You will learn following topics in this lesson:
Jesus, an Extraordinary Person
Do all roads lead to the same place?
How can I receive Salvation?
These and many other questions of similar nature will be answered in this lesson.
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All over the world people have heard of Jesus Christ. His is the most famous name in the world and in all of history. In every country there are followers of Jesus and there are millions of churches around the world where people who follow Jesus gather each week to worship Him and to learn about Him. Our modern calendar is based on His birth, and more songs, books, and paintings have been made about Him than about anyone else in the history of the world.
In reality, who was Jesus? Some people believe that Shiva, Krishna, Jesus, Saya Baba, Mohammad, and many others are all incarnations or manifestations of the one and same God. These people believe that the same God appeared in many different forms at different times in history and therefore all religions are really the same. These people says that all roads lead to the same place, there are just different ways of going. In other words, it doesn’t matter how you follow God or which god you follow, for in reality they are really all one and the same. If this thinking is true, then Jesus is not different any others god in history, and the God of the Bible is the same as all other gods…there is no difference. But, are they all one and the same? If you will honestly look at some facts, you will realize that there are too many differences in God’s character, teachings, works, miracles, historical facts, etc. for us to say that all gods are the same and that Jesus is no different other gods. Let us just look a little at the Bible’s teachings and Jesus’ life and teachings and you will understand what some of those differences are and that Jesus cannot be the same as Mohammed or Krishna, or any other gods in any other age.
By studying about Him, it is easy to see that Jesus was different from all others. First of all it is important to know that though He was born just over two thousand years ago, Jesus actually existed before His Birth. How can that be? Jesus was the same God who created us and who existed before the earth, sun, moon, and stars came into existence. At the appointed time in history, when the time was right, God came to earth in the from of a man. He come with one great purpose, that was to bring salvation to mankind. Can you imagine our Creator, the perfect, all-powerful God leaving heaven in order to come to this sin-filled earth to bring salvation to mankind? What love He has for man! This man’s name was Jesus Christ. ”Jesus” means ”Saviour” and ”Christ” means ”Anointed One” or ”Chosen One”. He was ”chosen” to bring salvation to all men.
Over a period of thousands of years, holy prophets had been prophesying concerning His birth. The prophecies were fulfilled exactly. The time and place of His birth was foretold over 700 years before. As it had been prophesied, He was born of a virgin whose name was Mary. While this was impossible with men, it was possible for God! At the time of His Birth, angels appeared and announced that He was the Saviour of men. When He was 30 years old He began His public ministry. At that time, God spoke from heaven and announced that Jesus was the Son of God. This actually meant that Jesus Himself is God.
In those days a prophet named John began preaching widely, commanding men to repent from their sins, and to turn to God. One day, when the God-sent prophet, John, saw Jesus coming towards him, he said, ”Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” prophets were those who revealed mysteries from God, and foretold future events beforehand. The prophet John had been especially chosen and sent by God to reveal mysteries from God to men. According to his testimony, Jesus had come as the Lamb of God. In order to understand this truth, it is necessary to understand what God had previously said in His Word about sacrificing a lamb.
Since the fall of man into sin, God provided for man a way for the forgiveness of sins. Man had to prepare a spotless lamb, place his hand upon the lamb, and confess his sins. Then the lamb had to be sacrificed. God promised to spare the sinner from punishment because of the sacrifice. The Redeemer to come was Jesus. He was the true Lamb of God. He was the Saviour Who came in order to die sacrificially for the sins of mankind.
Hearing His teachings, thousands of people followed after Jesus. These people saw that Jesus was different than any others and could do things that no other man had ever done. His teaching was different, too. In contrast to others, Jesus taught with authority. He said, ”I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). This means that Jesus is the one and only person who can give light to people who are under spiritual darkness in this world. People who follow Jesus receive the true light of life. We can find deliverance and peace in Jesus alone.
Jesus also said something else that is very, very important for us to remember. He said, ”I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh into the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). people claim that there are many ways. Jesus said here that He is the only way to God… there is no other way. People say that all religion teachings are truth. Jesus said He Himself is the truth, and He meant here that He is the only truth. The Bible never teaches that there are many ways and many truths, rather it teaches that there is only one way and one truth. Thus, we see that Jesus declared that He only is the Saviour of the world and the only one Who can give eternal life of people.
What about the works of Jesus? While He was on this earth, were His activities just like any other man? Was He like many of the gods that have appeared through history, or was He different? Learn what Jesus did and then decide for yourself whether He was different from all others or not.
Jesus was mighty in His works, and all the works He did benefited man in one way or another. They were not useless works that did no good for anyone. Jesus caused men who were born blind to see. He made the dumb to speak. He made the deaf to hear. Without taking people to a hospital, or doing any mantra, or using any medicine…..by His own power alone He was able to do these amazing miracles. He healed hands that were dried up with paralysis. He gave the lame strong and healthy legs to walk. He removed many others sickness from men .In fact, He had authority over all sickness and could heal ANY sickness by His own power. Since the creation of the world, no one else has been able to do the miracles that Jesus did.
Jesus also expelled demons out of men. He gave complete deliverance to those who were in bondage to Satan. He had authority over Satan as well as sicknesses.
Jesus also proved over and over again that He had authority over nature. Can you stop the Wind from blowing? Once when Jesus and His disciples were in a boat going across a sea, a huge wind began to blow. The waves on the sea rose higher and higher and it seemed as if the boat would sink and all would die. Then Jesus stood up and told the wind to stop and immediately the wind quit blowing and the sea was clam. What an amazing miracle this was! Even the wind and the sea were in Jesus’ control! Another time when Jesus’ disciples were out in a boat on the sea, Jesus went walking on the water out to meet His disciples in the boat. From man, it is impossible to walk on water, but nothing is impossible for God.
How many people have you seen raised from the dead? No doctor or sadhu or yogi can raise people from the dead. Yet, Jesus raised to life a twelve years old girl who was already dead. He didn’t use medicine or magic or anything but His own word and power to raise this young girl from the dead.
One day Jesus saw a widow woman weeping because her son had died. The body of her son was being taken for burial, but it was never buried because, in love, Jesus raised the boy to life!
Jesus made alive from the dead an adult man named Lazarus even after his body had been buried for four days. All of these miracles show clearly that Jesus had authority over death. This is one of many proofs that Jesus was the true God who created the world and anything in the world. Only God Himself can have victory over death. These works all prove that Jesus’ words are true. He is the only unique Saviour and Lord of the world. Through His works Jesus proved He was the creator God.
When we look at the people around us, what do we see? We see people who lie, cheat, deceive, get anger, are greedy, are vain, etc. We see people who love themselves more than they love God, and who care about their own troubles but do not care about the troubles of others. We can also see people who do many good works, but even these people are not perfect and without sin. We cannot find a man who has not lied or who has never been proud and greedy. We also see that mankind makes many, many mistakes. Yet, when we examine Jesus’ life we do not see even one of these bad things. We never can find that Jesus did even one sin. Jesus was the only perfect man who ever lived on the earth. He never lied, or cheated, or deceived, or was greedy or vain. He never married and He never did adultery. He never made a mistake. He did only good for other people and showed His deep love for people by giving His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He took the punishment for the sins that we have done. He suffered for us. He was the only perfect person, because He was God in human form.
Some people ask, ”If Jesus was God, if He was the creator of the world, how could He be killed by others? How could God die?” We need to realize that Jesus willingly died on a cross. He died because an innocent sacrifice was needed to pay for our sin and He willingly became a sacrifice for you and for all people who will believe in Him and follow Him. He was the Lamb of God that was sent for the world.
Note: Jesus died after being beaten badly and then nailed to a cross. Nailing people to a cross was a very cruel method the Roman government had made to kill criminals. But Jesus was not a criminal. He had done nothing wrong.
Since man had sinned, and since the wages (or penalty) of sin is death, Jesus’ sacrificial death was absolutely necessary for the redemption of man. He died because of His love to us, and not because He had any sin. Jesus had no sin whatsoever. He never lied, He never was greed, He never thought a bad thought, etc. He was sinless and perfect.
Because they had become jealous of Jesus, the Jewish religious leaders had Jesus arrested with the help of the Roman police force in order to kill Him. The Jews arranged a mock tribunal, and, by setting up false witnesses against Him, they declared Him as worthy of the death penalty. Then they took Him to the Roman administrator, Governor Pilate, in order to have Him pass the final death sentence. Pilate, however, could find no fault in Jesus. He said that Jesus was innocent and not worthy of the death penalty. But the crowd of wicked people began to cry out and to demand Jesus’ death. Therefore, in order to please these wicked people, Pilate passed the death sentence and delivered Jesus over to the angry mob to be killed. The angry crowd made a mockery of Him. They falsely accused Him, spat upon Him, beat Him and finally put Him to death by hanging Him upon a cross. Still, amidst that awful agony of suffering, Jesus said, ”Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This was the prayer of the sinless Saviour who, by the sacrifice of Himself, paid the penalty of man’s sins and made a way for mankind to have a relationship with Almighty God. The sacrifice of Jesus satisfied God and in Him the way of acceptance for all was opened up. As a result, the wall of obstruction between us and God, caused by our sins, was broken down. Now, through Jesus, people can have their sins forgiven and have a clear relationship with God. No other god in any other religion loved people so much that they died for mankind. But there is something else that Jesus did that no one else has done.
Before Jesus died the sky became dark for three hours, from noon to three in the afternoon, and after this there was a powerful earthquake. These were sings from God that something very, very important was happening. Finally, after suffering an awful agony on the cross, Jesus died. Jesus, the saviour of the world, died. Why did He not save Himself? The Bible tell us He could have called thousand of angels to save Him, but He did not. He willingly gave His life to pay the penalty (debt) of our sins before God.
That very day the body of Jesus was taken and laid in a tomb which had been dug into a rock cliff. Though the Roman government knew that He had promised to rise from the dead on the third day after He died, they did not believe this could actually happen. Therefore, in order to make sure no one stole His body and then claimed He had risen from the dead, the government placed a large stone in front of the door of the tomb, sealed it with the Roman government seal, and then placed soldiers to guard the tomb day and night.
Think about it. Can man die and make himself alive again by his own power? Never! Can God be killed never to rise again? Of course not! That is impossible. God cannot be destroyed. So what happened to Jesus after He died? On the third day after the burial, some women went to the tomb of Jesus with good-smelling spices to embalm His body. Amazing events took place here. There appeared to them an angel, who, pointing to the empty tomb said, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen…” Jesus had risen from the dead by His own power! He had conquered death!
When Jesus rose from the dead, a great earthquake shook the place. The guards fell down as dead. Then Jesus began to appear in different places to different people. Some knew that He was alive. But since there were some who doubted, He had to give many proofs that He had actually risen from the dead. This continued for forty days as He showed Himself alive to many people in many different situations, teaching hundreds of people about the Kingdom of God.
Then, after appearing alive for forty days after His resurrection, right in front of several people who had gathered around Him, Jesus went up to Heaven. People saw Him go up with their own eyes. It was one of many miracles showing beyond doubt that He was, indeed, God Himself.
Other God and goddesses have died. Other religious leaders have died. But none of them ever rose again from the dead and proved that they had power over death. Only Jesus has done this miracle.
God has clearly shown up through His Word, the Bible, that all ways do NOT lead to the same place. The Bible says (in Proverbs 14:12), ” There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Have you ever thought about it this way…… the way you are going may actually be a false road that leads to destruction? All ways are not right ways. The Bible teaches (in Jeremiah 10:23) that, ” The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man… to direct his steps.” This teaches that man’s wisdom is not enough to make sure that he will go the right way. Think about it… if we disagree with this, then we are actually disagreeing with our Creator God. We must be very careful or we will mistakenly follow man’s teachings and traditions above God’s teachings. We would actually be believing that man’s thoughts and wisdom are greater than God’s. But that is impossible! God has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Do you feel safer following the ideas and traditions of men, which change through the ages and often prove mistaken? Or do you want to follow the teachings of the perfect God, who created all things and has all wisdom and Who never makes a mistake?
In several different Places the Bible shows clearly that God says there is a way of life and a way of death. This means, there is a right way and a wrong way in life…there is a way that leads to eternal death in hell. Do you know the difference? How do you know you are on the right road?
Salvation mans deliverance from the condemnation of sins, as a result of which a person escapes the punishment of God. Because every person has sinned, every person is in need of this salvation. In order to receive this salvation, a person must receive Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. It is by repenting from his sins and receiving Christ that a person becomes a child of God. The Bible says, “If thou shalt confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9,10). So you must first believe in your heart that you are a sinner who has sinned against a holy and righteous God. Then you must believe that God took on a human body and that He died as a sacrifice for your sins. You must personally believe in Him and Him alone and make Him your Lord and Saviour. But repentance must accompany faith. Therefore, repentance with faith is necessary for salvation. As the Bible says, “God… commandeth all men all men every where to repent”(Acts 17:30). Repentance is a change of mind that results in a changed life. It is a person turning from their own sinful way to God’s perfect way. For man to turn to God’s will by being sorry for all this sinful thoughts, words, and actions, there must first be a change in his heart. This is not a change of religion but a change life. So, turning from your sins, come to Jesus by trusting in Him for your salvation. Let the will of God be fulfilled in your life.