The Jesus Story
If you search the internet, you’ll find different websites that say different things about Jesus Christ. But here at FaithFuel we firmly believe that Jesus was, and is, the Son of God. The Bible tells us that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and that He was fully God and fully man both at the same time.
Jesus lived and died in 1st Century Israel, and began His ministry at the age of 30. He was baptised in the River Jordan by His cousin John the Baptiser, and after this, He spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. After that, Jesus called a number of men to follow Him and become His disciples.
Jesus taught in the Synagogues (Jewish Temples) and in the countryside, and great crowds of people gathered to hear Him teach. He performed miracles – such as the feeding of the Five Thousand (See Matthew 14:13-21) – healed the sick – such as a man who had been blind from birth (See John 9:1-12) – cast out demons – such as the man known as Legion (See Mark 5:1-20) – and even walked on water (See Mark 6:45-52).
As a human, Jesus experienced the full range of human emotions – He wept when Lazarus died, He delighted in little children, He got angry in the Temple, and He experienced fear in the Garden of Gethsemane. He experienced those things so that we might know that He understands every emotion that we feel, that we might know that He understands, truly, how it feels to be human.
The Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus because they felt threatened by Him. But Jesus – as God – knew what had to happen. The week before the Jewish festival of Passover began, Jesus and His disciples went to Jerusalem. The people welcomed them. Jesus and His disciples shared a meal together for Passover, the meal that you might hear referred to as the Last Supper. During the meal, Jesus told the gathered disciples that one of them (it was Judas, but Jesus didn’t reveal to the others who it would be) would betray Him to the Jewish leaders. Then, Jesus broke bread, blessed it and said that the bread represented His body, broken for them (and us!). He took wine, blessed that, and said that the wine represented His blood, poured out for our sins.
Jesus later went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He experienced real human fear, knowing what was going to happen to Him, but yet chose to suffer so that we could have an intimate relationship with God.
Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins, and Jesus was arrested. Peter, the disciple that Jesus had said would be the rock on which He would build the church (and also the disciple Jesus said would deny Him three times) wanted to defend Jesus. He cut off a soldier’s ear with a sword, but Jesus healed the soldier’s ear. At that point, all the disciples ran away so that they wouldn’t be arrested, too.
Jesus never actually said that He was the Son of God using those exact words (He called Himself the ‘Son of Man’) but He didn’t deny it when He was accused of being the Son of God. The Jewish leaders said He was blaspheming and brought Jesus before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor at the time. Pilate couldn’t find Jesus guilty of anything – nor could King Herod – but the Jewish people, who had welcomed Jesus so warmly into the city the week before, were in a frenzy, chanting for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate had Jesus flogged brutally, and then he asked the Jewish people a question. He could release one prisoner because it was the Passover – and the choice was between Barabbas, a murderer, or Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. The people chose Barabbas to be released, and Jesus was handed over to be crucified.
Jesus was beaten, humiliated, stripped naked, made to wear a crown of thorns, and nailed to a cross. He endured hours of pain, of people jeering and mocking and spitting at Him. Because He was fully God, at any time He could have stopped what was happening to Him, but He didn’t. He chose to suffer. He chose to die on the cross.
Why? People all over the world who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour ask that question time and time again. Why would He choose to suffer? Why would He choose humiliation, pain and death? To the human mind, it seems ludicrous! No one would choose that kind of suffering. But Jesus did. And there is one simple answer to that prevailing, “why?”.
Because HE LOVES US
Let me say that again. Jesus was prepared to suffer all that He did in human flesh because He loves us. Not ‘loved’ in the past tense, but ‘loves’ in the present tense. Jesus died 2000 years ago to pay the price for my sins, your sins, and for the sins of generations past, present and future.
The pain, humiliation and suffering that Jesus endured on the cross was to pay the price for the things that man does that angers God. Jesus took the full force of God’s anger so that we wouldn’t have to. He sacrificed Himself to save us from that kind of suffering.
When Jesus hung on the cross, it went dark for three hours in the middle of the day = that was how angry God was because of the way mankind was behaving. And when Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple ripped in half from top to bottom. That was really important, because the curtain had separated the ordinary Jewish people from getting close to the Holy of Holies in the Temple – symbolic of being able to get close to God. Jesus’ death meant that all people, not just Jews, could have a close, intimate relationship with God – the relationship of Father and Child.
In the moments before He died, Jesus cried out three words: ‘It is finished!” That meant that He had borne all our sins, paid the price necessary for our righteousness, and enabled us to receive forgiveness from God.
There’s a catch, of course. The forgiveness of sin extends to all – who believe. The freedom of forgiveness, the freedom of eternal life extends to all – who believe. There needs to be belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as our Saviour, if we are to receive the gifts from God that Jesus bought for us with His blood on the cross. We need to believe that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God, that He was fully man and fully God, that He lived, that He died for our sins, that He is the Saviour of humanity. My Saviour. Your Saviour.
There’s one more part to the story. Jesus was buried in a tomb, and a stone was rolled over the entrance. On the third day, Mary Magdalene and some other women went to the tomb, only to find it empty. Jesus, the Son of God, had risen from the dead, just as He had said that He would. Death could not hold Him. Death had been defeated. He appeared to the disciples, even allowing Thomas, who doubted the others when they told him they’d seen Jesus, to place his fingers in the holes in His body. And then, after spending some more time with the disciples, Jesus ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. He left with a promise – that those who believe in Him and both trust and obey Him as their Lord and Saviour would have the same resurrection into eternal life in Heaven.