And Jesus answered, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
It was prophesied in the Old Testament that Jesus would be born of a virgin birth in Bethlehem and be in the line of David. We see these prophesies, and many others, fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. Though Jesus wasn't born on exactly December 25th, Christmas is still a time that we as Christians celebrate the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself as a baby and became a man so that he could one day die as the perfect atonement for our sins.
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And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ Jesus." - Luke 2:10-11
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Below is the Church of the Nativity. This church sits on top of an old cave where scholars, to the best of their knowledge, believe Jesus was most likely born.
Jesus' ministry didn't last very long, only around three years, but in that time Jesus gave the blind sight (John 9:1-11), healed the sick (Luke 5:12-16), cast out demons (Matthew 8:28-34), made crippled men walk (Mark 2:1:-12), fed thousands (Matthew 14:13-21) and even raised the dead (John 11:38-44). Jesus also preached many sermon, like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and told parables, like the parable of the Prodigal Son (John 15:11-32). John said at the end of his book (in John 21:25) that Jesus did so much that all the books of the world couldn't contain everything he did.
One of the most important things that Jesus did was claim to be God. Jesus used the same "I AM" statement in John 8:58 that God used with Moses in Exodus 3:14. Jesus made it very clear that he was God and because of this he had power over sickness, demons, forgiveness of sin, and even death.
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"I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home." And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God saying, "We never saw anything like this. - Mark 2:11-12
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Pictured to the right is the Sea of Galilee. This is the sea where Jesus calmed the storm, walked on water, and on it's shores he commissioned Peter to build his church after his resurrection.
The religious leaders did not like Jesus because he was calling them sinners, healing on the Sabbath, exposing their double standards, forgiving sins, and claiming to be God. They plotted with one of Jesus' disciples, Judas, to have Jesus arrested and killed (Mark 14:43-50).
Once Jesus was arrested they took him before Pilate. When they brought him to Pilate he could find nothing to convict Jesus of, but new the people wanted him dead. So he offered to either release Jesus or Barabbas, who was a murder, and the crowd chose to release Barabbas and have Jesus killed (Matthew 27:15-23).
After Jesus was sentenced to death they took him and beat him, mocked him, pulled out his beard, whipped him 39 times, made him carry his own cross, and put a crown of thorns on his head (Matthew 27:24-31). They then took nails and drove them into his hands and through his feet. The Romans were masters of torture and pain. They new how to inflict pain on the body with out killing someone until they hung on the cross.
As Jesus hung on the cross he said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:24. Then he cried out in a loud voice, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46. Jesus made this cry because on the cross he took on all our sin. Later on in the New Testament it says that Jesus became sin for us so that we might be righteous before God (2 Corinthians 5:21). As Jesus hung on the cross, he accepted the consequences of our sin, which is death (Romans 6:23), and died as the perfect sacrifice for us and on our behalf. Jesus took on death for us, so that we might be able to experience life through him
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"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." - 2 Corinthians 5:21
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Below is Golgotha, or Calvary Hill, today. This is the location where Jesus died right outside of Jerusalem.
After Jesus was crucified and died on the cross he was taken down and a man named Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took his body and burred it (John 19:38-42). The Pharisees worried that the disciples would try and take the body of Jesus so they ask the Roman's to put extra security around Jesus tomb and watch it around the clock for the first three days (Matthew 27:62-66).
On the morning of the third day, Mary Magdalene and Mary both went to the tomb but the stone had been rolled away and there was no body to be found. Then an angel appeared to them telling them that Jesus had risen and was no longer here (Mark 16:1-7). Because of this the Roman solders went to the Pharisees to tell them what happened (Matthew 28:11-15). They planned to say that the disciples came and took the body but during the 40 days that Jesus remained on the earth he appeared to over 500 people and the testimony of his resurrection spread quickly (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
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"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him." - Mark 16:6
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The picture to the right is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This is traditionally where Jesus was believed to be buried. Claims of this being his burial sight date back to the 4th century.
After spending 40 days on earth with his disciples Jesus ascended back into heaven (Acts 1:6-11). Jesus gave them a charge to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV).
This is our charge as the church. To take the messaged and hope of Jesus to the world around us. Even 2,000 years after his life, death, burial, and resurrection, the church has continued to grow. With more believers than any other religion in the world, the life changing message of Jesus has impacted the lives of billions.
Jesus came and died for your sins, so that you could have a relationship with him, and he did it because he loves you!
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"Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in , and we will share a meal together as friends." - Revelation 3:20
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If you are interested in learning more about Jesus feel free to contact either our Lead Pastor Frank or our Associate Pastor Joshua. They would love to talk to you more about what Jesus means for your life.
We would also love to have you join us on Sunday morning at 10:30 am. You can click here for more information about our Sunday mornings.