2017 READING CHALLENGE
This year is coming to a close, which means it’s time to […]
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Wise sayings such as, "Do to others what you would have them do to you" were spoken first by Jesus two thousand years ago (Matthew 7:12, NIV). Jesus was a revolutionary concerned with social justice.
Jesus lived "to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed," often suffering scorn for socializing with the poor and outcasts of society (Luke 4:18). Jesus was a kind man and a compassionate friend.
Jesus invited those around Him, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28, niv). He promised, "Whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (John 6:37).
Jesus was all these things. But He is also much more. Jesus is God.
The people who listened to Jesus' teachings were amazed because "he taught them as one who had authority" (Mark 1:22). They realized that Jesus was more than just another philosopher or scholar. His words were true: "For I came from God. . . . I and the Father God] are one" (John 8:42, 10:30). Jesus was a willing sacrifice.
As God, Jesus knew that humanity was destined to die because of its sins. But because of His love for us, He came to earth "to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our sin, explaining, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). That is why He gave Himself up to be killed on a cross. Jesus is the risen Savior.
Three days after His crucifixion, Jesus rose to life again, breaking the power of death. Jesus proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).
Jesus' death and resurrection make it possible for you and me to enjoy eternity with God in heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). If you believe that Jesus is God, that He went willingly to death to take the punishment for your sins, and that He rose again so that you could have eternal life, I invite you to talk to God right now from your heart. You can say something like this:
Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me so much that You chose to die in my place. I turn now from my sins and invite You into my life as my Savior and Lord. Help me to live in a way that pleases You until the time when I can spend eternity in heaven with You. Amen.
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