|The Life of Jesus|
|There are only about three years of Jesus' life recorded in some detail. About the only reliable records available are the writings by four men. These four writings are contained in the New Testament of the Bible. These writings show us some of the wonderful things that Jesus did and said.|
|Jesus was a teacher. There were people who were recognized as teachers of God's law, and as they taught they quoted their authorities. However, Jesus did not teach like them. He was self-authoritative in his teaching. He taught with statements like: 'I say to you ...'. He taught people to follow himself.|
his teachings, Jesus discussed a wide variety of subjects. This included:
> God's law
> God's kingdom
> Showing love to others
> Paying taxes
> Life after Death
public heard him with great pleasure. Crowds of people followed him, and
stayed listening to him for many hours. He usually taught them using parables,
and some of these parables are recorded in the Bible.
His teaching covered many areas of life. However, of Jesus' teachings, the most prominent are his teachings about the kingdom of God and how we can enter it. He said, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God in other towns also, because that is what God sent me to do'. Right at the start of his public teaching, he said, 'The right time has come and the kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the good news!' This is the message that is still presented to you today.
|Miracles of Healing|
teaching was often associated with his miracles. Being able to perform miracles
was no difficulty to Jesus.
In the three years of his public teaching, it is recorded that he healed the sick, cleansed those with skin disorders and other medical disorders, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and strength to the crippled and paralyzed.
Jesus healing, however, was not performed as a means of showing off. Often Jesus specifically performed the miracles as a result of faith in him. Those needing help had faith in Jesus, and he healed them. His healings were also a way of indicating that he was who he claimed to be.
were not the only miraculous thing that Jesus did. It is recorded that Jesus
walked on water, and fed crowds of people with a few loaves of bread and
a few fish.
At one time, when Jesus and some of his followers were in a boat on the lake, there was a terrible storm. His followers were scared to death, but Jesus was asleep. When they woke him, they complained that he was not concerned for their safety. But Jesus was in control of the situation, and with a spoken command the storm abated immediately. 'Who is he?' his followers asked. His calmness and control in the terrifying situation amazed them. Even the wind and the sea obeyed him.
These supernatural acts indicate clearly that Jesus was no ordinary man.
|Jesus and Satan|
is obvious that a confrontation with Satan was part of Jesus' purpose for
The Bible teaches that there is a spirit world. We know little of this spirit world. There are the angels of God, the good spirits, and there is Satan with his angels, the evil spirits. The angels of God are characterized by obedience to God; the evil spirits are characterized by activity like that of Satan.
Satan works in people who are not true Christians. God created the first man, Adam. Through disobedience to God, Adam and Eve submitted themselves to Satan. The Bible teaches that because of this sin, everyone is born with a sinful nature. As a consequence, we all disobey God. We don't have to be taught how to be disobedient. We are all sinners. We all deserve the consequences of this disobedience.
Jesus came to conquer Satan. He described Satan as a strong man, but Jesus hinted that he was a stronger man. Right at the start of his public teaching, Jesus went to confront Satan, but did not submit himself to him. There were some people who were completely controlled by Satan or his evil spirits, and Jesus was able, as the stronger man, to command the evil spirits to leave.
The Bible teaches that Jesus has conquered Satan, so that we may be free of his control. We can never be free of Satan's control by anything that we can do. Jesus alone can make us free from Satan's power. Jesus is the much stroner man. It is important that we don't wrongly consider Jesus and Satan are equals, contesting a battle who outcome is uncertain. Jesus has totally defeated Satan in a great victory. The Bible emphasizes the fact that only Jesus can free us from Satan's power, because Jesus alone has overcome Satan.
|Forgiveness of Sins|
one time, Jesus said that he would forgive a man his sins. How could he
do this unless he was God? Jesus' opponents, the religious rulers, quickly
noticed this point. They said, 'Who can forgive sins but God alone?' In
answer to this legitimate question, Jesus performed a miracle to show that
he could do what he said he would. It was just as easy for him to heal the
man as it was to forgive his sins!
It was not only the sick and disabled to whom Jesus promised forgiveness of sins. In his teachings, Jesus stated that he had come to call sinners to repent and to believe the good news. In fact, he highlighted the fact that the religious leaders, who thought they were pretty good, would not receive forgiveness because of their attitude. The forgiveness he came to give was only for those who recognized their sin and their need for forgiveness. This is consistent with the teaching of the Bible: God forgives sinners who repent of their sins and ask God for forgiveness.
You need to realize that you have sinned against God. Repent of your sins, and ask God for forgiveness.
had many followers. There was a group of twelve special followers. These
twelve he called specifically to follow him in a close relationship. There
were also some women who followed him around, and cared for him and the
group of twelve. There were some that followed him to learn more about him,
and there were some who just wanted to see what was going on.
Some of the religious leaders and their followers also went around with Jesus. But, they were not real followers, but opponents. They tried to trip Jesus in his teachings and find fault with the things he said. In the end they actively looked for ways to get rid of him.
Jesus' teachings often tested the motives of his followers. He wasn't after a large following. It was quality not quantity that he wanted. Jesus would have preferred a small band of committed followers to an army of thrill seekers. When the crowds were tested, many of the thrill seekers left and went home. At one of these times, Jesus asked his twelve, 'Are you also going to leave me?' To this, Peter said, 'Lord, who can we go to? You have the words of eternal life'. Peter had recognized that Jesus was the source of true life.
Jesus is still calling people to follow him. He is calling people like you to be committed to him. He wants people who have recognized that they are sinners, and have asked for forgiveness, people who are willing to place their whole lives in his care and control, and live for him.
|Read next: The Death of Jesus|