“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Over the course of December so far (Advent), we’ve seen a range of Bible verses that point to Jesus Christ and his importance. What is the big fuss? Why do we not only celebrate Jesus’ birth on one day each year, but spend every December looking forward to that day, with lights, decorations, excitement and anticipation?
Because of who Jesus is.
Jesus was not just a good man. He wasn’t just a great teacher. He didn’t just show us how to live a life of love and self-sacrifice.
If you’ve followed these brief posts over the last three weeks, as I’ve picked out a cross-section of Bible references, I would find it incredible if you could avoid the conclusion that Jesus Christ is reported in the Bible as more than just a man.
He is portrayed as God, walking on earth in human form, to save human beings from God’s own judgment for their sin against him. He has the authority of God, and his mission was to provide the only way for us to be reconciled to God. In the Bible, Jesus is shown to have conquered death, to have ascended to heaven, and to have left us with the assurance that he will return to wrap things up.
The things he claimed about himself were staggering. All his followers, from the first disciples through to the present day, urge people to repent and follow him, worshipping him as God, trusting him as Saviour, loving him as a friend.
He is someone who demands a response. He is not someone who can be ignored. He calls us to repent and believe in him, or face an eternity shut away from the comfort of God’s perfect presence.
To treat Jesus, as so many do, as little more than a less colourful Santa Claus – a do-gooder, a magnetic personality, a challenger of hypocrisy, and a lover of social outcasts – is not a viable option. As C.S. Lewis famously said:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity)
After all you’ve seen of Jesus, what is your response to him?