“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked Peter this question in Matthew 16:13-20. And what was Peter’s reply?
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!”
Peter was an Eyewitness
Peter was an eyewitness of the life and times of Jesus Christ. He –and many other eyewitnesses- saw Jesus in every situation. Peter saw the goodness, the miracles and wisdom of Jesus throughout his 3-year ministry.
Jesus Lived a Perfect, Sinless Life
Peter watched as Jesus lived the perfect, sinless life. He was there when Jesus confounded the religious rulers who’d tried to trap him. Besides Peter, there were many others who saw –and wrote about- their direct experiences of seeing, hearing and touching the Messiah and witnessing his deeds.
Later –according to church history -Peter died a cruel death himself –by crucifixion –upside down- for continuing to declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ even after the rulers warned against it. A similar fate met most of Jesus disciples, most of whom paid for their faith with their lives.
It shows these eyewitnesses truly believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ with all their hearts. And why did they believe? Because the evidence was overwhelming. Their faith was founded on fact.
But who did Jesus think he was?
Jesus claimed -many times- to be God in the flesh, and he backed it up with strong evidence.
Are You the One Who is to Come?
When John the Baptist had a moment of doubt, he sent some disciples who asked Jesus:
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go tell John what you hear and see: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them. Matt 11:3-5 (NET)
The disciple John (a different John than John the Baptist) summed it up this way:
“This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:24-25 (ESV)
Why Trust Jesus?
Let’s look at the reasons to trust Jesus Christ.
God Loves You.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ” John 3:16 (ESV) Jesus loved you and me enough to leave his place of eternal glory and suffer death in our place. He took our place and bore the judgment in his own body that we deserved.
We All Have Sinned
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (ESV)
We have all sinned against God. That includes everybody from Billy Graham and Mother Teresa at one end of the spectrum, and notorious mass murderers at the other end.
“We” includes you and me.
Nobody can live up to God’s standard of absolute perfection, except the perfect God-man, Jesus Christ who lived a completely sinless life. Since we all have failed to measure up to God’s standard, there is a gigantic gap between us and God, and we can never hope to bridge that gap by our own efforts.
And why should a perfect, holy and just God allow anyone or anything sinful -anyone who fails to live up to his perfect standard- to enter his presence?
The Wages of Sin is Death
The huge gap between us and God is something we can never bridge on our own. That gap is there because of sin. Man is in rebellion against God, and this rebellion leads to death. Death is very serious. It’s an eternal situation, and we have no way to bridge the gap to eternal death on our own.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (ESV)
Christ Died for You
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV) God already had it planned out to pay the price for our misdeeds before we even knew we needed it.
Our sin is a debt we can never pay on our own, but salvation is the free gift of God. Only Jesus, the perfect God-man can pay this debt. He is 100% God and 100% man. He alone is able to bridge the wide gap between God and man.
This wide gap is a giant canyon that we can never bridge by ourselves. Jesus told us of this gap in the parable of Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. If you read this passage, you will know Jesus warned us that this place where the rich man ended up was a very unpleasant place to spend eternity.
Jesus paid the price with his own blood so we don’t have to pay the price ourselves and end up where the rich man did. It’s a price we can never pay.
The last words Jesus said on the cross were (in English) “It is finished.” But the New Testament was written in Greek. In Greek, Jesus said “Tetelestai.”
“Tetelestai” means “Paid in Full”. It’s the word that was used in that day in commerce to indicate that a bill was completely paid. Jesus paid the bill for all of our sins -no matter how big or how small- in full. Completely. It’s a done deal.
If You Believe
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” Acts 16:31 (ESV) All God asks of us is to believe. He will simply do the rest. This is what God has always asked of us –even back in the days of Abraham.
“And he (Abraham) believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:3 (ESV)
You Will Go to Heaven
“ I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. ” 1John 5:13 (ESV). You may know that you have eternal life. No question about it. Eternal life is a promise from the One who is trustworthy and able.
Pray and Ask
Are you ready to trust Jesus? Pray and ask him to be Lord over your life. You can do it right now. God promises us his ear is always open. Just recognize that (1) He loves you (2) you have sinned (3) Jesus Christ already paid the price (4) If you believe (5) you will go to heaven.
And when we pray, he promises to hear and answer:
Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24b
What Must I do to be Saved?
Paul and Silas were asked “what must I do to be saved?”
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31 (ESV)
Once you have expressed your belief in Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord, you will also want to follow him. He said “you must take up your cross and follow me.” Following Jesus is wonderful! It’s exhilarating to know you are now following the truth.
If you are really saved, you will follow Jesus and obey his commands.
Begin reading the Word of God. Start with the Book of John in the New Testament. Begin attending a church where they teach from the Bible. Go there every week. Meet other believers and learn from them.
We all need to learn from other believers, and we need to also grow in righteousness so we will always have an answer for those who ask.
Pursue faith founded on fact. Recognize that you have a new life. You are born again into eternal life! Do not go on sinning anymore but pursue righteousness.
Now that you have eternal life, continue to walk in it. Follow Jesus every day. Read the Bible and learn. Share your faith with others.