Who Needs Jesus?

Dark clouds reflect off the damp sand on Pringle Bay Beach, South Africa

Someone once asked me why she should believe in Jesus.
“Because, well, He died for our sins… You know… on the Cross…”
She wasn’t convinced. Because what does that even mean?

I guess I have to ask myself two important questions:

Was Jesus who He claimed to be?
And how does that impact my life?

But let me slow down a bit. I need to get some technicalities out of the way.
Jesus was a Jewish man who lived in 1st Century Palestine. There is pretty reliable non-Christian information to support his existence.
We can safely assume that whoever he was, he was most certainly a man of influence. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing these words right now.

So for a moment let’s forget what we think we know about this man. Forget those Christmas card pictures of Mary and Joseph in the stable. Forget the pretty statues in Church of the handsome, wavy haired, blue-eyed Jesus.
Rather, picture calloused hands from years of hard labour, rugged Israeli features from living in the hot, dry Palestinian climate and consider the fact that he would be speaking Aramaic.

Imagine this man, a carpenter, began to say that he was God.
He was either:
Insane
A liar
Or he was God.

Now, this is not a theology class (see what I did there?) so I don’t want to get too technical. There are plenty of resources online that show how Jesus in the Gospels equates himself to God.
What I am interested in examining in this post is this “dying for our sins” business and what that means to me.
_________________________________________

Sometimes I want to shout, “It’s not fair!”

We’re told that we are guilty of original sin from the moment we are conceived. That mankind is “cursed”. I didn’t ask to be born, and now I am thrown into this tumultuous life and then told that I am bad and that it is all my fault and that if I don’t get my act together I am going to hell.

Seems like a raw deal.

But I was born and I need to make sense of that.

I look at the world around me and I see war, famine, natural disasters, starving children, rape and murder… The list is endless.
The world is cruel. Seeing as I have already established I believe in God, I am put in a tight spot. Either God is a tyrant or something is horribly wrong with the world.

Sometimes I like to replace the word Sin with the word Suffering because people tend to switch off when they hear the word “Sin”. Now I know they are not technically the same thing but I think it’s safe to say that when people do BAD things to each other (sin), people suffer. Therefore suffering is a result of sin (bad stuff).

Every person who is born into this world is capable of great good and great evil. We have that choice. There just seems to be a tendency to choose evil. I choose things for my own benefit. I’m selfish.

So where does Jesus fit into all of this?
If he was God, then why did he die? Why did he allow himself to die?
The way I see it is that almost all of the pain and anguish in the world is our fault. We cause it. I don’t know why we do it but we do. This is an undeniable fact.
Now if God loves us, He’d want to do something about this. He would want to save us from ourselves. He could destroy the world. Good riddance. Or He could find a way to redeem us; To make things new again.

Enter Jesus. God Man. He came into the world and said, “Let me have it; all the pain, all the suffering, the anguish, the torment. I will take it. I can take it.”

So mankind betrayed him, deserted him, condemned him, tortured him and killed him.
And if Jesus was just a good man with wise teachings, the story should have ended there.
But here I am, in 2014, writing a blog about a man who lived… well, 2000 years ago.
God takes it all, dies with it and then rises from the dead to show that all of our “sin”, our “suffering”, is healed in Him.

It is a message of hope. Good News. I can’t say that I’ve completely understood it or grasped it. That may never happen in this lifetime but I do believe it to be tremendously important.

I can look at my own life: leaving my home country at age 12 and becoming stateless, crippling anxiety and fears, depression, the death of my father, in all these things I can look to  Jesus and see a God who knows what it is like to suffer and who shows me that there is always hope, there is always redemption. My suffering, the world’s suffering can no longer be meaningless.
So when I hear that Jesus died for our sins, the sins of the world, I don’t think about the time I lied to my mother about breaking the computer, or when I bunked maths class. I think about when I’ve betrayed loved ones by not being there for them when they needed me most, I think about how I’ve judged people who were innocent, I think about the wars in the world and the killing of children, rape, genocide… THAT is what Jesus died to save us from. THOSE are our sins. But Jesus’s death is not about telling us how bad we are, it is about telling us that there is hope even in the darkest depths of humanity. And so I can hope for the world. I can hope for the homeless man I see everyday at the traffic lights. I can hope for the prisoners, the victims of crime, for countries, for politicians, for mothers, for fathers, for children, the climate,  and for myself.

For me being a Christian is not about being good. It’s not about following rules. It’s about hope. It’s about redemption from and in suffering. That even though I am not perfect, that I mess up and sometimes life seems too much to bear, I have a second chance in Jesus my God because he doesn’t want to leave me with no way out of this fallen world.

So why should you believe in Jesus?

Well, can you carry your pain by yourself?

A red balloon floats off into the blue sky in Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Who Needs Jesus?

  1. Jesus did not die for all the people, He only died for those people who believed. You have to remember that there are different kinds of people, biblically speaking: one, people who are really a children of God; two, people who were born to be a beast ; three, people who are children of the devil ; four, people who were or are deceived , by the devil, by their pastors, by their ministers, by their priests up to their very end ; five, people who refused to follow the Will of the Father, instead they make their own rules ; six, people who are wicked.
    So , only to these people who are really called children of God , where Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins and whose sins are forgiven, the rest are still in the congregation of the dead.
    And another thing, whoever told you that you were born with original sin, please kindly and gently, whack his head with a bible.
    What is the ORIGINAL SIN committed by Adam and Eve? Is it not that Eve plucked and ate the forbidden fruit, and gave some to Adam? And what is the sin of Adam ? Is it not that he turned his ear from hearing God and start to listen to his wife, and ate the fruit? That is the original sin. So how can a baby who is a boy, committed an original sin, when he had no wife yet to listen into , and cannot yet eat a fruit, cause he still a baby? And if a baby is a girl, how can she committed an original sin, when the tree of knowledge of good and evil can knowhere be found in our present time, and she had no capability to eat a fruit also, cause she is still a baby.

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    • Thanks for the comment.
      I have to respectfully disagree with you I am afraid and say that I believe Jesus died for everyone. And I believe God is infinitely merciful. And so I can hope.
      As for Original Sin… I am still to really get my head around it except to say that the world is in a fallen
      state and that we all have a propensity to choose evil.
      Thanks again for reading! I appreciate it.

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      • I really like to give you the deep things of God, but since you are a catholic, i am at difficulty to give you that, since you still believe that the God the Father , the Son, and the Holy spirit are one and the same. But in the bible, they are different and separated entities. but i will try gently to expose you to a different philosophy or level of understanding.
        You were not able to answer correctly the question of :
        “If He was God, then why did he die ? why did He allow himself to die?”
        The answers are these :
        “i will establish MY COVENANT between ME and THEE and THY SEED AFTER THEE i their generation for an EVERLASTING COVENANT, to be A GOD UNTO THEE, and to THY SEED AFTER THEE”–Genesis 17:7

        And HE DECLARED UNTO YOU HIS COVENANT, which he commanded you to perform, even TEN COMMANDMENTS ; And HE WROTE them upon TWO TABLES OF STONE.–Deu .4:13

        THE ANNULMENT OF THE COVENANT WITH MOSES :
        “And the Lord said unto me, a CONSPIRACY is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
        They are turned back to their iniquities of their forefathers, which REFUSED TO HEAR MY WORDS : And they went after other gods to serve them.
        The House of Israel and the House of Judah HAVE BROKEN MY COVENANT which I made with their fathers.”–Jeremiah 11:10-12

        “And I took my staff GRACE, and I BROKE IT, ANNULLING THE COVENANT which i had made with all the people. So it was ANNULLED ON THAT DAY…”
        ZECHARIAH 11:10-11

        “Behold, the DAYS COME, saith the Lord, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL and with THE HOUSE OF JUDAH.”—-JEREMIAH 31;31-34

        THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW COVENANT ;
        ”For if the FIRST COVENANT had been FAULTLESS, then should no place have been sought for THE SECOND”—-Hebrew 8:7

        ”THIS IS THE DAY which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it…”—Psalms 118:24

        ”TODAY if ye will hear his voice, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART..”–Psalms 95:7-8

        ‘ I WILL RANSOM THEM FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE ; I WILL REDEEM THEM FROM DEATH :”—Hosea 13:14

        “FOR I CAME DOWN from heaven, not to do mine own will, BUT THE WILL OF HIM THAT SENT ME’–John 6;38

        “FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR REMISSION OF SINS”–Matthew 26;28

        “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; HE hath put him to grief : when thou SHALL MAKE HIS SOUL AN OFFERING FOR SIN,…”–Isaiah 53:10

        “…BECAUSE HE HATH POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH : and HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS ; and HE BARE THE SIN OF MANY, and MADE INTERCESSION FOR THE TRANSGRESSOR”– Isaiah 53:12

        “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the DEATH OF THE TESTATOR”—Hebrews 9:16

        I PRAY TO GOD THE FATHER that you now fully understand the reason why Christ Jesus must die.

        TO GOD BE THE GLORY

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      • @esinclair124 – I am afraid I don’t fully understand what you are getting at to be honest? I think you may have misunderstood what I was saying in my blog? Yes, I believe in the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct persons but still ONE God. Are you saying you don’t believe in the Trinity?

        I think we are also approaching this from different angles. I understand what you are trying to do with the Biblical references but my point was to try and clarify what could scripture mean when it says that Christ needed to “bare our sins” What does this mean to us today? For so many people they are just words with no meaning. Jesus died for you. We’ve heard it OVER and OVER again.

        I am trying to wrap my head around what God (Christ) dying on the Cross signifies for me – and as I say in my post, I believe it is about love and suffering. Sin causes suffering, Christ took on all our pain, our brokenness, our sin – the sins of the world – behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world – He died for all, once and for all and died with all of our sin (our brokenness, our fallen nature, our sufferings) and rose to new life to show us that he has conquered the world – It’s up to us to respond to the grace that flows from the cross, God can’t force us to do that.

        I happy to enter in discussion about this with you, but the problem is we have a different starting point.
        I assume you believe scripture is the inspired Word of God. So do I. However, I don’t believe that it contains everything we need to live out our Christian lives as it needs to be interpreted. Scripture itself does not tell us to only use scripture and so I turn to the Church and to the Church Father’s for those things which scripture may not fully elaborate on (like the Trinity for example)

        So, with our different bases of understanding, it may be impossible to discuss this topic.

        God bless you.

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  4. NO!…I don’t believed in the doctrine of trinity.TRINITY is a doctrine created by Roman Catholic Church. Jesus Christ nor the Apostles had not taught this doctrine, especially the Apostle Paul..
    The doctrine of Trinity state that :,” the three persons are equal to each other. No one is higher than the other”. But Jesus Christ teaches otherwise.

    He said, ” I go unto The Father: for my Father is GREATER than I”–John 14:28
    And another one is :

    “My Father, which gave them me, is GREATER THAN ALL ;..”-John 10:29

    That mean to say, that the Father {in heaven, not the one in Rome] is greater than real Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
    And what about the real Jesus Christ, is he greater than the Holy Spirit?
    “Nevertheless I TELL YOU THE TRUTH ; It is expedient for you THAT I GO AWAY: for if I go NOT away, the COMFORTER will not come unto you; but if I depart, I WILL SEND HIM unto you.”-John 16:7

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is NOT greater than his lord ; NEITHER he that IS SENT GREATER THAN he that sent him”-John 13:16

    As you can see how differ the teaching of the real JESUS CHRIST to the teaching of the Catholic Church. And the truth of the matter is, if you really believe in the bible to be an inspired word of God, you should have more to believe what Jesus Christ teaches us, not to the doctrines invented by Catholic church. And another thing,Catholics are really Christians, but really pagans, that is the truth. I pray that this will not going to offend you, but as an eye opener.
    You see, REAL Christians, do not worship woods, stone, etc. And REAL Christians, do not considered Mary as god, as Catholics do. And REAL Christians are not waiting anymore for the Kingdom of God to come, because The Kingdom of God was already here , 2000 years ago. All would be Christians have to do is to SEEK IT, and to help you finding it, all you have to do is to eliminate the churches of : Catholics ,Protestant, England , Jehovah’s Witness, all denomination of Mormons, so called Born Again,Orthodox , Muslim, Shinto, Buddha,and the like. Eliminate them in your search.
    Look for the Church, where the name of God is attached. I will give you an idea, it is called The CHURCH OF GOD, that is written in the bible. There are at least a hundred of them that uses these title. The second thing you have to do , is listen to their doctrines, if they had a doctrine that is not written in the bible, eliminate that church in your list.
    “PROVE ALL THINGS”-1 Thessalonians 5:21
    “Beloved, BELIEVE NOT every spirit, but TRY THE SPIRITS whether they are of God : Because MANY FALSE PROPHETS are gone out into the world.”–1 John 4:1
    I pray to God that you will not harden your heart. As the real Jesus Christ said;
    The Words that I speak unto you, THEY are SPIRIT, and they are LIFE”- John 6:63
    “TODAY if ye will hear His voice, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART, as in the provocation and as in the Day of Temptation in the WIlderness”-Psalms 95:7-8
    And another advise of the real Jesus Christ are these:
    “NOT EVERYONE that saith unto me, Lord,Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven ; But he that DOETH the WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven”– Matthew 7:21
    “And WHY call me LORD, LORD, and DO NOT the things which I SAY?–Luke 6:46
    If you want some more information to ask, please do so,and I will answer you what is written in the bible.

    TO GOD BE THE GLORY

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    • I appreciate you sincerity.

      I have a few questions for you:

      1) How do you know the Bible is the inspired word of God?

      2) Why does Jesus say, “If you have seen me then you have seen the Father?”

      3) Why does the Gospel of John start “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”? Christ was the Word made Flesh, was he not?

      4) . Have you ever actually read what the Catholic Church teaches on all these issues you bring up? For example “Mary being God”, and “worshiping statues” etc. I think if you did some reading you’d find you are gravely mistaken in what you think the Catholic Church teaches.

      On the topic of the Kingdom, you are mistaken once again. Catholics believe God’s kingdom has come, that it exists in each mans heart but also exists outside of time and that it will come into its fullness when Jesus returns in glory.

      Please take a moment and read this post written by a dear friend of mine:
      http://anchorsandlilies.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/what-catholics-dont-believe/

      Peace be with you, brother.

      Feel free to email me : filmseb@gmail.com

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  5. These are the answers to your questions :
    1) Because Apostle Paul said so : He said ;
    ” ALL Scripture is given by INSPIRATION OF GOD , and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION , for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto ALL GOOD WORKS.”–2 TIM. 3:16-17
    And I have to believe Apostle Paul, because the real Jesus Christ appointed him to be the Apostle of the Gentile.(Acts 9:15 ; 2Cor. 1:1 ; Romans 11:13 ; Galatians 1:1 )
    2) Because Phillip’s request was impossible for Christ to do. Because it was written “Who had only IMMORTALITY, dwelling in the light WHICH NO MAN can approach unto; WHOM NO MAN HATH SEEN, NOR CAN SEE: to whom be honour and power everlasting”-(1 Tim. 6:16) So what Jesus Christ did, He just told Phillip that when he sees Jesus Christ ,he also had seen The Father. Cause it was written : “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the EXPRESS IMAGE of His person”-(Hebrews 1:3)(2Cor.4:4 ; Colossians 1:15)
    3) Because John started to introduce Christ , His beginning, before He came to this world. John was telling us that the beginning of Christ , that His name is the Word.
    Please take note that ” the Word was with another God”. And also consider that a Son of God is also called God, likewise an offspring of a crocodile is also called a crocodile, an offspring of a bird is also called a bird.
    4)How can I be mistaken, I used to be a member of The Knight of Columbus, And do you know what the K of C job is, Is to protect Mary , it’s legacy. And do you know how they address Mary, they address her as god. Go to Mexico, watch how they address Mary, go to Guatemala, go to Brazil, Colombia, Spain , The Philippines, there Catholic members address Mary as god.
    Before, the Catholic churches uses the word “THEOTOKOS” in Latin it means “MATER DEI” in English it means “GOD BEARER ; BIRTH GIVER OF GOD”.
    The Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox, Western Catholic Church only addresses Mary as “MARY , THE MOTHER OF JESUS”.
    But the Roman Catholics and Anglicans used to address her as “GOD BEARER, and THE ONE WHO GIVES BIRTH TO GOD” ,but as time pass by they started to gave her the title ” MOTHER OF GOD”. It is more than “THEOTOKOS” The council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is THEOTOKOS because her son Jesus is both God and man, ONE DIVINE PERSON with TWO NATURES (Divine and Human) INTIMATELY, HYPOSTATICALLY UNITED. As it approached 20th century, another title of Mary was gradually introduced , “god Mary, the mother of God”.

    I hope these answers satisfied your curiosity . If you have a follow ups or questions, I am just glad to answer it, with the help of God the Father.

    TO GOD BE THE GLORY

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  6. RE: “Scripture itself DOES NOT TELL US TO ONLY USE SCRIPTURE”…

    But there was a disciplined imposed by Apostle Paul to already Christians and to would be Christians. It is not a suggestion but a commandment.

    ” I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit ,brethren, that you may learn by us NOT TO GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another” (1 Cor. 4:6)
    RSV Catholic Edition , NRSV Catholic Edition ; other versions (ISV, NCV, NIV, NIVUK, NRSV, NRSV Anglican, NASB…)

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    • Yes, but you cannot use scripture to prove that scripture is inspired! It is only within a Church – a community of believers with a history dating back to Christ, that scripture finds its home.

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  7. With that comment of yours, I am wondering at this moment, figuring out and wanted to know , what kind of logic you are using, Is it a logic of a 6yrs old or 12yrs old, or 18yrs old person? Nowhere at this very moment that I perceive that I am having a conversation with an adult person.
    You see, you talked about God, about Jesus Christ, about The Holy Spirit, and about Mary. And you talked about the Church to which you say you belong, ALL OF THESE ,FYI, except the name of the church, are taken from the scripture . A SCRIPTURE that all so called Christians BELIEVED IN .The very church to which you belong to, believed also, that the Scripture was inspired by God,(READ CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH). And here you are who profess to be a Catholic but do not believe that the SCRIPTURE is inspired by God. That only proves one thing, that you are not a member of a Catholic Church, nor you’re Christian I suggest at that you take time reading the book “CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH promulgated by John Paul II , Impremi Potest by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger” This book is the Holy Grill of faith of the Catholic Church.
    Read Chapter Two, article 3 “Sacred Sacrifice” ; section 2 ” Inspiration and truth of Sacred Scripture”
    READ IT..So you will not stay an ignoramus about your Church and of it’s Doctrine .

    Good day to you.

    Like

    • You have missed my point entirely. I don’t appreciate being called an ignoramus (FYI).

      Firstly, no where did I say that I don’t believe scripture is inspired. I do.

      My point is that you cannot prove that it is inspired by using scripture. If that were the case I could take any old book and say, “This book is inspired!” . We know scripture is inspired because the CHURCH tells us it is inspired. Take the gospels as a historic account of a man named Jesus. If we read it as such we start to get a picture of a man who claimed to be God. This book claims he performed miracles and that he started a Church built on the apostles. Then, if we look at history we see that indeed, there is a Church that has existed since the time of Jesus and it claims and unbroken line back to the first apostles. This Church claims that Scripture is inspired. From here, I can decide whether to believe them or not but if I had just discovered a bible and read it without any help from the Church or someone to explain it, I’d have been completely lost. I wouldn’t know it were just a fable or epic story. We need the Church to interpret scripture for us.

      So, as much I believe you are motivated by good intentions, please do not patronize me by telling me that I do not know what my own Faith believes.

      Ultimately, what matters, is Love. If I have Faith but do not have Love – I am nothing (says Paul).

      Pax Christi, brother.

      Like

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