Who Is Jesus & Why Do We Trust Him?
There are a lot of claims about Jesus, just like there may be claims about you. The accuracy of which often depend on the angle the claim is taking.
Imagine where you live today vs where you grew up vs where you might have been born as they all relate to the question 'where you are from'. Sometimes all three can be answered with the same City. Other times, you may get a variety of answers and they all are technically correct, depending on the angle or context.
Being 'from' can specifically mean... where you were born. Or, it can mean where you live currently. Or, where you lived before. Or, where you 'grew up' ie. spent time in your youth.
It's this same thing that is happening when people say Jesus of __________ (Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem).
Imagine now you were born in City of Lexington in Kentucky. If you were having a conversation with people in Kentucky, you might just say 'Lexington'. But if you're having a conversation in South Carolina, you might add the state distinction because you're aware there is also a Lexington, SC.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, yes. More specifically, the one in Judea. There is more than one. In fact there is another in Galilee, which is why this topic sometimes gets confusing.
So, if Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, how could it also be true (or, why do people say) Jesus is also from Galilee?
As we began saying, 'from' doesn't always mean 'where you were born'. It can also mean where you grew up. We're told in the Gospels that Jesus grew up in Nazareth. A town in the region known as Galilee.
Recommended Study: Investigate all the places Jesus lived. You might learn some new things & it very well might help you appreciate the History of that region throughout the life of Christ, especially the political & religious influences that contributed to why moving was important.
You might be thinking December 25th in year 0 or something to that effect, but there are many factors we leave out by thinking about the topic in surface level terms.
Back then birth certificates were not the norm like they are today in our modern societies in the West. In fact, had it not been for the practice of Caesar Augustus to conduct a census from time to time, we'd know even less.
Having a record of the events around the time of Christ's birth at all is actually pretty special & worth considering as an example of God's provision & a sort of evidence regarding why Jesus & his time on earth is far more significant than just another Jew of the time period.
Key characters of the time period
Caesar Augustus (aka: Gaius Octavius; Octavian; Gaius Julius Caesar; Octavianus): reigned from 63 BC – 14 AD ~ 45 years, ordered the census to be taken of the entire Roman world (empire).
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world." (Luke 2:1 , NIV)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” - Romans 3:23
The world is full of brokenness, pain, and all you have to do is look at the daily news to see that there is something wrong (Romans 1:18-20); but you don’t even have to go that far, you can start with looking at yourself (Psalm 14:1-3). We are all guilty of some type of wrongdoing, and can each think of something we have done that was hurtful, from lying to cheating, to being mean to someone in what we have said or done. It is wrong; and we know it is wrong because we know how it feels to be the one who has been hurt. God knows that feeling too, because we have all committed wrong against Him. He is the Creator of the universe that has never done wrong to us and we have all turned from Him to our own selfish ways. That is sin.(Psalm 53:3) The punishment for sin is the brokenness we see in the world and ultimately death, leading to an everlasting punishment because of our wrongdoing against the eternal God.(Matthew 25:4; Romans 5:12)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 6:23
Our Redemption - JESUS
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16
God has an answer for our sin and the eternal punishment we deserve: Jesus Christ. From the very beginning God had planned to rescue His people from their sin, and from Genesis all the way to Revelation we see God’s promise of everlasting salvation to be accomplished by Himself. (Genesis 3:15; Exodus 12:1-13 & 1 Corinthians 5:7; Deuteronomy 18:15-19 & Acts 3:22; 2 Samuel 7:12-13 & Matthew 1:1, 22:41-45; Isaiah 9:6-7 & Luke 1:31-33; Isaiah 53 & Acts 2:22-24; Romans 4:25, 5:18-19; 1 Peter 2:24; Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; Acts 2:25-32; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Galatians 1:4; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 5:1; 1 John 4:10; Revelation 5:6-12)
God the Son took on flesh (Galatians 4:4-5; Colossians 1:19, 2:9), lived in perfect obedience and without sin (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; ), bore our punishment for our sins on the cross (Romans 8:3; Colossians 2:14), and on the third day rose from the dead. Through Jesus our punishment is paid, our sin is forgiven forever, and we will live with Him forever since He has conquered the grave, IF we believe in Him. (John 3:16 - see above)
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” - Romans 8:1
“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” - 1 John 5:11
Our Response - FAITH
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” - Mark 1:15
Jesus said it so clearly, “repent and believe in the gospel.” The “gospel” is the “good news” that Jesus came, died, and rose on the third day to save us from our sin, but we have to respond by “repenting” and “believing.” To repent means to turn away from sin and anything that is keeping you from God, and then to turn to Jesus and trust Him. We read in Romans 10:9 - “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Faith is believing the promises of Jesus, and trusting in Him fully. We cannot save ourselves, we need God, because we are dead without Him; and the truth is we do not deserve His salvation, that is why it is called GRACE -
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
Do you want to be saved?
First, do you recognize that you are a sinner who deserves God’s wrath forever? Second, do you want to turn away from your sin and the hopelessness that the world offers? Third, do you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son who was born, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for your sins, and rose from the dead on the third day? And do you trust Him as your Savior and Lord over your life?
If you answered “yes” to each of these, then you ARE SAVED! And we want to hear about it!
If you have any questions, then we want to hear from you, no matter where you are from!
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” - John 11:25-26