The turning point in history

What mere human can choose his own birthplace? Or what mortal man can—or would—cause the officials of a foreign government to order his death by a terribly agonizing execution? How could anyone manipulate their bitter enemies to pay a specific price for their betrayal, mock and revile them as they are dying, much less cause a band of soldiers to gamble for their clothing and pierce their side after they’ve died, and cause a rich man to bury their body in his own personal tomb? Yet Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled not only these, but over 300 more specific predictions regarding His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Truly He was—and is—“unique” in every sense of the word!

Not one of the great recognized religious leaders—not Moses, not Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohammed—ever claimed to be God. True, some have been deified by their followers after they died, but none ever personally claimed to be deity.—That is, with the exception of Jesus Christ. In fact, He not only claimed to be the Son of God, God manifest in human flesh, but He convinced a great portion of the world that He in fact is God’s Son.

There is no reason to doubt that after His death, something incredible happened which transformed His tiny band of dejected followers into a company of witnesses whom all the persecution of Imperial Rome could not stop. Downhearted and discouraged, their Lord cruelly crucified by His enemies, it looked to those disciples as if their hopes had died and their dreams had been shattered.

But three days after Jesus’ death, their faith was rekindled in such a dramatic manner that no force on earth was able to quench it! And that lowly handful of His original followers went on to tell the entire world the Good News.—That God not only sent His Son into the world to teach us His truth and show us His love, but also that Jesus suffered death for our sake, and then rose from the grave.—So that we who know and believe on Him never need to fear death again, for we are saved and on our way to heaven, thanks to Jesus.

The New Testament also tells us that Jesus personally appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses after His resurrection.(1 Corinthians 15:6) This was the resounding message that His first disciples boldly proclaimed throughout the world: “God raised Him from the dead!” (Acts 13:30) – From Who is Jesus?

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Think of it! God sent His own Son, the very Lord of heaven, the master of the universe, down to earth to become one of us. He was miraculously conceived in the womb of a humble and lowly virgin named Mary, and took on the form of human flesh just like ours. Therefore He was the Son of Man as well as the Son of God.

Jesus not only adapted Himself to our bodily form, but He also conformed to our human ways of life, customs, language, dress, and living so that He might understand us better and be able to communicate with us on the lowly level of our human understanding. He became a citizen of this world, a member of humanity, a man of flesh, so that He might reach us with His love, prove to us His compassion and concern, and help us understand His message.

He came down and lived like us, worked like us, had to sleep like us, eat like us, and do everything that we have to do. There were times when He was weary, tired, and footsore, when He was hungry and thirsty, sad and discouraged. He became one of us, and as the Bible says, “was tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Jesus spent His time going around everywhere doing good—feeding people who were hungry, healing those who were sick, cheering and comforting those who were sad and brokenhearted. He loved everybody, even the poorest of the poor, and those whom everybody else looked down on.

He never had any kind of religious buildings, denominations, or formal congregations. He simply went out and met people on the streets, by the seashore, in the marketplaces—wherever He could reach them—and shared His message of love with all who would listen to it. He befriended even the most despised and rejected members of society: tax collectors, drunks, prostitutes, and sinners.

His religion of love was so simple that He said, “You must become as a little child to receive it.” (Matthew 18:3)

Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross. He said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18) He was the Son of God, and all the powers of the universe were at His disposal, at His command. He told His captors, “You could have no power over Me at all unless it was given to you from My Father. … I could lift My little finger and thousands of angels would immediately deliver Me from your hand.” (John 19:11; Matthew 26:53) He could have called on all the forces of heaven to slaughter His enemies, conquer Rome, and take over the world. But instead, He chose to lay down His life for you and me.

Why would the King of kings, the Lord of the universe, God in the flesh, allow himself to be captured, falsely accused, tried and condemned, whipped, stripped, and nailed to a cross like a common criminal? The answer is simple—because He loved you and me!

Three days after His lifeless body was buried, something happened that shocked His enemies and proved to all of His followers that He really was the Son of God: He rose from the dead, the victor over death and hell forever!

After His resurrection, He personally appeared to literally hundreds of His followers, encouraging, strengthening, and comforting them. He told them that He was going to return to be with His heavenly Father, but that He would always be with them in spirit, living in their hearts forever. He also gave His followers a wonderful promise, that one day, “I will come again.” The Son of Man shall “come in the clouds, with power and great majesty.” (John 14:3; Luke 21:27)

So when you celebrate Easter, celebrate victory, triumph, and overcoming. Think about the good things Jesus has brought your way. Think on the good, the positive. It’s a day to focus on the joyful and the victorious.

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