Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Many people will answer yes to that question. But then we should ask another question, namely, “What do you believe about Jesus Christ?” That is an important question, for it is very well possible that ten people tell you they believe in Jesus Christ, but they all have a different idea of what he is all about.
The only proper way to find out what Jesus Christ is all about is to carefully look at the Bible. The Christian Church many years ago summed up what the Bible teaches about him in the phrase, “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our Lord.” We ask a few moments of your time to elaborate on these words from the Bible.
The name “Jesus”
We read in the gospel of Matthew (1:21) that the name Jesus was not thought up by any person. It was chosen by God. The name means “Saviour.” The name was chosen “because he will save his people from their sins.” According to the Bible, sin is disobedience to God’s commandments. Sin makes us worthy of everlasting punishment. Jesus was sent by God to save sinners from their sin and its dreadful consequences. According to the Bible, Jesus is the only one who can do that. We read in Acts 4:12 that “salvation is to be found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
The name “Christ”
While it is possible to simply speak of Jesus, it is also very common to hear him referred to as Jesus Christ. The way the name Christ is added, it almost sounds like it is Jesus’ surname. The name Christ, however, is not a surname. It is a descriptive term. This would come out better if we would speak of him as Jesus the Christ. Since the word “Christ” means “anointed,” you could also say that Jesus is the anointed one. In days gone by, anointing was very common when a new king or priest was appointed. It consisted of pouring oil on someone’s head. This pouring of oil symbolized that one was officially appointed to his task.
How does this apply to Jesus? Remember that we said that he came to deal with sin and restore the broken relationship with God. The Lord Jesus did not simply take this task upon himself. God the Father appointed Him. In Matthew 3:13-17 we can read how the Lord Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Then God spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove. In this way God publicly showed his approval of Jesus as Saviour, as the one who would deliver his people.
Jesus is God’s “only begotten Son”
The third part that needs some words of explanation is how Jesus is said to be God’s only begotten Son. This means that Jesus is God’s unique Son. He is unique in that he is not only truly human but also true God. In the opening verse of the gospel according to John we read that Jesus was God! This is a mindboggling truth, but this is what we learn from the Bible.
This very fact that Jesus Christ is both God and man makes him worthy of worship. Further, the fact that he is God’s own Son makes us realize the depth of God’s love. God so loved the world that he went so far as to send his very own Son in order to bring deliverance from sin (see John 3:16).
If we wish to confess the Jesus of the Bible then we must confess him as both God and man, and we have to see that in Jesus Christ, God came to dwell in the midst of mankind!
Jesus is “Lord”
Christians also speak of Jesus as Lord. A lord is a master, whom you must obey. Jesus is not to be seen or treated as if he were a buddy. It should never be forgotten that even though God’s Son came so very close, there is still a distance. Believers in the early New Testament church humbly called themselves slaves or servants of Christ. In that way they acknowledged he was the ruler of their lives. Being slaves of their Lord did not all bother them at all. The apostle Paul wrote at one point, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Philippians 3:8).
The reason for joy over having Jesus as Lord is seen in that the alternative is having the devil as lord. The devil comes across with nice words, but he is a liar, a deceiver, a murderer. The Lord Jesus is a good master. He described himself as the good Shepherd (John 10). He indeed is Lord, but a Lord who loves and cares so much that he was willing to lay down his life for his sheep. As Lord he does put a yoke upon his followers, but that yoke is light, and it guides to everlasting life. He is a very generous and kind Lord, a benevolent protector and provider. But just the same, as Lord he does demand complete obedience and trust. He does not tolerate unfaithfulness.
Call to Worship
At the beginning it was asked, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ”? We can now ask that question again, but this time against the background of the explanation just given, that is, do you believe Jesus is God’s Son, appointed by God to save his people from their sins? Do you believe Jesus is Lord of your life?
If your answer is Yes, then we call you to join us in worship this coming Sunday and every Sunday. In our worship we praise God for the gift of his only begotten Son. We learn more and more about the beauty of that gift. We also learn more and more how to serve Jesus our Lord.
Should you not yet be ready to answer with a “Yes,” it is our prayer that this brief message will be used to stir your heart to look to Jesus Christ. For, “salvation is to be found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” God’s promise is that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
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