There were also times when God's ANGER blazed through Jesus, the Living Word, against pretense and hypocrisy. He told the self-righteous leaders of the ruling religious hierarchy of His day, "If I had not come and spoken unto you, you would not be guilty of sin, but now I have come and EXPOSED you, so you have no covering for your sin!"--John 15:22.
Actually, most of the time He had very little to do with the lofty, rich-robed, powerful and wealthy religious leaders, the Scribes and the Pharisees.--Except when they insisted on annoying Him and raising critical questions, doubts and accusations among those He was teaching. Then He unleashed scathing rebukes against them, publicly exposing them as the "blind leaders of the blind" that they were (Matthew 15:14), even telling them on occasion that they were like "whitewashed SEPULCHRES, tombs, which, although they appeared beautiful, clean and holy OUTWARDLY, were full of rottenness, corruption and stinking dead men's bones WITHIN!"--Matthew 23:27,28. These religious leaders considered themselves to be the most "righteous and holy" people in town, but Jesus exposed them for the hypocrites, liars, robbers and cheaters of the poor that they were, which of course infuriated them.
But most of the time Jesus avoided the self-satisfied religionists, and spent His time helping and loving the poor, the common man, speaking to them, healing them, feeding them and most importantly, giving them the spiritual answers, Love, forgiveness and Truth that they longed for.
The Bible says that He mingled with and preached to the fishermen, drunks, prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners, and "the COMMON people heard Him GLADLY."--Mark 12:37. But when He went into the temple and gave His message to the RELIGIOUS leaders, they mobbed Him, threw Him out and finally crucified Him!
WHY DID THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF HIS OWN PEOPLE REJECT HIM?
Jesus' message that all that the people had to do was to simply "love God with all their heart, and love their neighbour as themselves" (Matthew 22:37-39), LIBERATED them from the dictatorial stranglehold and control that their religious leaders held over them. His teachings snatched the people out from under the established religion's control, a development that filled the religious leaders with fear and envy. They reasoned, "If we let Him alone, ALL men will believe on Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our influence!"--John 11:47,48.
These bitter religious foes finally had Jesus arrested and brought to trial on false charges of sedition and subversion. Although the Roman governor found Him innocent, he was pressured and persuaded by the influential High Priests to execute Him. When Jesus' enemies came to arrest Him, He assured His disciples, "They couldn't even TOUCH Me without My Father's permission! If I would but raise My little finger, He would send tens of thousands of angels to rescue Me!"--Matthew 26:53.--But instead, He CHOSE to die.--For you and me! Nobody TOOK His life from Him, He laid it down, He GAVE His life of His Own free will and accord.--See John 10:11, 17,18.
But even His death did not satisfy His bitter and vengeful enemies! To ensure that His followers couldn't steal His body and claim He had risen from the dead--as He had said He would--these false religious leaders had a huge stone placed over the entrance to His tomb, and posted a group of Roman soldiers there to guard it.--A scheme that proved futile, as these same guards became eyewitnesses to the greatest miracle of all.--Three days after His lifeless body was laid to rest in that cold tomb, He AROSE from the dead, victoriously conquering death and Hell and the grave!
In the same text of the Bible where we read the story of His life on Earth, we also find many specific, definite claims that Jesus made regarding Himself.--Claims that you can take at face value and put to the TEST right now. Here are a few examples in Jesus' Own Words:
"I am the LIGHT of the World. He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life."--John 8:12. All of us have had the experience of being caught in the dark before and wishing we had a light so we could see, so we could make our way safely past any dangers, avoid any falls etc. Well, spiritually speaking, when we do not know God and are out of fellowship with Him, we are in SPIRITUAL darkness.
Would you like to get RID of all the darkness in your life? Just like turning a light on immediately chases all of the darkness out of a blackened room, so Jesus will chase all of the SPIRITUAL darkness, oppression, fear and evil out of your life if you will just ask Him to come into your heart! Once you have received the "Light of the World"--Jesus--into your heart, all of the powers of evil and the dark experiences of life will never be able to quench it!
"ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth!"--Matthew 28:18.
The Devil and all of his evil spirits TREMBLE at even the NAME of Jesus! All you need to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart, then you've got the greatest, most powerful spiritual Force of ALL with you.--He is your FRIEND, He LOVES you and wants to HELP you and fill your soul with His Light!
"I am the DOOR, by Me, if any man enter in, he shall be SAVED."--John 10:9.
He is not a closed or locked door that you must try to force open or work hard to enter.--He's an OPEN door! All you have to do is walk through Him and thereby freely enter God's Heavenly Kingdom of Love and Light! If you come to Jesus, He will give you His FREE GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE, and you will KNOW that you belong to Him and are going to Heaven! There are MILLIONS of people alive today who can testify with certainty that this claim of His is TRUE!
"I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE, HE THAT COMES TO ME SHALL NEVER HUNGER, AND HE THAT BELIEVES ON ME SHALL NEVER THIRST."--JOHN 6:35.
Deep in their hearts, most people know that something is missing in their lives. Outwardly they may seem to have everything--money, position, friends etc., all the things that are SUPPOSED to make them happy--yet they still have an emptiness, a hunger that nothing really satisfies.
Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life Who would completely FULFIL our heart's "hunger and thirst." You can find out if this claim is true by simply asking Him to come into your life. See how quickly His Love can SATISFY your hungry heart!--The loneliness, emptiness and dissatisfaction you may have experienced will be replaced with lasting happiness, peace and joy such as you have never known before!
"I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.--No man comes unto the Father except by ME."--John 14:6.
This is an extraordinary claim, and is in fact the heart and soul of the writings of the New Testament.--That Jesus alone is the way to Eternal Life, Salvation and union with God.
Quite the contrary, Jesus and His life and teachings are absolutely UNIVERSAL, open to ALL men, and are anything BUT "narrow-minded" or "bigoted"! In fact, it was Jesus' proclamation that "WHOEVER believes in Me shall not perish!," that so infuriated the closed-minded and racially-prejudiced religious leaders and rabbis of His Own Jewish religion! Jesus frequently helped and mingled with so-called "pagan" Gentiles, those whom His Own Jewish people had been taught by their leaders to DESPISE and look down upon.
The religious leaders and teachers of Jesus' day were narrow-minded in every sense of the word. They were sour, intolerant and legalistic, and felt that they alone had an absolute monopoly on God and His Kingdom. It was the fact that Jesus told them to their faces that the Kingdom of God would be taken FROM them and opened up to OTHERS--to nations from the EAST and from the WEST, to ALL people throughout the entire World--that infuriated them so much that they determined to destroy Him.--Matthew 8:11,12; 21:42,43.
God sent us His Son to show ALL men, ALL nations, ALL people, what He Himself is like, to freely bring us His Own great Love! "For God so LOVED the WORLD (you and me) that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), so that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE."--John 3:16.
If Jesus IS God's Son, and God chose Jesus to reveal Himself to the World, then God Himself has insisted on it! These are GOD'S conditions, not ours: "Love ME, love My SON!" The Bible says, "All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father Who SENT Him."--John 5:23.
God is our great, kind and loving Heavenly Father, and He LOVES each of us very much. And He wants us all to experience and know the wonderful Love, joy and satisfaction that comes from personally knowing and being close friends with Him.
But sad to say, all of us have done wrong at one time or another, and have been selfish, unloving or unkind to others.--Or even to HIM, our Heavenly Father! He tells us in His Word, "ALL have missed the mark and have fallen short of the perfection of God.--Romans 3:23.
God knows that no matter HOW hard we try to be good, none of us can ever be good enough to come into His perfect presence through our OWN self-goodness. But Jesus IS perfect. And because He was willing to come to Earth and suffer and die on the cross FOR us, to take the punishment that we deserve for our wrong-doings, we can be FORGIVEN for all our failings and be reunited with our great and loving Heavenly Father if we will simply accept Jesus' pardon and Gift of Eternal Life!
It doesn't matter HOW bad we are, no matter WHAT we've done, if we will simply ask Jesus to forgive us and receive Him into our heart, we will be forgiven and SAVED.--Which means we will not only know God's wonderful Love and peace HERE and NOW, but when we DIE, we will inherit a never-ending life of Love and happiness in HEAVEN forever!
No mere mortal MAN, be he prophet or teacher, sage or guru, could possibly do what JESUS did!--Only God Himself in the person of His Own Son could pay the price for our failings, and take the punishment that WE deserve. Only GOD could have done that in the person of His Son Jesus. THIS is why Jesus alone could rightfully proclaim Himself to be "the Way, the Truth and the Life."
There is simply no other way to make peace with God. He will not accept any other terms, any other deal. In Jesus, the one thing that NEEDED to happen for Mankind HAPPENED in such a way that it never needs to happen again! It is for this reason that we can claim with certainty that for the greatest ailment of humanity there is only one specific remedy.--JESUS!
If many different groups of pathologists were all earnestly seeking to discover the cause and cure of cancer, and one group--through no brilliance of their own--were to discover the secret, would it be "narrow-mindedness" or "bigotry" for them to share what they had found with all the other groups, and indeed with the entire World?--Of course not! In fact, it would be the utmost folly, selfishness, lack of love and dishonesty were they to keep the secret to themselves!--This is why we who have personally found Jesus, do all we can to share Him with others.
Millions of INDIVIDUALS through the ages have come to personally know and love Jesus, and have been empowered by Him to lead wonderful lives of love and service to their fellow man. But sad to say, generally speaking, Christianity as an INSTITUTION has FAILED MISERABLY in fulfilling the mission that Jesus gave His original Apostles and followers: To share God's LOVE with a needy World!
Most so-called "Christian" organisations and denominations have become so preoccupied with their internal squabbles, selfish accumulation of wealth, construction of elaborate and wasteful church buildings etc. that they have in effect forgotten and lost sight of Jesus' original command to "LOVE thy neighbour as thyself!"
Our objective is not to persuade you to become a member of a religious organisation.--JESUS is not a religion! In fact, Jesus Himself never actually started any denominations or hierarchical organisations! He simply went about doing good, helping people and sharing the Love of God with all whom He could. He never had a synagogue, mosque, church or temple of any kind, nor did He have a congregation whom He met with on a certain "holy day" of the week.
He never put up a sign or advertised, "Come to My church on Holy day!" He only said, "Come unto ME!"--Matthew 11:28. He absolutely refused to compromise with the powerful and corrupt religious system of His day, but rather worked totally OUTSIDE of it, reaching and sharing His Love and Truth with the poor and common folk who had long ago abandoned and been abandoned by organised religion.
Once, while speaking to a woman who was arguing with Him over whether God should be worshipped in a certain "holy" mountain in Samaria, or in the Jews' temple in Jerusalem, He answered her, "The day is coming, and NOW IS, when you shall neither worship God here upon this mountain not yet at Jerusalem. For they that worship God must worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.--For the Father seeks such to worship Him!"--John 4:21-23. Jesus made it clear that forms and ceremonies, rituals and religious buildings were in no way necessary to worship God, but that we could simply love and worship Him in SPIRIT, in our HEARTS and in TRUTH, by following the light of His Word.
We have touched on several features of Jesus' life that could perhaps assist or inspire your faith. As mentioned earlier, the historical facts regarding Jesus of Nazareth cannot be denied by anyone who seriously and open-mindedly examines the facts.
The fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament prophecies given many centuries before He was born, describing in detail His birth, His life, His work, His death and His resurrection, also cannot be denied by any sincere seeker of truth.
There is also no reason to doubt that after His death, something incredible happened which transformed His tiny band of dejected followers into a company of witnesses whom all the persecution of Imperial Rome could not stop. Downhearted and discouraged, their Lord cruelly crucified by His enemies, it looked to those disciples like their hopes had died and their dreams were shattered.
But three days after Jesus' death, their faith was rekindled in such a dramatic manner that no force on Earth was ever able to quench it! And that lowly handful of His original followers went on to tell the entire WORLD the Good News!--That God not only sent His Son into the World to teach us His Truth and show us His Love, but also that Jesus suffered death for OUR sake, and then ROSE from the GRAVE!--So that we who know and believe on Him never need to fear death again, for we are saved and on our way to HEAVEN, thanks to Jesus!
The New Testament tells us that Jesus personally appeared to over 500 EYEWITNESSES after His resurrection.--1Corinthians 15:6. This was the resounding message that His first disciples boldly proclaimed throughout the World, "God RAISED Him from the dead!"--Acts 13:30.
A mere MENTAL, intellectual acceptance of these facts is not enough. For you to be absolutely CERTAIN that Jesus is Who He claimed to be, the Son of God, you simply need to personally TRY Him! Ask Him to come into your heart, forgive you for all the wrong you've done, and fill your life with His Love, peace and joy.--And He WILL! He says in His Word, "Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door I WILL come into you."--Revelation 3:20. You don't have to try to figure Him out, just let Him IN!
If you want His Love, light, life, joy, eternal happiness and Salvation, all you have to do is personally receive Him into your heart.--You can do it this very moment! He's made Salvation the EASIEST thing in the World, it requires absolutely no effort on your part whatsoever, no work, nothing, you simply have to RECEIVE it. And even if you don't understand it all, the Bible says that God's Love is "Love which PASSES your own understanding."--Ephesians 3:19. You don't have to UNDERSTAND God in order to RECEIVE His Love!
Will YOU receive Him?--If so, He will be the most precious One in your life!--Your closest Friend and Companion Who will be with you ALWAYS! Receive Him now by simply praying this little prayer:
"Dear Jesus, I know that I need help and that I can't save myself. I have heard that You are the Son of God, and that through You I can personally find and know the God of Love. Jesus, I need Your Love to cleanse me from all fear and hate. I need Your Light to drive away all darkness. And I need Your Peace to fill and satisfy my heart. So I now open the door of my heart, and I ask You, Jesus, to please come in and give me Your free gift of Eternal Life! Thank You, Jesus, for suffering for all of the wrong I have done and for forgiving me and hearing my prayer! In Jesus' name, amen."
The Bible not only contains hundreds of predictions about Jesus' FIRST coming, but it contains even MORE prophecies regarding His SECOND COMING, when He will return to Earth, not as a meek and mild baby in a manger, but as the Mighty KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS that He is!--Who will take over this World by force and put an END to Man's cruel and chaotic reign! He promised, "I will come AGAIN!--In the clouds of Heaven with POWER and great MAJESTY!"--John 14:3; Luke 21:27.
Jesus gave us many "Signs of the Times," SIGNS that we should be aware of, so that we will know when He is about to return. He predicted that just before His Coming, there will be a dramatic increase in "FAMINES, PESTILENCES and EARTHQUAKES in various places," and that the "GOSPEL would be preached in ALL the World for a witness to ALL nations."--Matthew 24:7,14.--Just as it is TODAY! He also said there would be a drastic increase in INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, with "MANY running TO AND FRO, wandering from SEA TO SEA, as KNOWLEDGE is greatly INCREASED!"--Amos 8:11,12; Daniel 12:4.
He also said that there would be "a GREAT FALLING AWAY from the Lord as evil men and seducers grow WORSE AND WORSE, deceiving MANY, with the love of many growing cold," resulting in "DISTRESS of nations upon the Earth and MEN'S HEARTS FAILING them for FEAR!"--2Thessalonians 2:3; 2Timothy 3:13; Matthew 24:12; Luke 21:25,26.--Signs which are ALL obviously being FULFILLED TODAY more than ever before!
Are YOU READY for the "End of the World" as we now know it, and for Jesus' soon return to establish His Kingdom of Love upon Earth?--If NOT, receive Him into your heart TODAY!--TOMORROW may be TOO LATE!
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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