There were people who heard the Lord Jesus teach and saw him heal and raise the dead, but still they did not believe in him. It seems incredible, until we realise how deceitful men’s hearts can be.
For some in Jesus’ own day it was unthinkable that Christ was God; and today many men and women in the UK think like that. They dismiss it all as ‘religion’.
They’ve never given it a moment’s thought that it could be true, that he rose again the third day. They think that it is something so self-evidently false and absolutely irrelevant and not worth examining.
Some ask the question: ‘Have any leading people gone after Jesus?’ Those who ask are the people who want to know who’s going to your church. They say, ‘Can you name me some sportsman, some member of the Lions or English soccer team who actually believes these things?’ They only want to be where the big names are.
Others in Jesus’ day were full of prejudice. They said, ‘He comes from Galilee’ – end of argument! Nothing good could come from such an obscure place.
Then there was Nicodemus (John 3, 7, 19). He was tactful; he said, ‘Let’s wait a little longer before we come to any conclusion’. He admired Jesus and his followers, but for a long time he remained uncommitted. ‘The jury is still out’, he said.
Think of it! He had heard the Sermon on the Mount. He had seen a beggar blind from birth now seeing better than he, Nicodemus, could. He had looked on Lazarus, alive from the dead.
He had met with Jesus Christ and been impressed by his beautiful character and steely wisdom, but he wanted more, more ‘proof’, more ‘evidence’. He was sitting on the fence. It is amazing how long people will do that.
But others did believe in Christ and committed themselves to him. They said, ‘Surely this man is the prophet … He is the Christ, the Son of the living God . . . My Lord and my God’. These were his disciples.
Jesus has the right to your mind, emotions, will, talents, life, and all that you have and are. Maybe you are thinking at this moment that whoever Jesus was he could not be a simpleton. You’re right! He’s the sanest man this world has ever seen.
Maybe you are thinking that he can’t be evil, he can’t be a con-man, and also preach the Sermon on the Mount? He can’t be so pure and good and ready to lay down his life for others, and yet also tell a string of enormous lies?
Yes, he is God. Jesus is God. The only God there is, is Jesus. He is the outshining of God’s glory with all the attributes of God; and he does what God alone can do.
Maybe you have come to this conclusion after much indecision? God has finally brought you to say, ‘Jesus is the God whom I worship’? If that is the case, you have no right to wait for strange feelings, or for the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end, before acting on it. The moment you know he is God, get down on your knees and worship him!
Bow before him and give him your heart and life. If you know that he is the Son of the living God, then believe on him with your heart and confess him with your lips; and begin to serve him all your life. If you know the truth, then yield to it. That is what characterises a Christian.
Let me underline to you now four things about Jesus Christ. First, no one else ever spoke like him. He spoke words of truth, purity, kindness and compassion. He spoke with divine grace and authority.
And why? He was no ordinary man, but perfect and sinless. He is the ‘God-man’ (Matthew 1:23); ‘God manifest in the flesh’ (1 Timothy 3:16); the eternal ‘Word made flesh’ (John 1:14). He is creator, king and lord of the universe.
Second, no one ever lived like Jesus Christ. His life backed up his words. In lip and life, he was perfectly consistent. He brought healing, comfort and joy to people. His many miracles confirmed his deity. His tender touch declared the love of God.
He liberated women from the abusive treatment of selfish men. He changed hearts. He rejected violence as a method of spreading his message. No life has ever been lived to match the life of Jesus Christ.
Third, no one ever died like Jesus Christ. While his life and preaching angered the religious establishment of his day, nothing could justify the hatred directed at him. He was guilty of no sin. Expressing God’s mercy to us hell-deserving sinners, Jesus, Saviour of the world, died for our sins.
He died ‘the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3:18). In his agonising crucifixion, he breathed nothing but love and kindness to his enemies. Such dying! Such love!
Fourth, no man ever blessed the human race like Jesus Christ. His impact on history is not just the perpetuation of a memory. Jesus rose from the dead; he lives.
The gospel is the greatest blessing the world has ever known. It has brought forgiveness, love, joy and peace. Christ has mended broken hearts and lives. He has given hope to those in despair. Through him, the light of heaven has dispelled the darkness of death.
He has liberated individuals and nations. The gospel has delivered people from ignorance, slavery, poverty and degradation. All that is truly good, noble, pure and beautiful comes from him. How will you respond to Jesus Christ?