It is True and Everyone Ought to Know It (Orthodox)
Samenvatting: Long account of Jesus' life, ministry and teachings. Prayer to receive Christ and the blessings of Jesus in our life.
|Thema:||Resurrection of Jesus; Saviour of Sinful Men; Birth of Christ; Ascension; Prophecy, fulfillment of; Sacrifice / Atonement; Death of Christ; People of God; Bridges; Humility|
Dit script dient als basis voor de vertaling en het maken van opnames in een andere taal. Het moet aangepast worden aan de verschillende talen en culturen om het zo relevant mogelijk te maken. Sommige termen en begrippen moeten verder uitgelegd worden of zelfs weggelaten worden binnen bepaalde culturen.
Greetings to you, my friends. You do not know me but I want you to know that I am a friend who wants to talk to you as a true friend. I want to share some really good news with you. Please listen very carefully.
Perhaps you have sometimes asked yourselves questions like these: * I believe that there is a God, but does He care for me? * How can I know Him? Who can tell me? * How can I have my sins forgiven? * How can I have eternal life? In fact, will there be eternal life after death for me?
Well, my friends, I can tell you, and what I am going to tell you is true. It is found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God. Please listen to this message right to the end. You may find true happiness for your life.
You may say, "How can I find true happiness in my life? My heart has never known complete happiness. There is always an emptiness which is never satisfied." This is true of all people - for those who have all the pleasures and money and fame which the world can give, as well as those who are without. Why is this?
It is because the empty place in our hearts cannot be filled with "something"; it has to be filled by "someone." And that is God Himself. We need love more than anything else, and no one on earth can love us as He does. He expresses His love for us all through the Bible, which is truly God's message to man. The greatest way in which He has shown us His love is through His gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, verse 16, it is written: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
When God decided to send His Son Jesus into the world He chose a young virgin named Mary to be the earthly mother of Jesus. Mary was not the mother of the great eternal God Who created all things. She herself was a creation of God, another human being just like us. She was only chosen to be the mother of Jesus when He entered this world. In this way Jesus, the Son of God also became the Son of Man. No one has ever been born as He was. This is how it happened according to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, verses 18-25: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He Who will save His people from their sins.' Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled saying, 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, "God with us." ' And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."
When God created Adam, the first man, He created him from the dust of the ground. All of us are the descendants of Adam, including Mary, and so were all the prophets and apostles. We are of the earth, earthy. But Jesus Christ came down from heaven. Before He came, He was in God's presence. He was One with Him. He came from above to save us from our sins. In order to do this, He "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). It is He Who in the womb of the virgin Mary took on Himself the garments of humanity and was born as a man. Is there anyone else who has entered the world in this wonderful way?
Many good men have lived on earth, but when we study their lives carefully, we see that the holier they were the more conscious they were of their sinfulness, and therefore the more earnestly they prayed to God to forgive them. Prophets such as Abraham, David, and Isaiah, had to ask God for forgiveness. The apostle Peter himself once cried out to the Lord Jesus in shame, "Away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." As Peter saw the glory and holiness of Jesus, he realized how sinful his own heart was. The apostle Paul also called himself the worst of sinners. Only Jesus never once committed a sin or disobeyed God. He was sinless. On one occasion He said to his enemies, "Which of you convicts me of sin?" (John 8:46). Not one of them could point to a single sin in His life. Who of us would dare to make such a challenge to our enemies? Also His apostles who had lived close to Him for three years and knew Him intimately testified that Jesus was without sin. For example, the apostle Peter writes in his first epistle chapter 2, verses 22 and 25, "Christ committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten." And in Hebrews 7:26 it is written, "Jesus is holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners." No saint or religious leader who ever lived was without sin as Jesus was without sin. Therefore only Jesus, the perfect Holy and Righteous One, can be our advocate with God, the Father. There is no other mediator. Is it not wonderful that Jesus, the Son of God, came to become our Saviour and bring us back into fellowship with God?
When Jesus was on this earth, He was called the "friend of sinners." Every good man hates evil, and every pure man loathes anything unclean. And since Jesus was Himself sinless, it is certain that He hated sin. Therefore it would have been reasonable if He had removed Himself as far as possible from sinners. But in fact the very opposite was true! Instead of avoiding sinners He loved them and associated with them. He ate and talked with them, telling them of God's love for them, and when they repented of their sins, He received them with open arms. When the religious people criticized Him for doing this, He said to them, "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17). Is it not wonderful that Jesus, the Son of God, came to save sinners, even us?
Not only does Jesus love sinners, but He has power to forgive their sins. None of the great prophets or apostles whom God sent into the world had authority to forgive the sins of men. But when a man who was paralyzed was brought to Christ for healing, Jesus Christ first forgave the sins of this man and then healed him. At once some of the religious teachers who were present accused Jesus of blasphemy, saying that only God could forgive sins. Jesus Christ replied that He had authority on earth to forgive men's sins, and He at once proved His authority by also healing the sick man. You can read this true story in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 2. In the same way Jesus forgave a sinful woman who came to Him asking for forgiveness. When we sin we are sinning against God. It is our sin that separates us from the Holy God. Only God through Jesus Christ can forgive us. Is it not wonderful that God gave to Jesus the authority to forgive men's sins on earth?
Though some of the prophets such as Moses and Elijah had the power to perform miracles, no one ever performed so many and so great miracles as Christ. He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, cast out evil spirits, stilled the stormy sea, and even raised the dead to life. Seeing all these things, no wonder that "all men marvelled" (Mark 5:19). Indeed, Jesus the Son of God, was a most wonderful person.
Not only were His miracles wonderful, but also His teachings. When the people heard Him speak, they were amazed, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom?" (Matthew 13:54). Listen to some of His wonderful sayings which are recorded in the Gospels:
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).
"Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).
"If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39).
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them" (Matthew 7:12). "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave" (Matthew 29:26).
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you" (John 13:34).
When we hear these wonderful words we are also amazed and we say what some who heard Christ long ago said, "No man ever spoke like this man!" (John 7:46).
The whole life of Jesus on earth was a perfect example of humility and service. Though He was in very nature God, He made Himself nothing and became a servant of men. Any doctor who cures the sick may rightly accept payment from his patients and many doctors have thus become rich men. In the same way Jesus might have accepted gifts of gold or houses or lands from the people He healed, some of whom were wealthy. Many were no doubt eager to express in a suitable way their deep thankfulness to their Saviour. But Jesus never accepted any payment or any gift from those He had healed. Not only did He refuse gifts, He also refused a crown as King. For when He fed a great crowd of more than 5000 men, without counting the women and the children, with five loaves of bread and two fishes, the people wanted to take Him and make Him their king, but He would not accept, for His kingship was not material but spiritual. On the night before His death He washed the feet of His twelve apostles in order to give them an example of humility. And when He died He left no possessions except the clothes He was wearing which the soldiers who crucified Him took from His body. Is there any other more wonderful person who gave everything to others and never took anything for Himself?
Though Jesus only did good deeds and never committed sin, even once, one of His friends betrayed Him and sold Him for money to those who would not accept His holy and righteous teachings, because they were sinful men and did not want to repent from their evil ways.
So He was condemned to death. His hands and His feet were nailed on a wooden cross. How He was suffering! But as always, He thought of others first. He began by praying for His enemies, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." At mid-day, (noon) suddenly the sun was darkened. There was darkness all over the earth. This was the most terrible moment for Jesus: HE, the Just of God, was punished for all the unjust. By accepting to take our sins upon Him, He accepted to be punished by God in our place. He hung on the cross for six terrible hours. Then He cried out to God, and said, "Father into Thy hands I commit my spirit!" (Luke 23:46). And Jesus died. No wonder the officer standing there by the cross marvelled at the manner of Jesus' death. After Jesus died His body was taken down off the cross. It was wrapped in linen and put in a tomb.
Jesus Christ was not forced to die, for He could easily have saved Himself, had He wished to do so. Rather He died of His own free will in order to take the punishment for the sins of man, just as the prophet Isaiah had foretold long before when he said: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 55:5,6). By dying on the cross, Jesus took the punishment which should have been ours and became our substitute. The apostle John, who stood near the cross and was a witness of the death of Christ, says of his Master, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). Truly Christ's death was unique and wonderful!
After Jesus died an even more wonderful thing happened such as has never happened to any other man. All the prophets and saints and religious leaders of old have died and were buried and their bodies turned to dust. Jesus Christ died and was buried, but His body did not turn to dust. On Sunday, the third day after His crucifixion, He rose from the dead, just as He had prophesied He would do! He came out from the tomb, although it had been sealed by His enemies and was carefully guarded by soldiers.
The first day of His resurrection, four women came very early to the place where Jesus was buried. What a surprise they got! Jesus was not there! The tomb was empty! An angel of the Lord, dressed in white clothes, said to the women, "Don't be frightened! I know you are looking for Jesus Who was crucified, but He isn't here! For He has come back to life again, just as He said He would. Go quickly and tell His disciples" (Mark 16:6). Filled with joy, the women ran to share this marvelous news. That same day all the disciples except one called Thomas met together in a room and Jesus appeared to them, saying: "Peace be unto you" (John 19:20). Afterward when Thomas heard their report, he said, "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails...I will not believe" (John 20:35). A week later, Jesus appeared again to His disciples and Thomas was with them. He said to him, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Then Thomas said, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20: 27, 28). Jesus showed Himself to many people. His body is now different from the one He had before His death. For instance, He can enter a room when the doors and windows are closed. He has a new body, a body that cannot die any more.
All the religious leaders and saints whom men have followed over the years are dead. Jesus is the only One Who can say, "I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:18). Forty days after He came out alive from the tomb, Jesus went back to Heaven, where God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name above all other names, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10, 11). The resurrection of Jesus is the undeniable proof that He is as He claimed to be - the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world. He wants to become our Saviour too. Did you ever hear of more wonderful news than this?
None of the ancient prophets and saints announced to their followers before their death that they were going to return to earth. But Christ made frequent mention of His coming again. He told His disciples to watch and wait for His return and to be prepared to give Him an account of their lives. He said that at the end of the world He would come from heaven, and every eye would see Him. He would sit on His glorious throne, and all nations would come before Him. He would then judge them, separating them from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Those who have accepted Him as their Saviour have eternal life; those who have not are condemned to eternal punishment. How wonderful and glorious will be Christ's return, and how terrible for those who have not obeyed Him!
Before Christ ascended to heaven He not only foretold His return at the end of the world, but also promised His disciples that He would always be with them. He said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). Therefore when Jesus went to heaven His disciples were not left alone. Nor was there any need for someone also to come in Christ's place to care for them, for Christ Himself by His Spirit remained with them, and will be with them to the end of the world. He guides them, strengthens them, comforts them, forgives them, cleanses them from sin, and reveals God to them. Since He rose from the dead and is alive for evermore, He is able to help us in a way that dead prophets or saints can never do. He invites everyone to come to Him and be His friend, saying, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). He also says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20).
Dear friend, this wonderful Saviour has come to the door of your heart today, and wants to enter. He died to save you from your sins, and He lives in order to give you eternal life. He knows your cares, your troubles, your sins, your fears, and all your needs, and is eager to bless you and make you happy. If you want Him as your Friend, you may just now open your heart to Him and ask Him to enter. Take Him as your Saviour, and commit yourself wholly to Him. Listen again to God's Word, "Behold I bring you good news of great joy...for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour Who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 3:10, 11). Jesus Christ is more than a mere man or religious leader. He is the Lord, He is God in Christ. Won't you accept Him as your Lord and Saviour now? He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). He also says: "He that comes to Me I will in no way cast out" (John 6:37).
Come to Him now and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. Confess your sins to Him, ask Him to forgive you and thank Him for shedding His blood for you. He will hear you where you are and forgive you. You can pray to Him in this way, "Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for dying for me and shedding Your blood for the cleansing of my sins. I acknowledge my sins and repent from them. I turn away from them and ask You to please forgive me. I want You to be my Saviour. Please cleanse me and create in me a new heart. I want to follow You and obey You all the days of my life. Amen." If you pray this prayer, Jesus will hear you. He will come to live in you through His Holy Spirit and make you a new person. He will give you holiness in place of sin, love in place of hate, peace in place of restlessness and tension. This new life Jesus will give you is eternal; it can never die or fade away or be lost. When you die, He will take you to heaven, to live with Him forever. You will fear no more death, judgment or condemnation. True happiness will be your portion forever.