The central figure
Jesus is the one appointed to reunite us to God. He is the central figure of Earth’s history, both past and future. He is the central figure in God’s plan for us.
Jesus is God’s peace negotiator. If somehow you overlook coming to terms with Jesus, you will lose out on establishing peace with God, and your life will reflect an inner emptiness.
Our free will
When God created us, he gave us a free will. He left us the option of rejecting his plan for Earth and going our own way. He allowed us to make Earth according to our own choosing. We did just that.
We rejected God’s way and went our own way. Look at the Earth today. The Earth is the way it is because of the choice we made. The Earth is in shambles.
The bad news
Because of our choice to go our own way, the Earth has suffered chaos and turmoil ever since. The bad news goes on and on. Just pick up your local newspaper and decide for yourself how well we’re doing. The streets are full of horrors and what goes on behind closed doors is even worse. There seems to be no place to hide from the heartbreak of it all. Imagine the hurt God felt to see us leave him to go our own way.
More bad news
Earth’s nightmare is but the beginning of the bad news. Inside every one of us there’s a gnawing and a longing. The emptiness just plain seems to want to devour us from the inside out. We can’t fill our mouths fast enough to satisfy our cravings. We can’t purchase conveniences fast enough to make ourselves comfortable. We can’t find enough thrills and sensations to quiet our ever-increasing appetite.
Filled up with emptiness
We spend our whole lives filling ourselves. We are literally filled up with the drive toward money and houses and cars and wardrobes and knowledge and diplomas and honors and trophies and recognition and accomplishments and credentials and power. We are filled up like no other time in human history. Yet we are suffering from nerves and ulcers and tension and headaches and sleeplessness like never before.
Full, yet unfulfilled
We eat the best food on Earth, there are more restaurants being built every day, and rarely have most of us ever been really hungry. We sit all evening long in front of the highest tech home entertainment systems ever dreamed of. The taverns are full too, and so are the night spots. You can virtually get what you want. Yet deep inside, we are aware that something’s missing.
What we are suffering is a chronic case of feeling disconnected from our roots. We are suffering the same type of anguish felt by parents whose child is missing. The only difference is that WE are that missing child. We left the love of home thinking we’d find real life out amidst the dazzle and glamour of the “adult world”.
Throw it all away
and head for home!
What we found was far from life, in fact, it was death in its most tragic form. We are disconnected from God who is our roots. We have become the living dead. We are lonely, frightened and empty. But amidst our wild frenzy it never dawns on us –throw it all away and head for home!
Bombed out bridges
Here we are, having the time of our life; full yet empty; dancing wildly with our friends, yet lonely; strutting our stuff, yet unsure whether anyone really cares about us, apart from our envious build or bathing suit. Even if we did recognize our homesickness, in our fling we bombed out all the bridges behind us as we went. We have left ourselves no way to get home, even if we wanted to.
God knew it all along. He made us, and he knows us through and through. He made us to be more than just a body. We are more than molecules and electrical impulses. God made us like himself – spirit, and gave us a body to live in.
God knew we’d try desperately to satisfy ourselves and to soothe ourselves with things of this Earth. He knew we’d get tired of the emptiness of life without him. He knew we’d get tired of our restlessness.
God knew that we’d eventually come to the end of ourselves and look for a way out of our mess. And he knew we’d get tired of going around in circles, looking in vain for the “ultimate” amenity, the “ultimate” pleasure, the “ultimate” delight; longings which he alone can satisfy. He knew and he cared.
The party’s over
Soon the party’s over and you realize again that it was as empty and unsatisfying as ever. You can continue fooling yourself and your friends: “I love it!” or you can admit you’re lost, lonely and miserable. I came to that point myself.
Tell it like it is
Eventually along life’s path someone talks straight to us. Someone cares enough about us to tell us like it is. Someone has the guts to tell us what we wish we could deny; that we’re lost. Someone tells us that God loves us and wants us to come back home.
Jesus took my blame
Jesus is the way home. Jesus is the center of God’s plan to bring us back home. Jesus took the blame for OUR bad choice. When we made the decision to go our own way, according to God’s justice, we committed mutiny and treason. Mutiny and treason are punishable by death. No deals. No plea-bargains. Death.
Jesus took my death penalty
We committed mutiny, in that we took unrightful charge of destiny on Earth. We committed treason, in that we conspired with God’s enemies in so doing.
God didn’t have to provide a way back home. He could have left us to our own fate, but he didn’t. God loves us. He clothed himself as an Earthling and came to beckon us home again. That was Jesus. The price Jesus had to pay to secure our safe passage back into God’s heavenly presence was death; death because of OUR unrightful mistreatment of God and his authority. Jesus suffered the death that we deserved.
When angels announced Jesus’ birth they told of: “Good News that would bring great joy to all people!” They told about: “a Savior, Christ, the Lord.” Those who foretold his birth referred to him as: “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us”. Then he was given the name: “Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Jesus lives for me
Three days after suffering and dying a cruel and shameful death on a cross, Jesus was brought back to life, never to die again. All this because of God’s great love for us and his hopes that we would want to come back under his authority and back into friendship.
Now Jesus guarantees he will grant life and safe passage back to God for all who simply ask him: “Jesus, you took death for me. Thank you. I want life. I want to live under your authority. I also want safe passage to Heaven when my life on Earth is over.” Jesus promises that his death is sufficient to provide for it all. Jesus is our bridge back to God.
Being good is not enough
For all of us who believe that God sent Jesus to die for us, we realize that God’s favor can be attained by NO OTHER MEANS. We can’t be good enough to deserve God’s favor. We can’t do good deeds and earn God’s favor. We can’t clean up our act and impress God into letting us off the hook.
Jesus is my only hope
No matter how “good” we act and how well we behave, we can’t erase the fact that we deserve death. So, we don’t try to impress God. We simply depend totally on Jesus’ death to secure God’s approval, to satisfy God’s justice, to stay God’s anger because of our sins, and to erase our debt. We come just as we are: guilty, and FORGIVEN!
Trying to impress God with all the kind and considerate things we’ve done would serve only to complicate matters. Because of our sins God demands, in military terms, that we capitulate before him; unconditional surrender.
God sent Jesus to take our death, so apart from Jesus we have no life. Jesus has given us life, eternal life. Jesus’ death on the cross bridges our way back to Heaven, back to God, and to eternal life.
Jesus alone is impressive
Why would Jesus take death for me, a death he didn’t deserve? I don’t know. It simply proves to me undeniably that he loves me. The fact of Jesus’ love is very serious and very sobering. Jesus is awesome. This is the Good News!
For eyewitness accounts to help you better understand Jesus, you might refer to the portion of the Bible called the “New Testament,” particularly starting with the “Gospel according to John.” John was one of Jesus’ friends and followers. #
[Article from a Jesus newspaper, 1st edition, 1991 A.D. (revised 2010)]