Who is Jesus of Nazareth?
The question that has divided the human race is "Who is Jesus?" The answer is central to the life of Mount Vernon. We exist because of Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection. The message of Christianity is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Where do you find Jesus?
The story of Jesus and the message of Christianity are found in the Bible starting with the very first words - “In the beginning God” (Genesis 1:1). Those words are the key that opens our understanding to all of life. We learn that God was not made but existed before the beginning of time. This world began as God's sovereign work of creation for “God created the heavens and the earth.” He perfectly created the world in which we live and the universe we ponder.
The story continues with God’s handiwork declared “very good” and the prized possession of His creation – man and woman made in “his image” (Genesis 1:27). You, my reader, have dignity, worth, and value because you were made by God and in His image. But the world you live in and experience is far from perfect. News headlines tell us of injustices committed and unimaginable natural disasters. Everyone experiences the disappointment of failed promises. Our experiences of a “very good” world is limited. Why is the world not as it was created?
Is Jesus your hope in punishment?
The first man and woman God created (Adam and Eve) did not experience the world as we do. At first, they submitted to God's loving authority and obeyed His word. The expectation is the same for you. Your experience of authority may be oppressive and burdensome but that’s the abuse of human authority. It is not the nature of God’s authority for He is infinitely good.
Yet, the world all changed in a single act of disobedience. Adam, Eve, and all of humanity fell from their perfect relationship with God and this world when they chose to disobey God’s word. Lest we be quick to pass judgment and assume we would never do such a thing, all of us are inclined to reject God’s authority. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous...no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:10-11). This rejection of God’s authority is called sin. It’s in the wake of this historical event that an act of sin from long ago meets the world in which we live. The world is full of sinful men, women, boys, and girls that reject God’s authority.
God is the sovereign Creator and holy Judge of this world. He does not allow sin to go unpunished including Adam and Eve’s rebellion. So He cursed the earth and sentenced all of humanity to death. “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Friend, your sin is not overlooked. You may hide things from others or assume that enough acts of kindness make restitution for acts of disobedience. But at the end of your life you will face the Judge of the universe, and He will rightly sentence you to eternal conscious punishment for your sin. This reality is called Hell.
But there is hope. The hope for rebellious sinners is God’s promised way of escape in the person of Jesus.
Is Jesus your substitute in death?
The good news of Christianity is that God the Father loved sinners so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ the God-man, into the world. Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God (Luke 1:35). He is fully God and fully man and born of a virgin birth. He had authority over all of creation just like God the Father – healed the sick, calmed storms, and even forgave sins. Jesus said and did things that no other human could do because he is God.
Jesus is also fully man. He can fully sympathize with your weaknesses. He knew what it meant to be hungry, thirsty, and tired. He knew the feelings of loneliness and abandonment. He knew what it was like to be tempted to reject God. Unlike you, though, he never sinned but lived in perfect obedience to God. His life was the way ours should be.
Furthermore, the punishment we deserve was laid on Jesus. Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross was a horrendous act of injustice and the worst form of punishment anyone could have experienced. Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers alike inflicted unjust punishment by nailing the one sinless person in all of history to a wooden cross to die. But the worst punishment Jesus experienced was the wrath of God that was stored up for sinners. On the cross, God substituted His Son to save sinners like you. One of Jesus’ apostles wrote, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).
Is Jesus your life in eternity?
If the story of Jesus and the message of Christianity ended here, there would be no Church. The escape from God’s punishment would not be paid if Jesus was still in a grave. God proved that He was satisfied with Jesus’ payment for sin by raising him from the dead after three days. This is the bedrock of the Christian faith and the Church's existence. Another apostle wrote, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven. Though he is in heaven ruling over this world, he did not abandon his disciples. He sent God the Holy Spirit to empower his followers to preach the good news of his life, death, and resurrection. Thus, that’s our command and goal at Mount Vernon.
What will you do with Jesus?
Friend, you’ve just read the gospel, the best news you'll ever hear. The question is what will you now do with Jesus? The Bible tells you to stop rejecting God’s good and loving authority. Turn away from your sin and trust completely in Jesus. God can save you from the punishment to come, and you can be reconciled to your Creator.
We would love to talk to you more about this in person. Please join us for one of our gatherings.