9. The Life Of Jesus
We now wish to introduce you to the one Person that makes all the difference to every true Christian: Jesus. To help you understand the Christian way of thinking, we suggest that you first of all read one of the Gospels from beginning to end. We recommend that you start with the Gospel as recorded by Luke.
If you are really earnest to know the truth, you should sincerely pray the following prayer before you start reading:
“O God, help me to read this Book with an open mind, and help me to find the truth. Show me who Jesus really is. Amen.”
Have you done that? Good. You will find that Jesus, as you get to know Him in the Bible, is the most unique Person who ever lived. Let us highlight a few facets of His life.
As Muslim you will already know about His birth from the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25; Sura 19:16-35). King Herod was ruling in Jerusalem at that time, and heard about the birth of the “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1-12). God warned Joseph, the husband of Mary, to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus until the death of Herod (Matthew 2:3-23).
After their return to Nazareth, the home town of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:38-40, 51-52), we only read again of Him when He was about 12 years old. The family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival there. Jesus surprised the learned rabbis with His knowledge (Luke 2:41-50).
Jesus Starts His Work
When Jesus was about 30 years old, He met John the Baptist (Yahya) who was preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”. When he saw Jesus, he pointed to Him and said,
“Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
He was referring to the fact that Jesus was the sacrifice, the Qurban, that God provided, like the ram in the case of Abraham (Genesis 22:13) or the lambs sacrificed as sin offerings (Exodus 12:1-13).
After Jesus asked to be baptized by John, the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert, where he was tempted by the devil. He tempted Jesus on the three most common points: the needs and desires of this body, pride, and lust for power and possessions (Matthew 4:1-11; Genesis 3:6: 1 John 2:16).
Read Matthew 4:4, 7 and 10.
Jesus And His Work
During the three years of His public service until He was killed, Jesus devoted Himself to three spheres of service:
He taught His followers the principles of a practical, living faith that resulted in a changed life. The religion of that time was largely mechanical and outward. Jesus revealed that God did not look at the outward form, but at the inward motives. (Read for example Matthew 5:1-7, 7:27.)
Jesus spent much time walking from place to place, teaching individuals (John 3:121; 4:7-30; etc.) and large crowds (Luke 4:42-5:3, etc.).
Now read Matthew 7:28-29
In His compassion for the people He served, He performed many miracles of healing, even raising of the dead (Mark 5:35-42; Luke 7:11-17; John 11:38-44). These were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 12:28).
More than once He fed thousands of people miraculously (Mark 6:30-46; 8:1-10). He stilled the storm and calmed the waves (Matthew 8:24-27) and even walked on water (Matthew 14:22-33).
Gradually it dawned on his followers that Jesus was no ordinary man.
Read Matthew 8:27
Jesus called men to become His disciples (students). From these He selected twelve to be specially trained in a small group (Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-4). They would become the apostles (= sent out ones) who would carry His message all over the world (John 20:19-21; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8).
Read Mark 3:14.
His Friends and Enemies
Jesus was dearly beloved by the people, but hated by the Jewish leaders. He was a friend of sinners and religious outcasts (Matthew 9:9-13). Tax collectors were despised by the religious Jews because they worked for and with the Romans, the invaders. But many of these tax collectors and sinners realized their spiritual need and lostness (Luke 18:9-14).
On the other hand, the Pharisees and other religious leaders performed their religious rites and duties meticulously, but in their hearts they were proud of their achievements. Their hearts were far from God, because God resists the proud (James 4:6). They performed their duties in order to be seen by men and to observe man-made traditions (Matthew 6:1-6; Mark 7:6-9).
People who are righteous (good) in their own eyes do not realize their need for forgiveness by God. The parable of the Pharisees and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) is a vivid illustration of this fact.
Read Luke 5:31-32
His Perfect, Sinless Life
As you know already, Jesus was the only exception to the rule that all men are sinners. He lived a life of complete purity. He could challenge His enemies and say,
“Can any one of you prove me guilty of sin?” (John 8:46).
Not one of them could. In the letter to the Hebrews we read the following about Jesus:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are:
yet was without sin.”
This is an important fact, because no sinner can pay the debt of sin for other sinners. Jesus had no sin Himself, and therefore He was able to do what He came to do, as we shall see.
Test Yourself No. 9
Answer the following questions and then compare your answers with those found here.
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