Who is He?
Who do you think He is? You've likely heard many things about Jesus Christ, some positive, some negative. You may have read that secular historians state that He lived in the Holy Land two thousand years ago. Perhaps you've heard him mentioned in the teachings of religions other than Christianity. Some call Him a prophet. Some call Him a great moral teacher. Some call Him an impostor.
You've known people who revere Him and people who revile Him. Many just seem to ignore Him. Some say He's alive, some say He's dead, some say He never existed at all... that He's just a figment of the imaginations of simple minds.
Yet you've perhaps seen His profound impact on history, and upon the lives of countless millions. Some of it may have impressed you. Some of it may have disgusted you.
It's rather confusing, isn't it? It can be difficult to decide who you really think He is. The more you hear, the more you may find one part of you wants nothing to do with Him, while another part desires to learn more about Him. Why the dichotomy? Why the strange mixture of positives and negatives? The seeming truth contrasted with what can sound like fiction? The compelling goodness along with the annoying exclusivity and apparent negativity? The stirring hope up against the nagging fear that only fools follow this One?
Who is He? Settle one thing in your mind: He is. Yes, He not only was alive, He is alive. He lived briefly on this earth in the form of a humble man, but that was neither the beginning nor the end of His existence. You see, He claimed to be the eternal Son of God, and He only spoke the truth.
His was not a popular message. Not then, not now. Some who profess to follow Him today would cease to do so if they truly understood His demands. His was, and is a revolutionary message, antagonistic to man's hedonistic tendencies, intolerant of selfishness, and death to pride. It demands more than most want to pay, and returns far more than many are willing to believe possible. The message is so compelling that many are eager to carry its flag, yet few are willing to truly live it.
While many thronged Him when He walked the hills of Judea, hearing Him gladly, others railed upon Him, and eventually put Him to death on Rome's cruel instrument of torture and death: the cross. A cross that became the Cross.
You see, His whole purpose in coming to this earth was to die on that Cross.
Yes, His three years of teaching and working miracles were important, but what mattered most was what happened that morning on the Cross. This, along with His subsequent resurrection, triumphing over death, together comprise the most significant event of all history.
Most people don't believe that. They have no idea why this event was so incredibly momentous. If only they knew that it was not only historically important, but that it was infinitely important to them personally. To you. To every person who will ever call this earth home.
What happened there? He paid the price. The full price. You may not realize it, but at that moment He took your place. Your sentence. For what? For having fallen far short. For every wrong thing you have done. For every hurtful act. For the darkness within your heart and mind. For every selfish expression, every single time you failed to love, to forgive, to give, to care, to lay yourself aside for the sake of others. Yes, He died on that Cross so that you would find forgiveness for all these acts and more, acts we call sins, a condition we call sin. He alone was without sin, yet He took your sin as His own so you wouldn't have to pay the price of sin which is spiritual death... and eternal separation from God.
Whose idea was this? Jesus has a Father, who with Him created us, and the universe we dwell in. And like Him, the Father is love personified. The Father never meant for this world to become the despoiled paradise that it is. But in giving us free will, in pain He had to watch us choose to go our own way. To hate instead of love. To hurt instead of heal. To take instead of give. On and on, throughout the ages of time, He has watched us, the centerpiece of His creation, defile ourselves. This was not a surprise to Him, and so from the beginning He had a plan. He would send His only son, Jesus, to die in our place. And if we would only recognize this sacrifice, admit our having fallen short, ask forgiveness, and turn our lives unreservedly over to Him, we would not have to pay sin's price ourselves.
Instead, through this sacrifice, we can find full forgiveness. The removal of guilt. Deliverance from our destructive ways through the power of Christ living within. The ability to be a true giver, one who is a channel of the flowing love of God. To know unbroken peace. Unbridled joy. Lasting satisfaction. Deep healing. And the promise of eternal life in Heaven.
But on the whole, mankind has refused this amazing offer. They have either turned Him aside altogether, or transformed His simple plan into a convoluted form of religion that has no power to set its adherents free... and that daily turns sincere seekers away from the truth.
And thus it will be until the end. Most will misunderstand Him. Most will miss it. Few will find Him.
What a crime.