Three Things Jesus Said That Should Have Lost Followers:
1. I am God. (John 10:40)
2. You will be hated in all nations because of me. (Matt 24:9)
3. No one gets to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Right now I am the same age that Jesus was when he was crucified. In 33 years on earth, Jesus has impacted the world greater than any human has ever come close to doing. His teachings and his Name have reached more people than any other single name in history. Long before any random Joe Schmo could have followers, long before Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and YouTube… Jesus had more followers than anybody else has ever acquired. He never wrote a book. He never wrote a chapter. He never made a video. He simply… spoke.
He was simple. Brilliant, but simple. No megachurch. No fancy light systems. No 8 piece rock band to start off the service. Just one guy with a message. A message that astounded people wherever he went.
But if this guy was so great, then why would he be the ONLY way to heaven? He did proclaim that the only way to get to the Father (being God) was through Jesus himself (John 14:6). What was so special about Jesus? How do we know he is God? How do we know that Christianity is the one right religion, and all the others are wrong? How does a message teach to love all people, yet also teach that those who do not believe in it will burn in hell? (My conclusion on that question is HERE.) These are questions I encourage you to spend some time researching on your own. You will not really understand, without taking time to read the Bible for yourself. It is very, very broad and cannot be answered in one post. But I can get you started…
The belief that Jesus is the only way, comes from the Bible. So it’s not so much a question of “is Jesus really God?” , it’s more… “is the Bible really truth?” Researching the history of the Bible and the claims the Bible has made and the predictions it made and seeing what about it is true… that is when we can conclude, that if the Bible is absolutely correct about everything else, then it MUST also be true about Jesus. The Bible centers around the story of Jesus, God’s love for us, and personal redemption for all who believe. The big trend right now, even in Christian churches, is to discount the accuracy of the Bible. That’s a topic for another day, but I will say the New Testament has not been proven false ever, it has only suggested to be false because people don’t like what it says. (The Bible even told us that this would happen in 2 Timothy 4:3.)
The difference between Christianity and every other religion, is the one on one personal relationship that God has with each and every person who calls on God. Christianity is the only religion so personal, that God himself sent his only Son to live on the earth as a fellow human being… to live life WITH us, to walk ALONGSIDE of us, to MEET us in the depths of our personal suffering, and to show us an example of what it means to live a life of love.
Jesus taught in a way that nobody else ever had. He had all the knowledge of the world, and an ingenious answer to everything. He taught that the only way to the Father was through him, but he also taught that those who follow him will be persecuted. Jesus warned his believers that someday they will be hated in every nation if they choose to follow Jesus Christ. Fast forward 2000 years and today in history more Christians are being killed than ever before… because they hold onto that Name of Jesus.
Why are people willing to die for him? Even more so, why are people willing to let their children be raped and killed, rather than to reject the Name of Jesus?
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Those people handed their lives over to God long before the moment they faced the decision to live or stand with Christ and die. The fact is, we will all die. But a life with Jesus promises to live for eternity. Yet, how can a person be so sure of where they are going once they die? I suppose at the root of it, it is a risk they take. They have not seen heaven, so trusting that it really is there upon death on earth is a hope. But logically speaking, we all die. Is it not better to risk dying younger, with the chance that one will then live forever? Or is it better to live to an old age (d0 you think it is easy to be 95 years old?), and be gone forever? These people understand who their true enemy is, the one who will do anything in his evil power to deny Jesus.
“But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
This statement from Jesus ties in with the biggest test of life… can we admit that we need a Savior or not?
Yet, how can these people who are dying for Jesus be sure that he is worth dying for? If they are like me, and most Christians I know who are committed to walking with God, they have experienced the real God for themselves. They know that he is real, because they have met him within their hearts and minds. They have SEEN him work in their lives! It is something that one must experience, in order to understand why you would be willing to die for it. This is what it means to have faith.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after he left earth. The power of the Holy Spirit is very alive today. I can feel the presence of God in my own spirit, and that is something that nobody can argue against. No one can ever take that away from me. They can take my child, they can threaten my life, but what I know that I have experienced, cannot be touched. I have seen God work in my life and his biblical promises are true. The history of the middle east and the way it matches what’s happening today… it all lines up. The Bible is a true book of history… real events that actually happened. There is plenty of existing evidence supporting biblical facts. But beyond that, by allowing the Word of God to penetrate INTO MY OWN HEART, and to experience the CHANGE that comes with that, on a daily basis my friends, that is when we know that the Bible is the truth. But it cannot be understood, until it is experienced. And it cannot be experienced, without a seed of faith. One small step in that direction of the possibility that Jesus is in fact the Son of God.
My relationship with God required a seed of FAITH… but through those first steps of faith, I have witnessed the Word of God ALIVE in my soul and at work in my life!
I challenge you today, to seek out truth in all things. To see if Jesus is in fact at the center of life. DESIRE to know, ask God to reveal himself to you with a genuine heart, and he will. Ask yourself, is this life on earth… the one filled with evil, pain, suffering, discontentment, anger, and hatred… really the one you want to live for? Or would you rather risk everything that you have here, every material possession, for a chance to be in heaven where the streets are paved with gold, the people are never hungry, and the light of God is so amazing that darkness cannot exist?
The people who are willing to die for God, who have their babies ripped from their arms, who are treated like nothing and then killed… they have FAITH. Faith that they have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. Faith that once they die, they will be reunited with their family members in heaven with their King. Faith that what awaits them after the misery… is a life of peace and fulfillment beyond our expectations. It is by faith, that they die, and by faith, that they live.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)