Christ died for our sins. . . He was buried. . . He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures . . . He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred . . .” -1 Corinthians 15:3-6
As a child, and admittedly throughout my adult years, watching the reenactment of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion raises questions. Why did Jesus have to go through the fire of betrayal and agonizing suffering? Out of all the people, why Jesus? Although I know the answer, it’s still difficult sometimes to wrap the depths of God’s love for us—for me—around one’s heart and head. That Jesus willingly endured such shame and torture and then died in my place leaves me in awe (see Heb. 12:2).
We have all failed to obey God’s laws and are guilty of doing wrong (Rom. 3:23). Because of this, we have been separated from the holy God. The penalty of our sin is death (Rom. 6:23). We can do nothing by ourselves to be united with God. His offer of salvation and fellowship is a free gift that we receive in Christ through faith: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Is Jesus the Only Way to God?
“I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” -John 10:7-10 (MSG)
That Jesus is the only way to God is probably Christianity’s most controversial claim. It would be absurd for Christians to stand on this premise if Jesus didn’t claim it Himself. If the Gospels are historically reliable—which there is abundant evidence they are—then we have Jesus’ words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (Jn. 14:6). As unpopular as this statement may be for some, there really isn’t wiggle room for debate. Jesus goes on further and states: “Whoever rejects You (God the Father) rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me, rejects the One who sent Me,” (Lk. 10:16). Jesus clarifies: There is no other path to God. “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins,” (Jn. 8:24). So if we want to follow Christ, we must accept what He said about Himself.
How is Jesus different from other religious figures? While no other major world religious founder claimed to be God, Jesus affirmed this claim (Mk. 14:61-64; Jn. 10:30-34). What would be the evidence to prove He is God? The confirmation, Jesus said, would be His resurrection from the dead (Mt. 12:38-42; Mk. 14:28). Jesus provided the ultimate evidence for His unique claims.
Jesus—God’s unique Son—was more than just a man. Because He never sinned, He alone can bridge the gap between sinful mankind and the sinless God. When Jesus freely offered His life for us by dying on the cross in our place, He took all of our wrongs (past, present and future) upon Himself and in exchange offers us His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). In so doing, He made a way to save us from the consequences of our sin, which includes God’s judgment and death (Rom. 5:8-10). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is proof that His substitutionary sacrifice was acceptable to God. We celebrate His resurrection—especially on Easter—because it is the source of new life for all who believe that He is God’s Son (Jn. 3:16).
What evidence is there of Jesus’ resurrection?
Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection (Apologetics Study Bible for Students)
- First-century Jews, Romans and Christians all agreed that Jesus’ tomb was empty.
- More than 500 people saw the risen Jesus (1 Co. 15:6). Many saw Him more than once and sometimes in groups of hundreds of people.
- Only the true resurrection of Jesus could account for the changed lives and beliefs of people like Saul (Paul), Jesus’ earthly brother, James, or the disciples.
- Jesus’ resurrection explains how the church spread rapidly against all odds and against hostility.
- All but one of Jesus’ disciples died martyr’s deaths because they taught that Jesus was resurrected. None of them renounced belief in the resurrection.
How Can I Become God’s Child and Receive Forgiveness and Eternal Life?
Salvation is not dependent upon our emotions, nor does it stand alone on intellectual agreement. Receiving Christ is as an act of the will through faith. Repentance involves removing self from the throne to placing God on the throne of one’s life. Like receiving and unwrapping a gift, we must act to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. It’s an individual choice. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (Jn. 1:12). Only then can we know and experience God’s love and purpose for our lives.
For forgiveness of sin and to enter a relationship with God, we must acknowledge our sin and confess Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:8-10). When we receive Christ, we experience a new spiritual birth (John 3:1-8) and live in union with Him.
The following prayer is an example. However, God isn’t as concerned about words as He is with the attitude of the heart: “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross in my place. Please cleanse me of my sin and come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for giving me eternal life and forgiving my sins. Help me to be the person you desire.”
I would love to hear from you if you took this step of faith. Wishing you a wonderful Easter!