We want you to listen carefully to the greatest story every recorded. It is not a fairy tale or a fable, for the story of Jesus has been documented by not only reliable New Testament writers but by major historians as well. It is a story that can be exciting to you and might possibly change your life. Jesus was born in the year 4 B.C., in the city of David, Bethlehem. He was born of the virgin Mary, fathered in her by the Holy Spirit of God. Angels announced to the world in beautiful song, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased. One angel in particular announced to them, "Behold I bring you good news of great joy, for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord." Thus the shepherds were invited to pay homage to the new King. Wise men were called from afar by the shining of a glorious star. Later old Simeon and old Anna saw their life's ambition come to pass as they viewed the new child, the Savior, as God had promised them they would before they died.
Jesus was raised in the small rural town of Nazareth, where His adoptive father, Joseph, taught him to use the tools of a carpenter. It was hard work, work requiring much manual labor, skill, an eye for construction and body that could bear up to hours of sweating in the hot sun. It produced hands made coarse from touching rough wood. For many years Jesus worked in the trade of being a carpenter.
At the age of 30 Jesus sought out John the Baptist, at first John refused to baptize Jesus saying, that he felt unworthy to touch even the sandals of the Son of God. As Jesus was coming up from the waters of Jordan, a voice spoke from Heaven, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Jesus went into the wilderness, to allow Satan to tempt Him just as Satan tempts us today. For forty days Jesus fasted and then beat down the foe, Satan, with his powerful knowledge of God's will. As He came down from the hills, He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he walked, talked, and lived among men for three years.
John wrote in his gospel (20:30) "Now Jesus did many other signs ill the presence of the disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these were written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." And John recorded that Jesus raised the dead to live again, made the blind to see, made the lame to walk, cast out demons, made food for five thousand from a few loaves of bread and a few fish, stilled the seas during a storm, and walked upon water. Yet even these displays of power did not convince the Jews to whom
God sent the Son as a Savior and King. Instead they sought to kill Him.
On a Thursday night, Jesus met with his apostles, in the city of Jerusalem, to take the Passover meal with them. It was here on a solemn occasion, that Jesus told them He must soon die. That it was God's will that He give His life for His friends. He drank wine and broke bread with them, and told them, to remember Him when they did this from that time forward, to be reminded of His death and His promise to come again to take His own to a place He was going to prepare for them.
Later that night He spent time in the garden of Gethsemane to pray with and seek comfort from the company of His Father. His prayer was ended by the clamor of swords and the shouts of angry men sent to arrest Him. Around midnight Jesus was arrested and sent to trial. On tramped up charges, the Jewish authorities tried the Lord in an illegal, night-time trial. They had Him beaten, spit upon, slapped, and humiliated Him. That was not enough, they wanted Him to die. In the early morning they carried Jesus to the Governor of Judea, Pontus Pilate. After hearing His case, Pilate could find no charge against Jesus, but the authorities of the Jews demanded the death of the man of Nazareth. Pilate had Him scourged, stripped, mocked, hoping that would appease the crowd, finally sending Him to Herod, where again He was beaten, and shamed. But, at last Pilate had to give in to the cry of the crowd, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him."
Sometime that Friday morning, Jesus was placed on a wooden cross and knees were sunk into Him arms, a cold nail was placed on his wrist and driven with force through skin and muscle, pinning Him to the cross. It was not those nails that held Him to the cross, nor was it the fear of the Roman swords, but it was His love for you and me. Hours of agony, unable to breath, pain that was unbearable, body moisture drained, taunts and jeers from the crowd, and worse, He became sin for you and I and His
Father in Heaven forsook Him. Jesus died, yet in dying His power was proclaimed, the skies darkened and the dead walked, an earthquake split the temple and shook Jerusalem. They buried Him before 6:00 that Friday and laid Him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, the Jews insisted on a guard of soldiers to keep anyone from stealing the body. But on that Sunday morning, Jesus rose from the dead, the action of power that none can dispute came only from God the Father.
He appeared to Mary, to Peter and the apostles later to 500 at one gathering. At last He stood on a hill and angels watched as He began to ascend into Heaven, as He rose, He said to his apostles, "Go everywhere and tell the good news." Jesus can be your Savior. He wants you to belong to Him. He gave His life for you. He promised to return again. When He returns He wants to take those who love and are obedient to His will to live with Him for all eternity. When He returns He will destroy and condemn to the fires of hell those who do not love Him or have not obeyed His will. Jesus can be your friend, a wonderful loving friend, or he can be the worse enemy you have in all eternity. He wants to help you.
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