Continued from Part 1
aul explained that the blood of several animals that were spilled under the law, were just a foretaste, a shadow, a mimic of the real thing that would take away man's sins. They were a dim foretaste of the good things Christ would do for us (Heb. 10:1). "This system of law was to last only until the coming of Christ, the Child to whom God's promise was made"! (Gal. 3:19).
"The sacrifices under the law system were repeated again and again, year after year, but even so, they could never save those who lived under their rules, if they could, one offering would have been enough; the worshippers would have been cleansed once for all, and their feeling of guilt would be gone. But not so, because "--- it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats really to take away sins" (Heb. 10:1-3).
But because Jesus lives forever, He is able to save completely all who come to God through Him. Since He will live forever, He will always be there to remind God that He has paid for their sins with His blood.
My friend, if we put all the available records together, without prejudice or sentiments but face the truth, no man in history can be compared with Jesus.
He is the only one who ever lived and claimed that He came from heaven (John 3:13).
He is the only One who ever claimed that He and God are one (John 10:30).
Jesus told Philip, "………Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…….." (John: 14: 8-10).
He is the only person in the history of mankind who ever said 'I am the way, the truth and the life: no one can come to the father but by me' (John 14:6).
He is the only one who ever lived and had the boldness to say to someone "Son your sins are forgiven (Mark 2: 3-10). Who else can forgive sins but God?
He is the only person that ever guaranteed a person, a place in heaven. On the cross, suffering from the pang of death, He told someone else on another cross, who was also at the point of death "Today you will meet me in Paradise" (Lk.23: 43).
If anyone else in history had ever made statements like these, there would have been some confusion, of who to believe. But no one ever did. No one made statements even close to these ones. So Jesus cannot be compared with any one; not even with any prophet.
When He was on earth, nature obeyed Him. He calmed deadly storms (tempest) with only a command "Peace be still' such that others on the journey with him were filled with awe and said among themselves, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him (Mark 4: 35-41).
He came in the flesh but every record of Him showed His divine nature and the records are not only from the Bible or other religious books but from historical documents.
Earth's gravitational force could not hold Him down. He walked on water (Mark: 6: 49). He cured all manner of diseases and demons came out of those who were possessed at His command (Mark 6: 53-56, Lk4. 4: 38-44). He brought the dead back to life (Lk.7: 11-17; John 11: 38-44).
He recounted and referred to events that took place since creation familiarly and foretold future events. This confirms that He was present at creation.
i. He once told the Jews "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: he saw it and was glad" The Jews charged back "You aren't even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?" to which Jesus replied "The truth is, Before Abraham was, I am" Yet there was a difference of about 2000 years between them" The statement irritated the Pharisees so much that they attempted to stone Him. (John 8: 56-58)
We all, are a product of a union between a man and a woman but Jesus was born by a virgin who did not a foretime sleep with any man. Some have argued that the creation of Adam from dust was even a greater miracle but here is the difference:
When Adam died, his body decayed in the grave and returned to dust, from which he was made. The same thing will happen to you and me when we die.
Only when we wake up at resurrection, we shall be given a new body, a body which will be immortal, which will not die again. But when Jesus was put to death by the most agonizing type, by the nails on the cross, He rose up on the 3rd day with the same body that was buried. His body did not see corruption (decay) because He was not made from dust. He is immortal from the beginning.
Many stories about Jesus are confirmed in other reports other than the Bible and some of them in greater details than we have them in the Bible.
At the time of Jesus birth in Bethlehem of Judea, what is now known as the state of Israel was a colony of Rome. Tiberius Caesar was the emperor in Rome and Acta Pontius Pilate was the governor, i.e representative of Caesar in Jerusalem. We read same thing in the Bible (Lk. 3: 1).
Usually, the representative at the foreign office is duty bound to send report to his home government from time to time.
I have been lucky to find some reports of a Roman historian and other reports sent by Acta Pilate to the emperor at Rome. These reports agree 100% with the account in the Bible. In fact they are in greater details than what we read in the Bible.
The Roman historian, Valleus Paterculus was 19 years old when Jesus was born.
Valleus says that in Judea, he met a man called Jesus of Nazareth, who was one of the most remarkable characters he had ever seen: Valleus wrote that he was more afraid of Jesus than a whole army, for he cured all manner of diseases and raised the dead and when he cursed the orchards or fruit-trees for their barrenness, they instantly withered to their roots.
Valleus wrote further that although Jesus had such power, he did not use it to injure anyone but seemed always inclined to help the poor.
Valleus says the Jews were divided in their opinion of him; the poorer class claiming him as their king but the rich Jews hated and cursed him behind his back and called him an Egyptian necromancer, though they were afraid of him as of death.
Valleus wrote that if Jesus should raise an army and give it the power, he could sweep the world in a single day, (Ref: Valleus Paterculus, B.72, found in the Vatican at Rome).
This kind of report naturally, will prompt any government of the day to monitor the activities of such a person and the reports, classified or secret.
After reading some of the reports of Pilate, the Colonia Master, which he wrote to his home government in Rome, no one will be left in doubt as to who Jesus is.
Pilate wrote home, the account of the resurrection of Christ, 3 days after he was crucified as reported by one of the Soldiers watching the tomb. It was too terrifying and at same time glorifying, depicting Christ as not a mere man but God.
The serious difficulty many people have is to believe and accept that this mysterious Jesus, whom words are inadequate to describe, has to transform Himself to human, and subject Himself to man's cruel torture and allowed His blood to be spilled in death in order that man can have their sins forgiven and escape hell. And that believing and confession to this plan of salvation is the only way to live with God in heaven when we die.
It sounds illogical if not altogether senseless. Someone who is so mighty in power, does He have to go through such a hassle, humiliation and agony in order that the sins of His creation might be cleansed?
Who are human beings compared with Him that He had to humiliate Himself so much before He could forgive their sins? What an insulting preposition?
They have no difficulties believing Him as a prophet but to say that He is God and confession to His name alone is the path to heaven is like taking it too far, if not hallucination.
It may sound ridiculous like a tale in Baba Sala's comedy but that is God, whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8).
But let me ask you, particularly those who have had an obstinate, stubborn, difficult and rebellious child; did you ever abandon that child or give up on him? You certainly did everything to make the child see reasons until such a time you will be frustrated and leave him to his fate.
The same thing with God; He has done everything in order that our sins be covered so that we can be made holy, so that we can live with him in heaven because nothing unholy will have a place there.
But God will leave anyone to his fate, who rejects His kindness, who rejects His plan of salvation, which is by grace through faith, not of any good work.
Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and He will come again, but not to deal again with our sins. This time He will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for Him (Extract from Heb. 9:6-28). He will also bring condemnation to those who refuse to have their sins covered by His blood.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3: 18 and 36).
May God forbid any one from experiencing this wrath because it is a suffering and anguish, which has only a beginning but has no end.
This is a curse placed on anyone who does not have his sins forgiven, who has his/her sins uncovered, who is yet to be made holy by the time he/she exists this world in death, who refuses to avail himself/herself of the grace provided by the blood of Christ to cover his/her sins, who rejects Christ as his God, Lord and Saviour.
While we live, this curse can still be averted and the curse redeemed. But after the physical death, it is irredeemable. It will be too late.
But every person will be the architect of his own fortune. Each person carries the responsibility to make the choice between life and death. The blood of Christ has been spilled to cover all sins except the sin of unbelief.
The jailer of Philippi asked Paul and Silas: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts. 16:30-31). This is good for you right now.
Let us pray.
Father, thank you for revealing yourself to us. You told the Samaritan woman that the time comes when there will be no set of rules for worshipping God i.e. worship will not be particularly at any place or by any pattern, system or by keeping any times of prayers or worship but that God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Father, let all those who are reading this piece recognize that there is no good deed they can do that can fulfill your requirements of salvation; not their religious zeal except by placing their trust in the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary.
Help them father to come to the Cross where you died so that they can have their sins forgiven and be saved from the agony of hell. Thank you father for hearing me in Jesus Name.