The Redemption Story
Would you like to be sure you are going to Heaven?
There's a common trait we all share. We are imperfect! Would you agree? In the Bible, our imperfection is referred to as sin. In fact, the Bible book of Romans chapter 3 verse 23 (Romans 3:23) says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
The good news is that God loves imperfect people! He loves us so much that His Son Jesus died on a cross to pay the debt we owe for every imperfection - every sin. His death was a substitution. The Bible says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.
The Bible explains "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;" Romans 10:9. The 'being saved' mentioned here, that's the guarantee that you are going to Heaven.
It seems too simple to be true. But the Bible goes on to explain that God saves you by His grace when you believe. And you can’t take credit for it because it's a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things you have done. If you could earn it, then Jesus wouldn't have had to die. This is grace. God credits the perfection of Jesus to the account of the person who believes in Jesus. In God's eyes that person now has a perfect credit score. He no longer sees our imperfections. He only sees the perfection of Jesus. See Ephesians 2:8-9.
God offers you the free gift of salvation - the forgiveness of sins, a place in His forever family, and eternal life with Him in Heaven. Are you ready to receive it?
If this is your first real exposure to Jesus and the Bible, keep reading.
Throughout history, there have been a great number of gifted teachers and religious leaders. Moses, Paul, Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, etc. Only one of the recognized religious leaders ever claimed to be God. His name is Jesus. The fact that Jesus claimed to be one with God leaves Him in a position with no middle ground. If He is not God, then one of two things are true. Either He was an outright liar or He was a nut case. Either way, He certainly is not to be trusted, much less worshiped. If, on the other hand, His claims are true, then you are left with a decision. Will you accept Him or reject Him?
C.S. Lewis, who was a professor at Cambridge University and once was an agnostic, wrote: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”
To some people, Jesus is a mythical character in some religious book. But that’s not it at all. Have you ever stopped to think what B.C. stands for? The world records its time based on one constant. Things that happened before Christ (B.C.) and things that happened after Him (A.D.; anno Domini, Medieval Latin for “in the year of the Lord”). Jesus Christ did live on this earth. He is the “Christ” in B.C. and the “Lord” in anno Domini. The question is, “Who was He?”
The Jewish Bible, what more or less corresponds to what most non-Jews call the Old Testament, was written over a 1500-year period and contains over 300 references to the coming Messiah. The Old Testament was completed nearly 450 years B.C. and was translated into Greek in 250 B.C.
Another two hundred and fifty years later in the person of Jesus Christ, every one of the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah was fulfilled. And these aren’t just things that He could have read and mimicked. Most were beyond the control of a normal man. The New Testament records the fulfillment.
He was born how and where the Old Testament predicted.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“…she was found to be with child by to Holy Spirit. And Joseph…kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18, 24, 25 also Luke 1:26-35
Speaking to Abraham; “And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:18
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ’and to seeds’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘and to your seed,’ that is Christ.” Galatians 3:16
But as for you Bethlehem…From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2
“…Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea…” Matthew 2:1 also John 7:42 and Luke 2:4-7
He came because we have a problem.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
In other words, we have all messed up at one point in our lives making us fall short of God’s perfection.
“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23
That means eternal separation from God – Hell.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise…but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17
“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;” Romans 10:9
The perfect sacrifice, Jesus died in your place.
Jesus was killed by means of Roman crucifixion, a method of execution that did not come into practice in the Jewish system for hundreds of years after the prophecies were written. Crucifixion involved hanging a person on a cross by hammering blunt spikes through the victims’ hands and feet. The legs were often broken to make it impossible for the victim to rise up and take a breath.
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by his scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
“Then he released Barabbas for them; but Jesus he scourged and delivered over to be crucified.” Matthew 27:26
“…Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors,…” Isaiah 53:12
“At that time, two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.” Matthew 27:38 also Mark 15:27, 28
And darkness fell over the land.
“And it will come about in that day, declares the Lord God, that I shall make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.” Amos 8:9
“Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.” Matthew 27:45
Note: because the Jews reckoned twelve hours from sunrise to sunset, it would make the sixth hour near noon and the ninth hour about three o’clock.
And He was buried.
“His grave was assigned to be with wicked men, yet with a rich man in His death.” Isaiah 53:9
“…there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph,…and asked for the body of Jesus…And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb…” Matthew 27:57-60
But what good is a dead Savior?
Jesus knew why He had come to the earth. He knew that He was going to have to die in order to become the perfect sacrifice. He also knew what was going to happen next. And so that there would be no mistake, He told those around Him ahead of time. He told them that He was going to die and that three days later He would rise again. See:
Matthew 12:38-40, 16:21, 17:9, 17:22-23, 20:18-19, 26:32, 27:63
Mark 8:31-9:1, 9:10, 9:31, 14:28 and 58, 10:32
John 2:19-22, 12:34
And He did!
“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightening, and his garment as white a snow; and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. And the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen just as He said. Come see the place where He was lying.” Matthew 28:1-6 also Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-9, John 20:1-7
And just to leave no doubt, Jesus then met face to face with over 500 people.
To Mary Magdalene, John 20:14, Mark 16:9
To women returning from the tomb, Matthew 28:9-10
To Peter, later in the day, Luke 24:34, I Corinthians 15:5
To the Emmaus disciples, Luke 24:13-33
To the apostles, Thomas absent, Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-24
To the apostles, Thomas present, John 20:26-29
To the seven by the Lake of Tiberius, John 21:1-23
To a multitude of 500 plus believers on a Galilean mountain, I Corinthians 15:6
To James, I Corinthians 15:7
To the eleven, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:33-52, Acts 1:3-12
At the ascension, Acts 1:3-12
If you still want more of the story, pick up a modern translation of the New Testament and read the book of Luke.