How can you know for certain that Jesus is the Promised Messiah?

How can you know for certain that Jesus is the Promised Messiah?

The Bible is the only prophetic book that has been proven to be reliable for more than 2,000 years. This reliability can be seen both in its historical accuracy and in the way it has revealed the nature of God who exists outside of our understanding of time and space. God, who created the universe and whose interaction with the human race is laid out in 66 books and letters, sees human history from Genesis to Revelation as if it is already completed. That’s why we can trust that the prophecies contained in the Bible accurately describe past and future events. The timing of future events remains a mystery, but because hundreds of past events were predicted with accuracy we can be confident that more than 300 prophesies related to Jesus that were recorded in Biblical texts hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus are accurate and reliable.

Here we will present a few that clearly show that Jesus is the Messiah (or anointed one) who was sent by God to bring salvation to humankind.

Think about it this way for a moment. There are over eight billion people on planet Earth and a vast majority have cell phones. If we want to connect with someone, we start with a country code or area code. That alone cuts down the number of people into a specific geographic area. Then say we ‘dial’ in the next three digits and the field of possibilities greatly shrinks again. Finally, as we dial in the last four numbers we find a person we are looking to talk with. So, with only a total of 10 or 12 numbers we get the person. That’s really amazing.

Using that analogy, we can search the “Biblical prophetic phone directory” and search for the only person in history who could be the Messiah. So, let’s begin the quest and see if we can find Him.

  1. Location. Where this Messiah is to be born is a place called Bethlehem-Ephrata in Israel, a few miles south of Jerusalem. Not Bethlehem, Pa., or the other Bethlehem in northern Israel. This prophecy in Micah 5:2 is like having the country code and area code of the Messiah.
  2. Gender. Male or female? Isaiah 7:14, A virgin will bear a son who will be called Emmanuel, God with us. Now we have reduced the pool of possibilities to all the men who have or will be born in a small town in Israel.
  3. Lineage. Genesis 22:18 & 49:10, the Messiah would be a descendent of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and come from the line of Judah or King David. Both Mary and Joseph were from the line of David.
  4. Timing. When will the Messiah have appeared on the planet? Before 70 A.D. as that’s when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Jesus said that would happen and He spent considerable time at the temple. Mark13:2
  5. How did the Messiah die? Isaiah 53:12 & Psalm 22:16, Romans used crucifixion to kill the condemned. History says Jesus was killed, crucified in 30 A.D. This prophecy was made 700 years before crucifixion was adopted as a method of killing criminals.

So from these prophecies alone, we have identified the place he was born, that Messiah is a male, from the lineage of David, he lived before 70 A.D. and he was crucified by the Romans in 30 A.D. The life and death of Jesus was not only recorded in four separate accounts found in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but also by the Jewish historian Josephus and Roman historian, Tacitus.

Now for the logic and the facts. No one gets to choose the place they are born, their gender or parents or ancestors, what time they would live on the planet and how they would die. And remember these prophecies were made many hundreds of years before the Messiah was born.(Note-He just didn’t appear one day down from the heavens, although He will come again one day that way as He said so himself.)

So, the only person that could possibly fit these few prophecies as Messiah is Jesus Christ. If you are still not convinced, explore other prophecies to convince yourself of this truth. God promises to reveal the Messiah to those who diligently seek Him. Finally, remember life is full of choices but as to eternity, there are only two. Wise men and women still seek Jesus the Messiah for salvation and eternal life. He said so in John 14:16, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me.” Choose wisely.

How does One Become a Christian?

How does One Become a Christian?

Maybe you’ve gone to church when you were younger, but never took that step to become a Christian. Maybe you’ve been living your life your own way and not taking into account what it takes to live life differently, one with meaning and purpose. Man looks on the outside but it’s really our hearts and our character that God is concerned about.

Becoming a Christian requires a decision. In the Bible we read:

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:8-11

Jesus waits patiently for our decision and our heart to be open to receive Him and His love. God responds to genuine humility and sincere acknowledgment that one is a sinner in need of a Savior and seeks God’s forgiveness and acceptance. God is loving and merciful and does not want anyone to be lost.

If becoming a Christian is the desire of your heart, I encourage you to talk to God and voice this simple prayer. You can do this aloud or silently because God hears your heart speaking as well as your mouth. In your own words, admit you are sinner in need of a Savior. Then ask God to help you turn away from your old way of living and thinking. (This is called repentence.) Invite God into your life and promise to follow Him for the rest of your days.

When you pray this sincerely, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit will enter your your mind and heart bringing peace, forgiveness of your sins, and assurance of eternal life with God after you physically die.
When you seek God’s forgiveness for your sin and acknowledge Jesus as your savior, you become a child of God. In effect, you become ‘born again’, a new creation in Christ and enter into a personal relationship with Him. The old life will have passed away and a new life will begin. Will everything in this life suddenly become perfect? No. But how you see and react to your circumstances and the people around you will change for the better.

Giving your life to Jesus is the most important decision you can ever make. Eternity hangs in the balance; heaven or hell. Today is the day of decision.

 

Why are Orthodox churches celebrating Easter this Sunday?

Why are Orthodox churches celebrating Easter this Sunday?

The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is the most important day in the Christian calendar. That day differs in the western Christian tradition and among churches in areas of the world that have been influenced by the eastern or Orthodox tradition.

It all goes back to the Roman Empire and a division that took place one thousand years ago between Rome in the West and Constantinople in the East, the two capitals of the empire. Following the split of the government, church leaders aligned themselves with the respective governments. In what has been described as the Great Schism of 1054, the Pope-led Catholic Church in Rome excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople, leader of the Orthodox Church, who in turn excommunicated the Pope. Though now separate, the two churches agreed that believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection and acknowledging Christ as savior was central to Christianity.

For the next 500 years everyone in Christianity used the same Julian calendar and set of rules to celebrate Easter after Jewish Passover which was dictated by the Jewish lunar calendar. The problem of two dates for Easter cropped up after countries in Europe began adopting the Gregorian calendar that more accurately accounts for the vernal equinox and summer and winter solstices. The Catholic church began using the new calendar, but Orthodox churches did not even after the countries in which they were situated made the switch. So, Orthodox churches around the world will celebrate Easter this Sunday. In many countries, Egypt, for example, most non-orthodox churches follow the lead of their local Orthodox churches and celebrate Easter at the same time.

For millions of Christians, this is the week they end their 40 days of Lent. This is the week they commemorate the betrayal, trials and crucifixion of Jesus. On Sunday, they will celebrate the resurrection just as hundreds of millions of Christians did three weeks ago. The next time all Christianity will celebrate Easter on the same day will be in 2034.

Do you celebrate Easter? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you’re not sure or would like to know more about Jesus, please contact us. We would love to talk with you about how you can enjoy a renewed life and assurance of where you will spend eternity.

What does it mean to glorify God?

What does it mean to glorify God?

To glorify God means to recognize and talk about his magnificent and unfathomable attributes as creator of the universe and all life forms on planet Earth. Those attributes include his majesty, holiness, grace, love, omnipotence, omniscience to name just a few. Glorifying God also includes loving God, keeping his covenants and obeying his commands. This said, we will take a look at specific references to bringing glory to God from the Scriptures.

We need to first look at God’s glory as defined in Isaiah 6:3. It says, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Psalm 19:1 says: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” And in Romans 1:20 we read: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

God created the world in all its splendor and beauty for His glory so He could communicate His glory to us and draw us to Him. Isaiah 43:6 says, “Bring my daughters and my sons from afar, everyone whom I have created for my glory.”

As you can see, God’s desire is to draw all men to himself. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are told to shine their light before men reflecting his glory so men may look to him and discover the salvation he offers only in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”

The Westminster Catechism written in the 1600’s to clarify the Christian faith asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “A Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” It is very clear from the Bible that we are to be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions and be about glorifying God and not glorifying self!

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Few events in antiquity are as well documented as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity.

Consider this: there were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried. The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were expert at the art of death. Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected. But unlike others who were raised from the dead only to die again at a future date, Jesus was very much alive when he departed this earth in front of witnesses. He was and is alive today, but not in the human form in which he lived 2,000 years ago.

Today, Jesus reigns with His father, God, in heaven and is preparing a place for every believer to join Him there. But one doesn’t have to wait for the end of life on earth to encounter Jesus, because when he departed he promised to send his Spirit to serve as advocate, counselor, and comforter to those who believe in the resurrected Jesus and sincerely ask him to be his or her savior.

Jesus, who has the power and authority to hold together every atom in the universe, is the same Jesus who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected to declare his power to triumph over death. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Are you ready to meet him in this world or the next? If you would like to learn more, please visit our Next Steps page.

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week in the Christian Calendar and marks the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered and waved palm branches. Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.

That’s why, when Jesus approached the City of David riding on a donkey it seemed to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
Zechariah 9:9

As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:10

The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.

Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal live to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.