Are you new to Jesus?
Let’s start at the beginning. If you're reading this, you're probably new to Jesus. When you meet someone for the first time, you get caught between wanting to be open to all the possibilities of who that person may be and all the assumptions you make about everything you've been told about them.
If you’ve never met Jesus before, you’ve probably heard stuff about him or about people who know him. Maybe someone gave you a book and told you that everything you can know about him is in that book. What Christ-followers call The Bible is really a compilation of things people wrote about regarding how God has worked with people from the beginning of recorded time until about a hundred years after Jesus came.
Did you ever get to know someone by reading about them? In the Facebook age, it is more likely you think that's possible. But it isn't. To know someone you have to meet them personally. Whether you've read any part of the Bible or not, you’ve already formed an opinion about Jesus, based on what you’ve heard or read. Right? But reading about him isn't the same thing as knowing him.
How can you know someone who lived between 4 BC and 30 AD? What you've probably heard about Jesus is that he talked a lot about God and that common people came in droves to listen to him. Some said he could heal diseases. He lived in the area that is now Israel. He was active speaking in public and doing a lot of things you might call miracles for about three years at the end of his life. No one really knows what he did before that. His father was a carpenter. He may have done that for a while. By the time he was thirty, people called him a rabbi (that’s Jewish for “teacher”). That may mean he spent his time studying, more than anything else. By around 30 AD, his teaching became so unpopular with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem that they brought charges against him and conspired with the ruling Roman authorities to have him put to death by nailing him to a wood scaffold. That was a particularly painful way the early Romans had of killing political prisoners.
Does this begin to sound like a history lesson? This would be nothing more than a history lesson if it weren’t for two things. First, Jesus said he was God. People regularly fell down on their hands and knees and worshipped him – and he let them. Second, he told the people who brought him to trial that if they killed him he would come back from the dead three days later. If all that is true… could it be he actually is God? If he is alive -- if he is the one person who never died and then stayed dead, could it be that people who say they know him today actually do?
There wouldn’t be anyone to know if all this was just a history lesson. You can’t know George Washington or William Shakespeare or Julius Caesar. They died and stayed dead. All you can do is learn about them. But you can know the friend you meet on Facebook. They're alive somewhere. If Jesus is God, he can be known because he didn't stay dead.
Jesus said, “I will be with you always, until the end of the age." This First Century man is telling Twenty-First Century people we can know him now. There's more that probably keeps you from knowing him than just not knowing his Web address, but that's not because there's some trick or secret code you need to know. Most people find it hard to say "I need help." That's why people came to Jesus in the First Century, and that's why people come to Jesus today.
There's a lot more to say. If you’re new to Jesus, we’d be glad to introduce you to the man who is God, the God who became a man.
Give us a call anytime (860-688-2014).