Who is Jesus?What have you heard about Jesus Christ?
Jesus was a historical person born about 2000 years ago.
Jesus was born in in the small town of Bethlehem in Judea.
- He was poor with few earthly possessions.
- He never married nor had children.
- He made his living as a carpenter until he was 30 years old.
- From ages 30 to 33 he traveled and taught about God.
- At age 33 he was executed by crucifixion by Roman and Jewish leaders.
- Jesus never wrote a book… yet more books have been written about him than anyone else in history.
- Jesus never traveled overseas… yet his name has been preached in every corner of the world.
In The Bible there are four historical books about Jesus' life called the gospels.
Mark 1:40-42  And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
- Jesus showed love and compassion.
- Jesus preformed miracles.
Mark 2:1-12  And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “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!”
- Jesus taught that mankind’s foundational problem was sin.
- Jesus taught that he was the Son of God.
The historical account of Jesus’ death can be read in all four gospels. After an illegal trial in the middle of the night, Jesus was executed by crucifixion, on a Friday afternoon around 3 PM.
Why was Jesus killed?
The Jewish leaders did not accept Jesus as the Son of God and jealously rejected his authority (Mark 2:5-7 & Mark 3:1-6).
Jesus predicted his own death
Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
What did Jesus teach about his death?
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
- That mankind owes a debt because of their sins.
- That Jesus’ death can pay the debt of sin.
John 3:16-18  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
- That the benefit of Jesus death can be received by faith.
Everyone dies. What made Jesus’ death special? He did not stay dead but rose back to life on the third day. This is recorded in the gospels and one of the oldest Christian documents:
1 Corinthians 15:3-6  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Evidence for the Resurrection
- Jesus’ tomb was empty and his body was never found.
- The following facts are inexplainable outside of the resurrection of Jesus: His brothers (James and Jude) though Jesus was crazy but changed their minds about him. His disciples boldly died for him. His enemies (Paul) converted to worship him.
- His teachings about God, himself, mankind’s sin, and salvation through faith in Jesus is true.
- John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Read all about the Good News of Jesus this next week in Romans.
Study all about the Good News of Jesus next week in First Steps 3.
Are the Gospels historically reliable?
Bible scholars defend the historical authenticity of the gospel documents. There is a plethora of evidence. Here are a few facts:
- 5000+ Greek manuscripts, some dating to less than 100 years of the originals.
- These are 99% accurate.
- Not only is there no contradictory archaeological or historical evidence, current excavations continue to uphold the gospel details.
- The Gospels were written by eye witnesses (Matthew & John) and men who interviewed eye witnesses (Mark & Luke) and carefully preserved by men willing to die for the Truth.
For more information check out The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel