Is he real? Who is he? What does that mean for me?
Let's start with a statement: Jesus is the son of God, who came to Earth as a man, who died to pay the price for ALL the things we do wrong, who rose from the dead and who went back to heaven. Because of what He did, we can have a personal relationship with God, our heavenly father. He did all this because he loves you.
There's quite a lot to unpack there! So let's start with some questions you might have.
Did/does Jesus exist?
There is so much written evidence for the existence and life of Jesus that there is no real debate amongst historians and scholars that He did exist as a man around 2000 years ago. His life is well documented, both in the Bible and in other writings of the time. As Christians, we believe that what is written in the Bible is true, and that Jesus is still alive today. He is sitting with his Father in heaven, still very much interested in people and desperately keen to have a relationship with each one of us.
Both God and man?
Yep. It's a bit of a mind-bender, but Jesus gave up his seat in Heaven to come and dwell as a man in order to complete the amazing plan that God had for repairing the relationship that had been broken between Him and humankind. While he was on Earth, Jesus lived a standard life; he would've experienced happiness, sadness, hunger, excitement, frustration, friendship, family, temptation, humility and all the other things that make us all human. However, He never did the one thing that separates us from God. He never committed a sin.
What's a sin?
Sin is quite an old fashioned word, but it simply means anything that we say or do that goes against the will or plan of God. Because God is perfect, every time we commit a sin it puts a barrier in between us and God. This started at the beginning of creation and it carries on today. The problem is that when something happens that is wrong, there is a price that has to be paid. In human terms, it might be a fine, or a prison sentence. In spiritual terms, a sacrifice needs to be made to put things right.
Aren't sacrifices a bit old fashioned?
We can't argue with that. But when you think about it, we do it all the time. We say we are willing to sacrifice one thing to gain another. However, the bigger the problem, the bigger the sacrifice that is needed. Sin is a huge problem. It prevents us from having that amazing relationship with God that is filled with love, peace, joy, grace, forgiveness, belonging, purpose, family, self-control and much more!
So, Jesus is the solution?
YES! Jesus made himself the ultimate sacrifice. He is the son of God, filled with his power and glory, but he allowed himself to be killed as a sacrifice to pay for the sins that we commit. It was an action that took place around 2000 years ago but it has eternal consequences. You see, Jesus hadn't done anything wrong; he had committed no sin. His sacrifice was for us, not for him.
But if He died, isn't that the end?
You'd think so, but no! You see, as well as paying the price for our sin, Jesus also had to prove that death holds no power over believers. You see, the Devil (or Satan) would love for us to believe that death is the end of everything, but Jesus proved that isn't the case by rising again after three days! This means that we also don't need to be afraid of death any more, because Jesus promises that all who believe in Him will have eternal life!
That's great! Do I need to do anything?
Yes, you do. Jesus died for everyone, but that's not a blanket deal that covers everyone automatically. Because the purpose of Jesus dying was to be able to have a relationship with you, you have to choose Him too. You have to admit that you've done things that are wrong and against God. You have to say sorry, and ask for forgiveness, telling Jesus that you want to live for Him.
What happens then?
God forgives you. Because the price has been paid, your sin is written off and God promises to forget it ever happened. It's like you are a brand new person to Him. This is where the good stuff really begins. Now you can start learning about God's plan for your life. You can learn more about who your heavenly father is and all the amazing things He has already done. Your relationship with him will grow and deepen. You can become part of His church, the expression of His kingdom here on Earth.
It really is just the beginning, and it gets better and better.
Let's do this!
All you need to do is to pray something along the lines of the following (praying is simply you talking directly to God - He's always listening). It doesn't have to be these exact words, but this is quite a good guide:
Lord Jesus Christ, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life (take a few moments to ask his forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience). Please forgive me. I now turn from everything that I know is wrong, and turn towards you.
Thank you that you died on the cross for me, so that I could be forgiven and set free. Thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Spirit.
I now receive that gift. Please come into my life by your Holy Spirit to be with me forever.
Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.
If you've prayed that prayer, we'd love to hear from you and talk to you about what's next. If you don't want to (or can't) talk to us, make sure you seek out someone in a local church that can help you with what's next. Seeking out people who know what you're going through is always helpful, and this is no different. We are designed to be part of a larger group of people who believe, so make sure you find somewhere to plug in!