Curious about Christianity?
A Christian church is a group of people, some of whom already know Jesus, who meet together to get to know Jesus better.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is a real historical person who lived over 2000 years ago in Israel. Whether we refer to the times that we live in as Common Era (CE) or Anno Domini (AD), every second of our lives is lived in relationship to this man. The life he lived, the words he spoke and the things he did continue to have a profound effect on the lives of individuals around the world.
The way Jesus acted, the way he spoke, the way he drew people to himself, yet didn’t seek the limelight all show how remarkable he is. Jesus made staggering claims during his life on earth. “I am the way, the truth and the life,” shows that Jesus is unique and is the only way to know God. Jesus called himself the “son of Man”, a term loaded with significance for his Jewish audience, meaning that he is both God and man, there has never been anyone like him before or since. Jesus came to bring us back to God, to show us God, because Jesus is God. Not only did Jesus ‘talk the talk’, he ‘walked the walk’. His actions on earth pointed to his divine nature, through healing the sick, raising the dead and forgiving sins.
For Christians, who get their name from Jesus Christ, Jesus is more than just a special person or even the most special person, he is their saviour. Jesus means saviour, it wasn’t a favourite name of his parents, but a name chosen to show the purpose of his life. The term Christ means chosen one, you may have heard him called Messiah. Jesus was promised long ago, he was the one chosen or set aside for one purpose in particular, that was to save.
Why is Jesus so important?
What does Jesus save us from?
Jesus came to save us from our imperfect lives. However good our intentions may be, however strong our efforts are, it is a sad reality that we never live up to our own expectations. “Could do better” may feature on many a school report, but when we look at ourselves this may be our summary. There are also things we regret, things we spoke rashly, actions we can never take back. Our inability to meet the standard and the things that we do and say that we know are wrong can be summed up as sin. Sin infects and spoils and even when we try to do good, we fail again. This is where we need a saviour, one to pull us out of this pit and despair. This is Jesus, the only person to live the perfect life, to meet that impossible standard.
Jesus said he came from God, his followers recognised that he was God. These continued claims brought him into conflict with the religious leaders and they plotted to have him killed. The leaders succeeded and Jesus was eventually crucified by the Roman authorities on their behalf. Sin has consequences, death. We will all face death because we sin. Jesus did not sin, yet submitted himself to death. Jesus did not deserve to die as we, through sin, will die. His sacrificial death overcomes the consequences of sin, the sin that is in each and every one of us. Those who call out to Jesus to save them, knowing that it is his death that gives us life, will be saved.
How does Jesus save?
We learn most about Jesus through the Bible. The entire message of the Bible is summed up in Jesus. The promise given after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden points to Jesus. Through the history of the Old Testament, God is preparing the way for his son to fulfil his promises. The New Testament shows us how Jesus spoke and lived and what happened to his followers following his death and resurrection. Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. We get to know Jesus better through prayer and worship. We do this alone and we do this together as a church.
The Bible was written by different writers at different times, some parts around 3000 years ago. It all works together and tells us about Jesus and the God who gave him to us. The Bible is like a diamond, there are many facets and intricacies that all come together to form something of incredible beauty. More than that, the Bible is God’s word. By this, Christians mean that it is the main way in which God speaks to us. Millions of Christians will testify to the life-changing power of this book. Through reading it, both together and alone, God speaks to our individual situations, words of comfort, words of challenge, words of encouragement and many more.
Why is the Bible important?
How do I pray?
Prayer is simply speaking out to God. Expressing and addressing your thoughts to God. God wants to hear our prayers and God is keen to answer our prayers. There is no set pattern of address or way of address. The cry of distress in the middle of trouble, using the words penned by someone else, or simply talking to God in your own way are all ways to pray. God wants us to pray, he desires to answer us, to care for us. Whether we pray or not, does not change who God is and what he does for us, but through prayer, we are drawn closer to this God and further away from reliance on our own ways of doing things, which inevitably lead us to disappointment.
This is a huge question and one that is difficult to express in a short answer. Starting at the beginning, God is the creator of the world, all the diversity, complexity and beauty of the world around us comes from him. God created us, humans, as the Bible says in “his own image”, meaning that we are different, set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and creation. We see the ‘fingerprints’ of God in our personality, creativity, imagination and language to name but a few. Find out more here.
God is also our father. He created us to have a relationship with him. Through sin, we have rejected and continue to reject this relationship, being distant from God. Jesus, the Son of God, describes this parental aspect of God through the picture of wayward chicks being brought to safety under the hen’s wings.
God also cares. He cares about the state of his creation, he cares about humans most of all, those made in “his own image”. God sees how defaced his perfect creation has become. He sees the hurt, pain, disappointment and sin in all our lives and he cares. God cares so much that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. This world as we know it will not last for ever. We will all die and come to meet God. God doesn’t expect us to sort this out on our own. He freely gave the answer. He freely gave the payment to make amends for the sin in the world and our lives. He freely gave Jesus, to pay that price, so that only in Jesus those who know Jesus and trust him to save will be saved and God’s full care that will last through eternity will rest on them.
Who is God?