May 24, 2003
1. HE CAME TO EARTH AS A TINY, WEAK & HELPLESS BABY, born to a simple‚ humble young girl who miraculously conceived the Child, having never slept with any man! In fact, the news of her pregnancy was so shocking that when the man to whom she was engaged to be married, learned about it, he promptly decided to break the engagement & call off the wedding.—Until a powerful Heavenly being intervened & instructed him to stay with her & rear & protect this very special Child that she was carrying.
2. ALTHOUGH ORDAINED & PREDESTINED TO BE A KING, IN FACT THE KING OF KINGS, HE WAS NOT BORN IN A PALACE with famous & glorious members of the court in attendance & the honour & praise of the System. Instead, He was born on the dirty floor of a barn amidst the cattle & the asses, wrapped in rags & laid to rest in the animal's feed-trough.
3. AND THOUGH HIS BIRTH BROUGHT NO GREAT FANFARE OR RECOGNITION FROM THE INSTITUTIONS & GOVERNMENTS OF MEN, that night on a nearby hillside, a motley crew of poor shepherds were awestruck as a brilliant, almost blinding light burst upon them from the starry sky & an host of angels filled the night with their Heavenly declaration & song: "Glory to God in the highest! Peace on Earth to men of good will! For unto you this day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord!"
4. FAR AWAY IN THE EAST, ANOTHER HERALD APPEARED IN THE HEAVENS, a bright Star that caught the attention of certain wise men‚ who interpreted its meaning & followed it, crossing thousands of miles of desert, as it led them to the exact location of the young Child in that little town of Bethlehem, where they honoured Him with their precious gifts.
5. HIS EARTHLY FATHER WAS A CARPENTER‚ A HUMBLE HEWER OF WOOD with whom He lived & laboured, conforming to our human ways of life, custom, language & living that He might understand & love us better & communicate with us on the lowly level of our own limited human understanding!—He learned to love mankind. He saw their suffering & had great compassion on them, longing to not only heal their sick & broken bodies, but also to save their souls, their immortal spirits!
6. WHEN THE TIME CAME & HE BEGAN HIS LIFE'S WORK, HE WENT ABOUT EVERYWHERE DOING GOOD.—Helping people, loving children‚ healing heartaches, strengthening tired bodies, saving whom He could. He not preached His message‚ but He lived it amongst us. He not only ministered to their spiritual needs, but He spent a great deal of time ministering to their physical & material needs, miraculously healing them when they were sick, feeding them when they were hungry & sharing His life & His love!
7. HE WAS SO SIMPLE & HIS RELIGION WAS SO SIMPLE THAT HE SAID YOU MUST BECOME AS A LITTLE CHILD TO RECEIVE IT! He didn't preach Temple worship, He didn't preach going to synagogue nor going to church, He didn't preach any complicated ceremonies or difficult rules.—All he did was just preach Love & show Love, as He strove to lead God's children into the True Kingdom of God, whose only laws are to "love the Lord with all thy heart" & "love thy neighbour as thyself."
8. HE HAD VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH THE HIGH-FALLUTIN', RICH-ROBED, CHURCHY SCRIBES, PHARISEES & HYPOCRITES—THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF THAT DAY—except when they insisted on annoying Him with their critical questions. Then He would sock it to them, publicly exposing them as the "blind leaders of the blind" that they were‚ even telling them that they were like white–washed sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful, clean & holy on the outside, but within are full of rottenness, corruption & stinking dead men's bones!
9. HE WAS NOT A MERE RELIGIOUS REFORMER, HE WAS A REVOLUTIONARY! He refused to compromise with the false religious system‚ but rather worked totally outside of it, reaching & sharing His Love with the poor & common folk who had long ago abandoned & been abandoned by organised religion. He never went into any bar with whip in hand, breaking up the bottles & throwing out the bartender. Nor did He ever enter any brothel, beating up the poor girls, overturning their beds & throwing the men out the window.—But He did make a whip‚ go into their big beautiful religious Temple, overturn the tables, spill out the money & drive the money-mad money-changers out of the church, condemning them for turning the so-called house of prayer into a den of thieves!
10. HE MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION, but was a companion of drunks & prostitutes, publicans & sinners, the outcasts & downtrodden of society. He even told them that they would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the so–called "good" people, the self-righteous & religious leaders who rejected Him & His simple Message of Love. The power of His Love & of His appeal was so great & gave such great faith to the sincere truth-seekers that they didn't hesitate to drop everything they had & forsake all immediately to become His full-time followers!
11. ONCE, WHILE CROSSING A LAKE IN A SMALL BOAT WITH HIS DISCIPLES, when a great storm arose & the boat was in danger of sinking, He commanded the winds & the waves to cease—& immediately there was a great calm! His disciples, astonished by such a demonstration of miraculous power, exclaimed to one another, "What manner of man is this‚ that even the winds & the sea obey Him!"
12. THROUGHOUT HIS MINISTRY HE GAVE SIGHT TO THE BLIND, HEARING TO THE DEAF‚ CLEANSED LEPERS & RAISED THE DEAD! In fact, so marvellous were His works that they prompted a leading member of the religious establishment that most bitterly opposed & resented Him to exclaim, "We know that You are come from God!—For no man could do these miracles that You do unless God were with Him!"
13. AND THOUGH HE POSSESSED MORE POWER THAN ANY MAN WHO EVER WALKED THIS EARTH, He never forced Himself nor His Love on anyone. When they didn't like His message, He didn't force it on them; when they asked Him to leave, He left; & when they wanted to leave, He didn't try to stop them! It was all voluntary, all "whosoever will" & "come unto Me".
14. AS HIS MESSAGE OF LOVE SPREAD & HIS FOLLOWERS MULTIPLIED, the established religion & its jealous leaders realised what a threat this formerly unknown carpenter from Nazareth had become to them! His simple doctrine of Love was liberating the people from the control of the hypocritical High Priests, the big-shot religionists‚ & was therefore destroying their entire religious system, their religious authority, their power & control & hold on the people.
15. THESE POWERFUL RELIGIOUS ENEMIES FINALLY HAD HIM ARRESTED & BROUGHT TO TRIAL on false charges of sedition & subversion. And although the governor found Him innocent, he was pressured & persuaded by these religionists to execute Him. Just prior to His arrest, He had said, "They couldn't even touch Me without My Father's permission! If I would but raise My little finger, He would send legions of angels to rescue Me!"—But instead, He chose to die—to save you & me! Nobody took His life from Him, He laid it down, He gave His life of His Own free will & accord.
16. BUT EVEN HIS DEATH DID NOT SATISFY HIS JEALOUS ENEMIES! To ensure that His followers couldn't steal His body & claim He'd risen, they placed a huge stone over the door of His tomb & posted a group of Roman soldiers there to guard it.—A scheme that proved futile, as these same guards became witnesses to the greatest miracle of all.—Three days after His body was laid to rest in that cold tomb‚ He rose from the dead, the Victor over all!—Over Death & Hell & the grave!
17. DEATH ITSELF COULD NOT STOP HIS WORK NOR HIS WORDS! He rose to lead His tiny band of followers to ultimate victory—to overthrow the Roman Empire with Love & the power of the Gospel! And the Love of God simply rolled right on over His jealous enemies like a giant tidal wave to cover the whole Earth!—And they were left far behind—as dead & dry as He said they'd be!
18. SINCE THAT FATEFUL DAY NEARLY 2,000 YEARS AGO‚ THIS SAME MAN‚ JESUS CHRIST, HAS DONE MORE TO CHANGE HISTORY & THE COURSE OF CIVILISATION & THE CONDITION OF MAN THAN ANY OTHER LEADER, group, government or Empire before Him or since! He has saved billions from a hopeless, Christless tomb & has given the Love of God to all who call upon His Name!
19. THIS MAN, JESUS CHRIST, IS NOT MERELY A PHILOSOPHER OR TEACHER OR RABBI OR GURU, nor even a prophet.—He is the Son of God! God, the Great Creator, is a Spirit & is all-powerful, all–knowing, everywhere & in everything—far beyond our limited human comprehension! So He sent Jesus, in the form of a man, to show us what He Himself is like & to bring us to Himself. And although many great teachers have spoken & taught about love & about God, He was Love & He was God!—The only One Who died for the sins of the world & rose from the dead! So He's in a class all by Himself, because He's the only Saviour! He said‚ "I am the Way, the Truth, & the Life!—No man cometh unto the Father but by Me!"
20. HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT & KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS THE SON OF GOD, THE WAY OF SALVATION?—The answer is simple: Try Him! Simply humble yourself & sincerely pray & ask Him to reveal Himself to you!—Ask Him to come into your heart, forgive you of all your sins & fill your life with His Love, peace & joy!
21. HE'S REAL & HE LOVES YOU!—So much so that He died in your place & suffered for your sins so that you wouldn't have to!—If you'll just receive Him & His free gift of eternal life! But He can't save you unless you want Him to! His Love is all-powerful, but He won't force His way into your life. He knocks at the door of your heart.—He doesn't kick it in or break it down. He stands there gently, meekly, in loving patience, waiting for you to open up & ask Him in.
22. WILL YOU RECEIVE HIM?—If so, He will be the most precious One in your life!—Your closest Friend & Companion Who will be with you always!—For He alone is the Lover of all lovers, Who came for love & lived in love & died for love‚ that we might live & love forever!
23. YOU CAN PERSONALLY RECEIVE JESUS INTO YOUR OWN HEART RIGHT NOW BY SINCERELY PRAYING THIS SIMPLE PRAYER: "Dear Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I believe You died for me. I believe You're the Son of God, & I now ask You to come into my life. I open the door & I invite you into my heart. Jesus, please come in & help me to confess You before others that they may find You too. In Jesus' name I ask, amen."