Updated: Jul 15
So far in these columns, I have addressed Christians as a whole—with a leaning toward the older generations—and young Christians specifically (late teens through twenties). Now we are going to move on to another group: those of you who are either on the fence about Jesus or don’t have much opinion about Him. After all, He’s someone who may or may not have lived over 2,000 years ago. What relevance does He have on our lives today?
My answer is probably one you’ve heard before—in fact, it’s one many of you have probably heard multiple times. But even if that’s the case, please bear with me and have an open mind. Okay? Okay.
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Back to our question. What does Jesus, a man who supposedly lived thousands of years ago and rose from the dead, have to do with you?
See, I told you my answer is one you’ve heard before. However, unlike the thousands of overused phrases out there, saying Jesus means everything to you and your life is a phrase that despite being used billions of times, it hasn’t lost any of its truth, any of its power or any of its relevance.
What you think about Jesus is by far the most important thing about you. (No, I’m not being dramatic.) Why are your thoughts about Jesus so crucial? Because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and no one goes to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6).
Now, in our society, such an exclusive claim is not the most popular and it may have offended a good amount of you. What’s more is it’s probably another claim you’ve heard countless times before. If so, I’m not surprised and it’s okay. If you’re someone who’s never heard about Jesus being the only way to God, that’s okay too. It’s why we are here. It’s why I feel God led me to write this column…for you.
What you think about Jesus is by far the most important thing about you.
God knows your story. He knows what you’ve heard and what you’ve seen. He knows every part of your being—every thought, every dream, every emotion—even more than you do. He knows you’re searching for a happiness that lasts, not just a quick fix. He knows about your doubts and your unbelief in Him, and He’s calling to you anyway.
Yes, you heard me correctly. God the Father, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, knows you by name and is waiting for you with open arms.
No, you don’t have to gussy yourself up for Him and “fix” your flaws first. No, you don’t have to get all religious and memorize the whole Bible before approaching Him. (In fact, I beg of you, please do not become religious.) And at this moment, you don’t even have to know the difference between Moses and Paul. The only name you need to know right now is Jesus, and the only thing you need to know is that Jesus gave up His place in Heaven, came down to earth as a man, took on the sins of the world—yours and mine—despite never having committed a sin Himself and died on the cross so we—you—can spend eternity with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit in Heaven.
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In other words, “For our sake He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21). And again in Philippians 2:5-8:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Who is Jesus? Is He God too?” Yes, but for the sake of time and the topic before us, we’re not going down a theological rabbit hole. I’m not going to throw all these terms and concepts at you so you’ll be too confused about what’s in the background to focus on what’s in the foreground. What I will do though is provide you with some keys about who this Jesus guy is, and then you can investigate it yourself. Deal?
Before we get any farther though, let’s get one thing out of the way: this is not homework. It’s not even work at all. It might seem like it in the beginning, but once you open your heart and mind and allow God to speak to you through the Bible, it will be the only thing you’ll want to read.
To stick with the key analogy (I know, a corny one), the following verses are the key to unlocking a whole new world. Not a world like Hogwarts or the Hundred Acre Wood. Not even a world like Narnia. It’s a world where you will learn about the story of God and how He willingly gave up His one and only Son, Jesus, to guarantee Creation (Earth, humans, animals, etc.) would return to His original, perfect design and people like you and me can live with Him in Heaven for all eternity. It’s kind of like a Jesus treasure map, if you will.
...once you open your heart and mind and allow God to speak to you through the Bible, it will be the only thing you'll want to read.
As you read these verses, remember: this journey you’re about to undertake, it starts with one name and ends with one name, and that name is Jesus. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and no one goes to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6). Hey, you know one verse already! Here are some more to get you started. Jesus is:
A good Shepherd – Psalm 23:1, Isaiah 40:11, Jeremiah 31:10, Ezekiel 34:11-16, John 10:11-16, Hebrews 13:20-21, Revelation 7:13-17
Son of God – Matthew 16:16-17, 27:54; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:14, 3:16-18; Romans 8:31-32; Hebrews 1:1-5; 1 John 4:9-10
God – Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; John 1:3, 5:17-18, 10:30; Acts 10:36; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 1:15-17; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; 1 John 4:2-3
Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6; Zechariah 9:10; John 14:27; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 1:20-22; 3:15
Bread of Life – Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19; John 6:35, 48, 51
Life – John 1:4-5, 11:25-26; Acts 3:15; Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 5:11-12
Light – Isaiah 42:6-7; John 3:19-21, 8:12, 12:46; Acts 26:23; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5: 13-14; 1 John 2:8; Revelation 22:5
Love – John 15:9, 13; Romans 5:5, 8:38-39; Ephesians 2:4-5, 3:16-19; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:7-10, 16
Your Savior – Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 2:21, 4:12; Romans 8:34; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:20-22; Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 2:2
These are just a handful of the names and characteristics of the wonderful being that is Jesus Christ our God. I invite you to read the rest of the Bible and discover more for yourself. And yes, when I say, “the rest of the Bible,” I mean the rest of the Bible. Old and New Testament.
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Genesis (the first book) through Revelation (the last book). You may have thought/heard that Jesus doesn’t show up until the New Testament (starting with the book of Matthew), but trust me, He’s in the WHOLE thing. Cover to cover, He’s on every page. You just need to have an open mind and an open heart.
Now, I know I may not have convinced all of you about the importance of Jesus in your life. Actually, I may not have convinced any of you. But I do know one thing: if you were honest with me in the beginning, kept an open mind and investigated for yourself the verses I gave you, something happened inside of you. You might not have noticed it, but something happened. A seed was planted.
How do I know this? God tells us so:
“‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth;
it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it’” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
And how do we know what God says is true? Look up Numbers 23:19 (hint, it’s in the Old Testament, after Leviticus and before Deuteronomy); it says, “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will not He fulfill it?” (see also Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2).
God is all about planting seeds and nurturing them until they grow.
I pray this truth and everything else you just read, God’s word especially, has taken root in your heart and planted a seed. It may not have sprouted yet, but it’s there and it will bloom. When, how and into what it will bloom only God knows, but just wait for it, bloom it will. God is all about planting seeds and nurturing them until they grow. Want to know how I know that? Open your Bible and find out.
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.
This post originally appeared on County News Online.