Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Son of God, was with God in the beginning. Then about 2,000 years ago He was born of a virgin. He was not born into a wealthy family, religious elite or of political power – just a regular family. And Jesus was a regular man. He did everything that you and I do. Except for one thing: Jesus never sinned! He once fasted for forty days and nights, and the Bible says that during that time that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are temped but he was able to control his passions. He never lied, or stole anything or cheated on a test. He was perfect.
And Jesus was also fully God. He had power! He once gave sight to a man who was born blind. He also had power over demons to cast them out of people! And one day one of Jesus’ friends died, and they buried him. Four days later Jesus came into town and raised him from the dead. Jesus had power over death!
But before Jesus got old, he began to tell His followers that he was going to have to die. Now of course, when we get old we are planning and thinking about what will happen to our families after we die, but Jesus was only 33 and his followers didn’t understand why He was saying that He was going to have to die.
The answer is found in the beginning. In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. He created man and woman, named them Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect garden called Eden. They had complete freedom! Adam and Eve could do whatever they wanted to do – God only told them to not eat the fruit of one tree. So for all we know Adam and Eve could have done thousands of good things. They were really good people! But then one day the Devil came in the form of a snake and he tempted Eve to eat the fruit and she ate it and gave it to Adam and he ate it too. Immediately they knew that they had sinned. They were scared, they were ashamed and they hid from God – taking leaves and covering themselves.
And it was one little sin. They ate a piece of fruit! They didn’t kill anyone, or steal anything – they ate a piece of fruit! I mean, I know I ate that cookie at least once when my mom said “Don’t eat that cookie”. But that one little sin was enough to condemn them. God came and cursed Adam and Eve. To Adam He said, “From now on it will be very hard for you to provide for your family” and to Eve He said, “From now on you will have great pain in childbirth”. And both of those things are still true today! And because they had sinned they also deserved to die. The Bible says that the punishment of sin is death, and since we have all sinned we all deserve to die, and to spend eternity separated from God in Hell.
But God still loved the creation that He had made, so He did something remarkable. He changed their clothes! God took an animal and killed it and used the skin to make new clothes for Adam and Eve. And it appears at that point that God made the first sacrifice for sins. The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, so everyone from Adam and Eve made sacrifices to pay for their sins.
But then there came a man whose name was John. And when John saw Jesus he said something really interesting, he said, “Behold the lamb of God”. The reason he called Jesus a lamb is because a lamb is a sacrificial animal! Jesus, because He never sinned, did not deserve to die. But He did die – on the cross – and the last thing He said when He died was “It is finished”. He said that because He was the final and perfect sacrifice. He took the punishment that you and I deserve and paid the penalty of our sins. No longer do people have to make sacrifices for sins!
For three days He was dead and then God raised him from the dead. For forty days He appeared to His followers – over five hundred people saw Him at one time! Then He ascended back to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The Bible says that if we confess with our mouths Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. The Bible also says that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jesus paid the debt for all who would believe in Him, and we can be made right with God. We can have fullness of life here on Earth and we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him.