love, giving to others as has been given to us. This new life naturally produces such a sense of peace and gratitude towards God, that our relationship with Him and others begins to grow closer and closer each day.
So, who is Jesus? He’s simply everything we’re not and everything we need.