By Emmanuel Many
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”John 3:16 (NKJV)
Many people have come to Jesus for selfish reasons and these will often fail miserably. Following Christ is a dedicated response to God’s unfailing love. It may involve suffering for making the right choice
Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod. King Herod sought to kill him because he thought Jesus, who was born king of the Jews, would soon be enthroned as king. Herod’s thinking was only inclined on earthly kingship. This time, this son of David was not a limited king on earth. He was the son of God in human form. God sent him to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Indeed, he was also born king of the Jews, the shepherd of His people Israel.
King Herod’s attempt to destroy Jesus was futile, for God was with him. In his conversation with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, Jesus affirmed, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. It’s not surprising therefore that King Herod failed to recognise the birth of the saviour of the world and instead thought he could destroy him.
God sent his son into the world so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16-21). Jesus was the perfect Son of God who alone could atone for the sins of the world. He bore our sins and died in our place. The suffering and punishment he went through was ours, but He chose to bear it all so that we may be saved.
Those who do not believe in the only begotten son are already condemned. They have loved darkness more than light because they’re evil. Every one practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light (John 3:18-21). The Pharisees and chief priests had been separated from God for a long time because of their evil hearts. They had ceased to put God first but were instead more concerned about themselves. When Jesus came, they did not believe him. Like other rebels they had loved darkness and did not believe in Christ. They instead sought to kill him. But no one laid a hand on him until the final time for him to be tortured and crucified for our salvation.
Before the coming of Christ, God sent a man, John the Baptist to announce to the world that it was the time for the coming of the Lord. He was sent to be a witness of Christ, through whom all people would be saved by faith (John 1:6-9). When John saw Jesus coming to him to be baptised, he said, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”! When Nicodemus came to Jesus one night, Jesus said to him, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God!” He further said, “Unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” John 3:3-5. There is life eternal for everyone who believes in God through Christ, and continually obeys His word (John 5:24).
To reject Jesus is like refusing to eat. When someone refuses to eat their body shuts down and dies. This need to eat-to-live is the same way we need Christ in order to live forever. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; no one can reach God except through Him (John 14:6). Through Him all who believe are reconciled with God. He sets them free from the bondage of sin and gives them abundant life (John 10:9-10). He takes away our sin which brought condemnation and gives us new life through faith in Him, so that we may not die, but have eternal life (John 3:16-35).
Both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled in Christ through faith, as one flock and one shepherd. Christ is their good shepherd (John 10:16). Jesus came as the light of the world so that whoever believes in him should not continue living in darkness (John 12:46). He who rejects Him will be judged by the very words of Christ on the judgement day (John 12:48).
Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who sold Him to His enemies for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-15). Very many Jews, chief priests and Pharisees did not know God in their hearts. They feared every one would believe in Christ and this would lead the Romans to come and take away both their place and their nation (John 11:48). They highly considered their place because they put themselves and their nation first instead of God. They did not know the God they served. Although it was the time God had appointed to accomplish His purpose of reconciliation by allowing his precious son to be crucified, the high priests and the Pharisees remained at the wrong side because they had not given their hearts to God.
When the God-appointed time came, He delivered Jesus into His enemies’ hands and they crucified Him. Jesus died on the cross for all sinners so that they may live by his death. He rose on the third day according to the word of God and appeared to many people including his disciples. He ascended into heaven after promising His disciples the Holy Spirit, who would give them the power to bear witness for Him in Jerusalem, in all Judea, Samaria and the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
The chief priests, pharisees and all the camp of the rebels thought life would be better without Jesus. They had got it wrong! Today, people have been deceived that life without Jesus is more celebrated. They are simply repeating the same mistake.
Do not be like those girls who used to write in newspapers, “I am 24, Ugandan and I am looking for a marriage partner, and must be a Muzungu (from the Western World). Obviously then you would know what the girls wanted! Many people have come to Jesus for selfish reasons and these will often fail miserably. Following Christ is a dedicated response to God’s unfailing love. It may involve suffering for making the right choice.
Next: Fruits of Revival Continued. Stay Connected.