God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Here are some expanded notes from a chapel message that I delivered at Karios Prison Ministry at the Carol Vance Unit in Richmond, TX. I continue to use this message in evangelism, teaching, pastoral and prison work.
We’ve been talking a lot about Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him. That’s our only secure foundation, a genuine, deep connection to Christ by faith. Faith is a living, daring confidence in God, so sure and certain that we can stake our life on Him a thousand times. Only Jesus will carry us through the trials and troubles of this life and into the world to come. No matter what wrong we have done or right things we failed to do, Christ will receive us. No matter what storms rage all around us, we will stand firm only if we stand on Jesus the Solid Rock. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life.”1
But many people don’t know who Christ really is. So let me remind us.
Who is Jesus?
Christ my Lord is the Son of God who became a man in order to make us God’s sons and daughters! He really lived in Israel in the Middle East over 2,000 years ago. He was really executed, buried, and was raised to life with the same body and soul as He had lived in for 33 years. If you were there, you could’ve made videos of all Christ’s life events. My Jesus is not a character in a fictional story. He is fully God and fully man in one true person and He lived in human history.
Socrates and Plato were famous Greek philosophers 400 years before Christ. Julius and Augustus Caesar were famous Roman emperors. And most history books admit that Jesus is as just as real as the Caesars and the philosophers. Even people who don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God acknowledge that He really lived. Jewish and Roman historians from the 1st century record the facts of Christ’s existence. He was a living man, born of Mary in Bethlehem, spending most of His life in Galilee. Jesus was a carpenter and He may have also worked with stone, iron, and copper. He was like us in every way, except that Christ never sinned, because He was the Son of God, sent by God the Father to save us.
Christ is the most unique person in history. No one can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth. (H. G. Wells)
Jesus is more than a fact of history. He is the grand supernatural fact of history, the eternal Christ. (Calvin K. Cummings)
My Jesus is different from every other historical person. He is the only one of His kind. Christ rose from the grave and still lives and rules on heaven’s throne, so that we can know Him, love Him, follow Him, and pray to Him today. That’s the good news that we tell to anybody who will listen.
Why Did Jesus Come?
Remember, human beings didn’t evolve from monkeys, fish, or something else. God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) lovingly created us in His image and likeness. The Lord made Adam and Eve and all of us to be living beings He could love and have as friends. God wanted us to trust and obey Him freely, not like robots or puppets. So the Lord gave the first human beings freedom of choice. But you know that it all went wrong. Adam was the head of the human family and he rebelled against the Lord and dragged us down too. From then on, all human beings are sinful and separated from God. And we started making bad choices. We choose ways that seem right to us, but they all end in death.2
Lazarus Spengler’s hymn says:
All mankind fell in Adam’s fall;
One common sin infects us all.
From one to all the curse descends,
And over all God’s wrath impends (is near).
After Adam’s rebellion, the Lord lovingly sent Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets to call us back home to God. But we (the human race) didn’t listen. So the Lord decided to come down Himself in Jesus, a way we could see, hear, feel, and understand. God the Son came down as a flesh and blood man. My Jesus is called Immanuel, meaning God with us. He reminds us who we are and whose we are. Christ calls us back to His Father’s love, care, salvation, and forgiveness. Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”3
Jesus Is The Sinless Savior
Christ came as the Last Adam, the new Head of a new humanity of God followers. He came to do what the first Adam failed to do. Christ is fully human like us, except that He never did any wrong against God or anyone else. He always did what is good, right, just, and fair. My Jesus always loved God and all human beings with His thoughts, words, and deeds. At our best, we are still flawed and imperfect people, but Christ was morally pure. He was full of grace and truth and lived out what He taught. My perfect Jesus took the blame and was made the sin bearer, the substitute, for us. He intercepted the wrath of God. No wonder people were delighted by Jesus. I am still captivated by Christ when I read the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
Spengler’s hymn continues:
Christ, the second Adam, came
To bear our sin and woe and shame,
To be our life, our light, our way,
Our only hope, our only stay.
Now God offers salvation to every individual, no matter how much bad we have done. The Lord’s salvation comes through believing in Jesus. No amount of good works can ever be enough to win God’s approval. Scripture says: Whoever calls on the name of the Lord in prayer will be saved.4
To be continued.
Notes (various Bible translations used): 1 John 3:16. 2 Prov 14:12. 3 John 5:24. 4 Rom 10:13.