Basics is a series of short and hopefully easy to understand sessions, looking at some of the basics of the Christian faith. This isn't a section about proving things or arguing things - we have a section for that called 'Questions'...
Acts 10.38 - God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Jesus - did you know that he was a real person and not just a swear word that people use!
But who was Jesus and why do people say that he is still alive?
Some of this is quite hard to understand but if you ask Jesus to speak to you, he will and in just the way that you need to hear!
Maybe a video or a poem will help...
Here's a video and a poem about Jesus which will give you some kind of idea who he was. Then we'll look at this in a bit more detail and see what we can learn!
Youtube Video - One Solitary Life (read by Bing Crosby)
Direct link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC2vHke_dvo
'One Solitary Life' poem about Jesus
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
Who Is Jesus?
First, we need to know that Jesus is the Son of God. Many times in the Bible we hear Jesus talk about God, his Father. There is even the true account of when God's voice came from heaven and speaking about Jesus, God said, "This is my son who I love..." So we need to know that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus was born in Nazareth (in the North of Israel) to a mother called Mary. This is what we celebrate at Christmas - we celebrate Jesus (the 'Christ' bit isn't his surname - it means 'anointed or chosen one'). Jesus grew up as a carpenter, taking after the family business that his adopted dad (called Joseph) ran. But there was something special about Jesus...
As Jesus grew up, he started to do some amazing things. He did miracles - like changing water into wine at a party. Around the age of 30 years old, Jesus started his own business. But this was a different kind of business - it was the business of going around healing people with any sickness or illness; getting rid of evil that was inside of people to make them right again; he cared for people; raised people from the dead; fed thousands of people miraculously; calmed the weather and storms and went around building a team who he could train to spread the message about Jesus being the Son of God.
But there's a mystery... Jesus is the Son of God and he is God. He's not like God - he is God. His disciples knew he was God and millions of Christians around the world still know that he is God.
And more than this, he didn't have a human father like we all do. His real Father was God, not his dad on earth whose name was Joseph. While you're getting your head around that (and we'll explain more later), let's learn some more about Jesus.
What did Jesus do that was so special?
Well there was a big problem in the world. The problem was with something called 'Sin'. Now sin is like all the evil things that people do - from the smallest wrong thing to the most horrible evil thing. When God created the world, he made it perfect. But man messed up and decided he was going to do his thing. (the same thing still happens today - people wanting to do their own thing rather than what God shows us is best). So man went wrong and the world started to go badly wrong... People started killing, hating, committing crime and destroying each other and the world.
So God had a perfect plan up his sleeve. He would ask his Son Jesus to go into the world, grow up as a man but still be God. Jesus knew about this plan and he agreed to do this because he loves you so much.
When people do evil things, they should face justice. If someone does a crime they have to do the time. The sin that we all do is wrong and because God is good, he cannot let sin go unpunished. But instead of punishing us like we deserve, Jesus came to earth and died on the cross. What he did was to take the punishment that we all deserved. Really, we should all be brought to justice for our sin. But Jesus was so good that he suffered and died, just so he could take your place and pay the price that our sin deserves.
He was crucified on a cross with nails through his body even though he had done nothing wrong. He was killed so that we can live. He came to earth and lived a perfect life. Jesus had no sin in him. Only someone who had no sin could be accepted as someone to pay the price for sin. It's like having a big vault with only one key. Jesus is the only one with the key.
It would be like you being sentenced to die for a crime and Jesus steps up in front of the judge and says, 'no, I will die in his place instead of him.'
This was a free gift that Jesus gave for the whole of mankind and he offers that gift to everyone. But, like any free gift, we have to admit that we do wrong and then say to Jesus, 'you know what, I want to accept that free gift so that the wrong things I do won't be punished.' We have to accept the free gift in order to get the free gift!
If I offer you £100 note, in order to get it, you have to come and get it from me. The same is true for Jesus. But the free gift doesn't stop there. It's like Doctor Who's Tardis - when you accept the free gift and open the door, you find there's loads more on the inside of the gift!
God helps us with everything in our life - he supports us - helps us to good things - changes us so we have hope - gives us an identity - helps us love others - gives us peace - helps us through difficult times and unlike any other friend, he is always with us and will never leave us. He also empowers us to do amazing things for him and to do the same kinds of things that Jesus did himself. He also promises life forever in heaven - a perfect place with amazing things that you cannot even dream about!
The future often seems a bit far away and scary.
But the Bible tells us lots of things about the future and about what will happen with Jesus. You see, Jesus didn't just die on the cross. Three days later he rose from the dead and was seen by his mates and by hundreds of others. He then went back to heaven to his Father.
One day, Jesus will return to the earth from the heavens. You won't miss him as it will be really dramatic and seen by the whole world. What will Jesus do when he comes back to earth? One thing we're sure about is that he will reward those who have believed in him but he will also judge all people. Just thinking you're good won't be enough because our sin can only be paid for by Jesus - the one with the key.
People don't want to believe in Jesus because it means they have to think about what they do. It means that everyone will have to answer for the things they have done in life. Why? Because God is good and because he is perfect.
It's a little bit like this - you wouldn't go into see the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace dressed in rags and mucky. Not because the Queen doesn't like this but because that's what you have to do. You'd have to wear something that was smart and clean. But what Jesus does is like he comes along and he gives us a free set of amazing clothes that look very sharp and are styled in just the way that you like. Then you can go in front of God. But without Jesus, you don't get in to see God and be in heaven.
The Offer - Jesus, more than your homeboy!
Not a bad offer... And Jesus makes this same offer to everyone in the world - of every race, religion, sex, belief system, sexuality, tribe and interest group. He says to all of us - just say yes to me in your life and turn from the wrong things. God wants to help you, heal you, change you and make you better. It's a free gift that he's already done.
You don't need to earn it, you can't do anything to deserve it. The offer is there for you from Jesus simply because he loves you and thinks you're worth it - more than L'Oreal !!
Jesus isn't just a homeboy!